The Handlebar Gives Back

The Handlebar is an important part of the Dickinson community. Faculty, staff, and students are all welcome and encouraged to come by fix their bikes, build new bikes, share stories, and learn about everything biking. The Handlebar has become an integral part of the Dickinson experience and the work being done is appreciated wholly, however the benefits of having a bike co-op do not always extend past Dickinson’s limestone walls.

Since its inception, The Handlebar has maintained a relationship with Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg. This amazing institution sources old, beat up, and disintegrating bikes from the area and through the work of dedicated knowledgeable volunteers produces hundreds of functioning bikes a year. Volunteers who work on these bikes are eligible to take one with them as a source of transportation. Last week four Handlebar volunteers and I visited Recycle Bicycle while they were rebuilding children’s bikes to donate as gifts for the holidays.


Murals hint at what lies behind the doors.


We were tasked with stripping usable parts from old bikes before the metal frames were recycled. Everyone there experienced the co-op system, learned new techniques from the regular volunteers, and at the end, volunteers were able to walk out with working bikes for their personal use.  In fact, many of the bikes or frames being worked on in the Handlebar were donated from Recycle Bicycle so we could benefit our community. By volunteering at Recycle Bicycle, Dickinson students have a means to give back to the people who help make the Handlebar run, and to enrich the lives of those outside Dickinson.


Cranks for Days

While Recycle Bicycle is only a 25 minute jaunt up Rt 81, for those looking to donate their time meaningfully here in Carlisle, there is a new bicycle co-op looking for help. Lifecycle is a bicycle repair and donation shop affiliated with New Life Community Church. On Saturday Handlebar volunteers took a quick bike ride over to learn about this cool new community initiative. Lifecycle also bases their model off of Recycle Bicycle and like the Handlebar, receives parts and assistance from Recycle. On Saturday we stripped parts from rusted frames and built up new bikes. Lifecycle will gives bikes to volunteers who are looking for employment, families that can’t afford bikes, and looks forward to working with the Dickinson community.


Handlebar Volunteers help out at Lifecycle

These are two great ways that Dickinson and The Handlebar can give back to the community. We look forward to continuing our relationships with these organizations next semester and including getting even more members of Dickinson involved.

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Winter Bike Storage Is Here!




Does your bike need a home this winter? Ice, rain, salt, and sand can destroy a bike. Bring your bike to the CSE office in Kaufman and we’ll store it free of charge. See you there!winterbikestorageposter2015Alternate


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Thanksgiving Bike Rides










Thanksgiving is a time for stressed college students to return home, stuff their faces, do their laundry, and hug their dogs. It also marks a turning point before the snow begins to fall and down jackets are required for a walk to the mailbox. An iconic Thanksgiving event are Turkey Trots, short road races meant to bring together family and the community. However there are also plenty of Thanksgiving day bike rides, which can be a great way to reconnect with your lonely bike and your family.

For the many students in the DC Baltimore area, there is a fun ride in Reston, VA that is open and free for all.

The bicycle club of Philadelphia also hosts a longer ride for biking families. Scroll down to November 26th for the details.

For mountain bikers there is a Thanksgiving day ride planned at Jacobsburg State Park in Easton PA. Check it out

For Dickinsonians heading home to the West coast, Bikecal has many rides being sponsored Thanksgiving day. Most are in Southern CA and a pretty advanced level.

There are many more group  rides out there, and if you can’t find one near where you live, go with your friends and family! Through exercise you can justify any amount of food you will stuff into your face later.

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Why do you bike?

Biking Narratives: The Schwartz Interview

Sitting down and interviewing a stranger can be an extremely nerve wracking experience. What if my questions stink? What if they give me one word answers? Should I have dressed better? Luckily this was not the case. I would be interviewing one of my closest friends on the shared passion that made us become friends. Freshman year, I brought my bike to Dickinson seeing it merely as an easy way to get to Frisbee practices. Within a month however I was going on 30 mile rides exploring the good, the bad, and the ugly of what rural Pennsylvania can offer. What brought about this change? Almost entirely the zany kid down the hall, Alec Schwartz. He had also brought his road bike to school, and coincidently his roommate had too.

The three of us started biking on the weekends to find creepy dilapidated barns, or a cool spot down by the great Carlilian rivers. Soon we were constantly going on night bike rides in lieu of the usual freshman rite of going to parties whenever possible. It’s three years later and not much has changed. In order to catalogue our biking adventures, I thought it would be a good to ask Alec about why he had brought his bike to school Freshman year and the journey that led up to that. As a note this interview is mostly paraphrased with Alec’s approval. Who has time to transcribe audio anyway?


MR: Tell me a little about how you first got into biking?

AS: My first memories on a bike were when I was seven years old. My dad was riding for a competitive club mountain bike team and he would convince me to come with them sometimes. Essentially I was pulled in the woods by people more confident than me.

MR: Did you have any special attachments to your bikes growing up?

AS: My first bike was a bright red Specialized Big Hit which was pretty expensive for kids, but it was the only bike my dad had that fit me. It was way too heavy for me and as a result going uphill in that thing was awful. It had a full suspension, which meant uphill’s and flats were brutal. It was a champ at the downhills though.

MR: What is your favorite place to ride at home?

AS: My family recently moved to Burlington Vermont, so I’m still discovering new routes whenever I’m home. So far my favorite has been the Mt. Philo loop. My dad showed me this ride and it’s pretty beautiful. It goes past Lake Champlain and the terrain is almost all rolling hills with farms and cows to the side. Biking around Vermont has been a great way for me to learn more about my new home.

MR: Sounds similar to our trips around Carlisle Freshman year.

AS: Yup.



Freshman Shenanigans                               Senior Shenanigans

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