Lucas Estrada ‘19
The Purple Bike Coalition (PBC) is Williams College’s free bike service organization. Our work is made possible by the Center for Environmental Studies, College Council, and Campus Safety and Security.
This year we had a wonderful time fixing hundreds of students bikes during our weekly Open Hours, sending students happily riding away with a little more knowledge of bike repair and grease-covered fingers.
In keeping with our mission to help foster a greater bicycle community, we provided bikes to over 50 students at a time through our free rental program. We have expanded our rental fleet with some generous donations and are excited to be bringing in several trek bikes from Overland to replace several of our older and less dependable rentals.
We had several notable events to expand our community engagement, putting on a Performance Bike Build and Basic Bike Repair Workshop. At the former, in tandem with the cycling team, we ordered the parts for a performance racing bike, and showed students how to build and fine tune a bike with precision. This bike weighed in at at 19.5 lbs and has been added to the cycling team’s fleet!
At our repair workshop we taught students some common bike repair, such as brake adjustments and how to fix a flat tire. This event occurred over Winter Study, where we decided to bring together our mechanics, under the direction of bike-extraordinaire Matthew Goss, and work on a specialty project: a retro direct drive bicycle. This curious bike has two gears yet no shifting mechanisms: one gear is applied by pedaling forward, and the other by pedalling backwards. While our prototype had some success we are excited to perfect our design in the coming year.
More information about the PBC can be found at sites.williams.edu/bikes