Bicycle repair program to open on Earth Day

By Gus Bode

With the economy tight and Earth Day around the corner, Ron Dunkle is urging students to ride the green wave.

A new program called Saluki Spokes will begin on Earth Day Wednesday and Dunkle, the craft shop coordinator, said the program was sparked out of necessity to help those who seek a healthier and cheaper alternative to driving.

The program will be available at the Craft Shop and the Recreation Center’s Base Camp. Both locations offer kits with a variety of tools needed to repair bikes, said Jeff Goelz, assistant director of Aquatics and Base Camp.


The kits are free to all students.

Dunkle said he occasionally rides his bike six miles from his Makanda home to work and often needs to repair his ride.

‘People come down often asking for tools at the Craft Shop to fix their bike,’ he said. ‘We could give them wrenches, but we thought it’d be nice if we had a few more tools like patches, pumps, pliers, valve tools and pedal wrenches.’

The program is sponsored through an innovation grant from Student Development, Dunkle said. Students were involved in designing the program, Goelz said.

Aaron Scott’s graphic design class designed the banners, posters, brochures, bike reflectors and stickers the program will use.

Lindsay Holtmann, a junior from Albers studying art and design, was one of the students who participated in the design competition. She said it was important to get students involved in the design to make it more appealing to the program’s target market – students.

Saluki Spokes will also sponsor a drawing to win a free bicycle.


‘What we’re trying to do here is to promote biking, to get people on their bikes more, using fewer cars, less money, less gas and (creating) less pollution,’ Dunkle said. ‘When you walk around campus there’s a lot of bikes with rusty chains. People kind of give up on their bikes.’

He said students would be able to fix the bikes themselves if they choose. If students had a major problem with a bike, they’d still need to go to the local bike shops, he said.

Dunkle said he would like to see cycling used more frequently as a means of transportation.

‘Bikes can be very convenient,’ Dunkle said. ‘I can ride from the Student Center to Murdale Shopping Center in 10 minutes on a bicycle and it takes me just about as much time in a car. Driving a car when you have to park it and put up with traffic – you’re really not saving much time.’

In previous semesters, the SIU Police have voiced concerns about accidents caused when cyclists ride their bikes through crosswalks. Goelz said with more cyclists on the road, accidents may be reduced because drivers will be more aware of their presence.

‘They’ll realize that they don’t own the road. They share the road,’ Goelz said. ‘You’ll see kids on skateboards do the same thing. You’ll see kids walking and talking on their cell phone and walk right through crosswalks. It’s not just the bicyclers that do that.’

Dunkle said an unofficial poll the group conducted on campus showed 90 percent of cars have one person in the vehicle, increasing costs for maintenance and gas. He said the program could also save students money by impacting tuition rates.

‘We can reduce a lot of costs to the university, (such as) parking and the cost of parking lot maintenance. If more people are riding bikes, maybe we can help keep tuition down,’ Dunkle said.

Dunkle said he also hopes to establish an Amber Alert system for bicycles in which people can alert others if their bike is stolen.

Saluki Spokes will hold a workshop from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Student Center’s west patio Wednesday to help the university celebrate Earth Day.

The Student Center’s Earth Day begins at 11:30 a.m. and lasts until 9 p.m. The day will be filled with information on how easy it is to be environmentally friendly, said Susan Coriasco, the deputy director of the Student Center.

‘None of the events are that long. You can drop in and go to class and then drop back in,’ Coriasco said. ‘We’re not going to beat anybody over the head with it or have anyone up there pounding the pulpit.’

The majority of the Earthy Day events will be held in the Roman room, which can be found behind McDonald’s and across from Market Place.

Coriasco said the main idea behind this year’s Earth Day is a simple one.

‘It isn’t a difficult thing to recycle or be environmentally friendly,’ Coriasco said. ‘We’re hoping everybody picks that up.’