By Eric Sousa, Staff Writer
There is an epidemic going around UMass Dartmouth this semester. No, it isn’t polio (thank you, vaccinations). It isn’t the geese that are ever-terrorizing lot 3 &4 (your time is coming, you foul fowl.) No, the situation pervading our merry Dartmouth lands is much direr than these. It beckons our attention with the fury of a thousand suns. It requires our immediate and unified strength to right this audacious wrong.
I am, of course, talking about the harrowing fact that the VeoRide bikes are constantly knocked down around campus. In all my short years, I have never seen a sadder sight than those beautiful cyan bikes lying outside in the pouring rain… muddy, debris-filled water with quality similar to a public swimming pool rising around their frame.
They lay, stranded somewhere between Birch and the rest of its ilk. The hollow echo of cruel, cold raindrops tinging off the metal, you can almost hear the bike cry out—nothing. Bikes don’t speak, and I will not anthropomorphize them. However, I’m sure they would release a merry chime of indignation at their own mistreatment.
It does not reflect the student body’s apparent enjoyment of the campus update. When the weather is nice, the bicycles can be seen being used in full swing around the grounds. They are plentiful, as well; over fifty bikes are currently residing at UMass Dartmouth.
They can be seen parked outside the buildings along Ring Road, in front of SENG, LARTS, Res, and even in the distant foreign lands of Pinedale.
In fact, I have never personally seen these bicycles being tossed to the ground. They are found at the scenes of the crime without real-time evidence of the crime being committed. This leads me to believe that it isn’t the student body acting as a whole, but a rogue subsection of UMass Dartmouth rebelling against the bicycles. Their motives are unclear at this point.
Whatever the motivations for this hypothetical guerilla unit may be, it seems they don’t share the public opinion. Many students have shown satisfaction with this improvement to campus lifestyle.
Paul Muturi, a Junior MLS major, was able to share a few words en route to his next class. “It is very convenient for me; it turns a fifteen minute walk into a four minute ride.”
Paul previously struggled with travelling cross-campus in time for his class, as the shuttles weren’t always there. “I live in Chestnut, it’s so far from everything.” As he rode off, I knew in my heart he was riding towards a better tomorrow. Or at least, less late notices for his class in Dion.
The bicycles are fairly affordable to use as well. For 50 cents, or 33 Russian Ruples, a student can ride the bicycle for upwards of fifteen minutes. Plans falling through because people are too lazy to walk that far are officially a thing of the past. Students are scrambling to find other excuses not to make it to friend’s apartments on time.
The VeoRide bikes even have lights on the front. Lights! I was walking around campus at night with a friend, and I asked if he had a flashlight. He said no.
In some ways, these bikes would’ve been a better companion than my unilluminating friend. These crime-hardened bike-bruising individuals aren’t just tossing bicycles to the ground. They’re tossing comrades. What’s the solution? Simple. We fight back.
Have you ever seen Red Dawn? My plan is in a similar vein to that. We will assign two students, or “Bike Buddies,” to every bicycle. They will be on a rotating 12-hour schedule of constant surveillance. While it is understood that this might conflict with class schedules, the bigger picture must be looked at here. For uniforms, I suggest something in hunter-safe orange. While weapons are strictly prohibited, there is nothing in campus rules about assault-ready silly string. If we can get enough volunteers, I’m sure that-
Please hold, we have a sudden update. A strong gust of wind has been seen blowing over a parked bike in front of SENG.
New studies are put in motion to see if this is the true culprit behind the fallen bicycles.
Until further notice, please continue to enjoy wheeling around campus!