Casual biking has always been a passion of mine. It helps to clear my mind. Seeing the world from something other than a car window or the slowness of my own two feet is intoxicating to me. I’ve written about this before, how much I love having my bike on campus. I get to use my rusty old cruiser in times of needed mental reprieve or when the gym just seems too far away. I rarely bike into downtown New London because the surrounding hills are no match for my bike, which hails from the 1960s. After exploring campus and other nearby neighborhoods over the years by bike I’ve found enough road to keep my pedals churning without entering the hustle of the city. The windy feeling that brushes through my hair and the whirling pedals beneath my feet can do wonders for my psyche. There is good news for others at Conn who also yearn for this liberation: here, it’s called Spokespeople.
To learn more about Spokespeople, a club that manages all things bikes, I spoke with Connor Trapp ’18. He’s a senior here majoring in government, with East Asian and computer science minors. He’s also the club’s president. He gave me some information regarding the inner workings of how Spokespeople promotes bike use here at Conn and ways in which Connor has extended his love for biking to enhance bike culture on campus. Here’s what Connor told me:
First, Spokespeople manages the CC Cruisers outside of Shain Library. These bicycles are available to all students, faculty and staff. They are borrowed in the same manner one would check out a book on reserve; simply present your Camel Card at the front desk in Shain, and return the bike to the library before it closes.
Secondly, Spokespeople provides a semesterly bike rental program. Students put down a deposit for a bicycle and are given a bike and a lock to place by their dorms for easier access. This service is ideal for a number of reasons. Frequent off-campus commuters have access to sustainable transportation, cycling nuts can get in a workout, and people who can't bring their bike to campus or don’t own a bike don’t have to buy a new one.
Finally, Spokespeople performs free servicing for bikes that students bring to campus. This includes quick tune-ups, flat repairs, gear adjustments or any other minor repairs. Although they don't provide replacement parts, they can easily help students identify what part they may need and repair it once they receive the part.
Spokespeople was started in 2007 with a grant from the Holleran Center. The club was originally located in the basement of the 360 Apartments, right by Earth House. It began as an effort to encourage people to take up biking as a more sustainable practice than driving. Since then, Spokespeople has kept up with the club’s original mission but it has evolved into a more all-encompassing place where almost all bike needs and wants can be conquered. Connor and the club’s co-president, Hector Salazar ‘20, are both passionate biking ambassadors on our campus who have upheld a culture of biking at Conn.