Winter Bike Storage

My bike’s name is Penelope, and one of her greatest fears is snow. She trembles at the thought of her frame corroding from the street salt, her chain seizing up due to rust, and her brake and derailleur cables freezing. She’s a fair-weather bike, so this winter I’ll be making sure she’s safe and sound indoors.

If you have a bike that is afraid of the snow, make sure to bring it by the Center for Sustainability Education (Kaufman 190) so that it can be stored in the basement of Kaufman Hall, free of charge. Bike storage will be happening December 2nd – 6th between 9am and 4pm. Make sure to bring your bike, as well as your ID. For more information contact Mariah Murphy at  biking at

Don’t let your bike get buried like these bikes:

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Green Biker Profile – Glen Peterman

You may have noticed that there are an extraordinary amount of Green Bikes around campus – we currently have 54 working bikes!

Starting this week, we will be profiling some of the Green Bike riders. This first profile is by Glen Peterman, the Handlebar Adviser, who built the first Green Bike.


Name: Glen Peterman

Staff: Director of Sponsored Projects and Research Compliance; Handlebar Adviser

Blender9 Glender

Glen Peterman rides one of the Bike Blenders

I loved biking the instant my dad took off the training wheels, pushed me down our sloped driveway and yelled, “PEDAL, PEDAL!!” I was six years old.  Later I graduated to 27” wheeled bikes – a Schwinn Continental,  later a Schwinn Sports Tourer, and then a top of the line Schwinn Paramount racing bike that I got for $500 in 1973.  In high school I started working in “bicycle setup” at the local Schwinn dealer, got my Schwinn Factory Trained Certification, moved to the repair shop during and after college, and then ended up managing the place for a year.  My boss was such a jerk that I quit and helped start another shop that sold Miyata bikes. We broke even in the first year – and eventually drove my first boss out of business. (Don’t mess with Glen!!)

Since then I went on a lot of formal rides – one a Double-Century (200 miles). Two friends and I rode all night with no moon (but we did have lights) and I came in third(!) among about 500 riders sometime in the early hours.  Also made a couple tours around the Great Lakes, to upstate New York, around Israel in an organized bike-tour, and even started on a cross-country ride.  I had to bail in Jackson, Wyoming, but that’s no surprise since my foot had been broken under a fork-lift about a month before.  It was pretty stupid to actually DO a tour like that in my condition – but the experience, fun and memories have far outlasted the pain.

I built the FIRST “Green Bike” and instituted the program at the Handlebar.  Since that first one I’ve built about 50 of them with help from Handlebar volunteers.  Frankly, the reason they’re called my Green Bikes is because that’s my favorite color! (Just like my Paramount). It was merely fortuitous that my favorite color matched the sustainability jargon.  Painting all those green forks was a challenge, though. (I never told anybody but once I ended up with green hair and moustache! It was just a bit windy and the overspray got EVERYWHERE.  Happily it was a Friday night, so I had the weekend to wash my hair about 10 times).  I use my green bike as a commuter bike from home to the Handlebar when I’m fixing bikes – I mainly ride it in the summer time.

I’d recommend a Green Bike to ANYBODY.  I paid about $150 to sandblast, paint, build and rehab mine (new wheels, crank, pedals, and tires, etc., ) – but anybody else can pay a $25 refundable deposit, get a Greenie, a helmet and a lock. You can get help fixing it for free at the Handlebar if it needs fixing, then bring it back when you don’t need it anymore – and you get your deposit back!  You just simply can’t beat that kind of deal.  And you’ll love the speed and the wind in your face and hair – just like I did when I was six.

Avery McGuire '13, former Handlebar Manager, works on Glen's Green Bike

Avery McGuire ’13, former Handlebar Manager, works on Glen’s Green Bike

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Smoothies on Britton Plaza (Guest Post)

This week we have a guest blogger by “The Ghost Rider,” who writes about Smoothies on Britton Plaza (aka S.O.B.P.) – enjoy!


Once again, the Green Devil  got wildly out of control at the recent Campus Sustainability Day on Friday, October 25. Tyce Herrman, our Projects Coordinator, was selling berry smoothies and wouldn’t you know it, the Green Devil appropriated our Handlebar-built bike blenders for his goofy fun!  Fortunately that green cape didn’t get caught in the wheels.  And the smoothies?  Mmm, mmm – good!!  All smoothie sales went to support biking initiatives on campus, such as the Handlebar, volunteer training, events, and bike rack purchases. With a fleet of 55 Greenbikes and so many students riding bikes (we’ve fixed about 180 bikes at the Handlebar already this semester!) the campus seriously needs more bike racks.  Tyce, Philip Safran ’17; Kaitlin Moriarty ’13 and the Green Devil did their part to fix that!  So the next time you see S.O.B.P.  - do your part and buy a smoothie (or two)!!


fall 2013 Sustainability fest 10

fall 2013 Sustainability fest 2

fall 2013 Sustainability fest 11

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Weekend Activities

This weekend was especially exciting for cyclists and bike enthusiasts. Friday was Campus Sustainability Day on Britton Plaza. Both the Bike Blenders and the Handlebar could be seen making smoothies and performing bike tuneups. The chilly October weather couldn’t deter students from churning out delicious bike blender smoothies.


Even the Green Devil got in on the smoothie-making!


The Handlebar fixed a couple bikes and spread the word about what we do and what our hours are in the shop. Four of our volunteers showed up to help out, and had a blast talking to people.

IMG_6828After a busy Friday afternoon came Bike to the Farm Potluck on Saturday. This semester’s Bike to the Farm Potluck was a bit different, as it was held on a Saturday afternoon, and participants got to bike both to and from the Dickinson College Farm. Before departing, Officer Killinger from DPS gave everyone a quick speech about cycling on the road. The crowd was broken into five different speed groups for the 6.7 mile ride.


Unfortunately, it was very windy on Saturday, so the ride out to the Farm was a bit more difficult and slower than usual, but everyone managed to make it. At the Farm, we were greeted by the Anthropology and Archaeology departments, who had been harvesting and cooking quinoa early that morning.


Once all of the bikers arrived, it was time to dig in. There was bread, pasta, cake, cookies, cheese, salsa, apple cider, salad, and more. Many people sat around the bonfire to keep toasty-warm, while others mingled with friends.


The ride back to campus was much faster, as the wind was at our backs and it was more downhill. People grabbed their bags and dishes, which had been driven to and from the Farm, and left, full of food and happy that they had attended the event.

IMG_6942 IMG_6943If you weren’t able to attend these awesome events, never fear! Even though as the semester progresses the weather will get worse, that does not deter us from holding events, opening the Handlebar, and jumping on our bikes for a quick ride to Leo’s or around the countryside. Keep an eye out for more bike blenders, more bike fixing, and more cycling!


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Bike Blenders

Last spring, a group of students decided that they wanted to build something new and exciting in the Handlebar. Different ideas were tossed around, but we eventually settled on building a bike blender.


What is a bike blender, you ask?


It’s just what you would expect – a blender that works by pedaling a bike. In our case, we have two of these blenders: a mountain bike that was originally going to be a Green Bike and a stationary bike that was donated to the Handlebar in order to be a back-up blender.

Blender9 Glender

The rotating of the bike wheel causes a second skateboard wheel to rotate. This skateboard wheel has a rod going through it that is welded to the blades of the blender. When the skateboard wheel rotates, the metal rod causes the blender blades to rotate, which blends whatever ingredients we put in the blender. While we modeled our design off of other bike blenders we had seen online, we had no instructions to go off of, and we mainly used parts already on hand in the Handlebar.

Blender 6 done!

While we were initially apprehensive about blending anything (what if we broke the bikes we had put so much time into?), we found that our blenders were extremely efficient. In under 60 seconds, we could blend a 12oz smoothie out of frozen berries, yogurt, a banana, and apple juice. After some calculations, we found that our blenders could run at around 40,000rpms if we tried (but we tend to have people run it at a lower speed so that we don’t damage the bike or blender). Compare this to a regular blender, which runs at around 10,000 to 15,000rpms.


Our blenders have been a huge hit at events like Campus Sustainability Day, EarthFest, and the Family/Homecoming Weekend Picnic. We also are looking to rent out the bikes to groups that would like to use the blenders at their own events.

Keep an eye out for the the Bike Blenders in the future! We promise they’re delicious!

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Handlebar Volunteer Training Workshop

Have you ever wanted to learn how to fix bikes?Are you interested in becoming a Handlebar volunteer? Do you like singing, dancing, and generally having fun?

Then you should attend the Handlebar Volunteer Training Workshop!


Everyone is welcome to attend this workshop, no matter what your prior bike experience is. You will learn basic bicycle repair skills, the inner workings of the Handlebar, how to open and close the shop and what it means to be a Handlebar volunteer.

DATE: Sunday, September 22nd

TIME: 1-3pm

LOCATION: The Handlebar (found in the basement of Davidson-Wilson, right off of D-Walk)

In order to get a head-cound, please RSVP to by September 21 if you would like to attend.

Bruns, Lauren '13 and bike2

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Safety is Sexy

“Safety is Sexy” may be the official motto of the CSE office. We say it as we strap a helmet to our head, put reflective and brightly-colored bike clothing on, and follow the rules of the road. So here are a few myths and facts about bike safety.


Myth: Bike helmets look lame.

Fact: Don’t say that bike helmets look lame when you can buy gorgeously feminine helmets like these, retro helmets like these, helmets that look like hats, ones that light up for nighttime riding, some that look like they’re made out of wood, and helmets with European flair. Bike helmets are even becoming a runway fashion statement, with New York Times doing articles on them. Besides, seeing a guy or girl bike down the street without a helmet on is an immediate turn-off for me. People that do wear helmets, however, obviously care about their brain, and that is sexy.

You may recently have seen this Buzzfeed article explaining why bike helmets are not only safe, but also pretty damn sexy.


Myth: “I’ll get helmet hair”

Fact: Yes, helmets can flatten your hair. However, it’s very easy to combat the so-called “helmet hair.” Some ideas call for a little forward thinking, like using foam rollers in your hair before putting your helmet on. Try these pretty buns, braids, and twists - let’s be honest, I would do these hairstyles even if I wasn’t planning on riding my bike! If you’re worried about sweat, just use a tiny bit of baby powder and a brush to soak up the moisture. It’s also good to remember that your hair would look even worse if your skull was cracked open.



Myth: “I won’t crash”

Fact: This really isn’t just about you – unfortunately, even the best riders can be taken out by a distracted driver, another biker, uneven pavement, gravel, loose dogs, wildlife (Last semester, I almost flipped over my handlebars when a groundhog decided to run out in front of me. Luckily, I only ran over his tail.), and more. And besides, even the pros crash – some of the worst crashes you’ll see are in the Tour de France. You just can’t take any chances when riding. No one is looking out for you, except for you.


Myth: If you’re only leaving for a minute, you don’t need to lock your bike.

Fact: It is incredibly easy to steal a bike that isn’t locked up – for goodness’ sake, a stolen bike is its own getaway vehicle! Make sure to lock your bike up PROPERLY every time you leave it. And don’t just lock up the front wheel or frame, especially if you have quick release wheels. With a flick of the quick release, the rest of the bike or wheel can be stolen. And not everyone is looking out for your bike. It’s always good to lock it, just in case.


Myth: Riding on the sidewalk is safer.

Fact: Riding on the sidewalk is illegal in many places! According to Pennsylvania law, bikes are prohibited on the sidewalk in business districts (aka downtown Carlisle) or when a bike lane is provided adjacent to the sidewalk (aka much of Carlisle). Most places have even more strict laws – in Philadelphia, no one over the age of 12 can ride on the sidewalk under any circumstances. Cyclists are required to follow the same laws as motor vehicles, and since cars and trucks aren’t allowed to drive on the sidewalk, neither are cyclists.

In addition, bike crashes are twice as likely to occur when riding on the sidewalk rather than on the road. When riding on the sidewalks, risks include pedestrians and cars backing out of driveways. Drivers typically aren’t expecting to have to watch for bikes when exiting their driveways, but are more alert to cyclists on the street.


Myth: Bikes only need lights if they’re being ridden on very dark roads.

Fact: Any bicycle that is being ridden after sunset is required by law to have a front and rear light. On the front, this light must be white, must illuminate the road in front of the bicycle, and must be visible from 500ft. In the rear there needs to be a red light, visible from 500ft away.

Lights make you visible to motorists, especially if you’re wearing darker clothing. Having a rear light that flashes makes you even more visible to drivers, and should also be used when riding on busy streets.


Myth:  Cyclists should ride against traffic.

Fact: Biking against traffic is illegal and dangerous! Since bicyclists are under the same rules and regulations as motorized vehicles, they must obey the same traffic laws – like riding with the flow of traffic.

Riding against traffic also increases the speed of a potential crash, making them more likely to cause serious injury or death. Motorists also aren’t typically expecting traffic to be coming the other way, and thus might overlook a cyclist who is biking against the flow of traffic. Plus, a car making a right hand turn is extremely likely to slam into you as you approach an intersection from the wrong side of the road. And, of course, road signs are posted so that they can be read in the direction of the flow of traffic. If you’re riding against the flow, you won’t be able to read the signs. Plus, how can you make a right hand turn? You’d have to cross both lanes of traffic!


Myth: Bikes don’t need to be registered.

Fact: If (or when) your bike is stolen, having your bike registered with DPS increases the chances of getting your bike back. First, if your bike is found by a DPS or CPD officer (who may suspect a bike is stolen), they can then look at the registration to see who owns it, and then can contact you about your bike. Also, if your bike is stolen, the registration information includes a description of the bike, and its serial number, which can not only help officers keep a lookout for the bike, but can also prove that the bike belongs to you.

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Why I Ride

On July 5th, my dad and I rolled back into our driveway, covered in sweat, grime, spit, and sunburn. In three hours, we had covered 40.2 miles of Pittsburgh hills, climbing a total of 3,105 feet. After hobbling into the house, we plopped down in the kitchen, and ate whatever we could get our hands on – cold steak, berry smoothies, broccoli, mashed potatoes, chicken legs – without a care for utensils or plates. My mom walked into the room, surveyed the scene, and only asked “Why”?

It is a valid question, and one that I ask myself every time I hop on my bike for a hard ride. I have the story line written in my head. It starts with waking up at 6:30am and dreading the cold air, thinking I could still be asleep if it weren’t for the ride. Then comes the stiff muscles in the cold, and fighting the first few hills of the day, accompanied by a fair amount of swearing and disgust towards the others on the ride, usually my dad. I spit, and I cry, and sometimes I stop to rest. Over and over, I wonder why I decided to get on my bike that day, why I thought putting myself through hell would be enjoyable.

But then we crest the mountain. Maybe it took two minutes, or maybe fifteen. I gasp for breath, my chest forcing me to suck in air uncontrollably. And then we descend. I tuck down into an aero position, first moving my left hand into the drops, and then my right. Turns approach, and I take them aggressively, pulling my inside knee to my chest, and leaning the bike into the turn as sharply as I dare until the road almost seems too close to my face. All I can hear is the wind whistling past my ears, as my speedometer tells me I’ve reached 25mph. Then 35mph. Then 40mph. And as I peak at a speed of 43mph, I realize that my smile is stretched across my face. There are cows, schools, dogs, and deer on the sides of the roads. I briefly take in the sign for “Coal, Corn, and Catfish!” and another advertising lava lamps and shag carpet. Not long before, I had been in my suburban home, and now I’m whizzing through farmland and past mines. Powering up huge hills tears down the walls I put up, and my real character comes out. I persevere, and then I escape.

This is why I ride.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Mariah Murphy, and I’m the new Biking Intern for the Center for Sustainability Education. I am a junior Chemistry and Geoscience major, and this year am a Residential Advisor for McKenney Suites and will be doing research with the Earth Science department. I also enjoy rock climbing, playing my instruments (violin, guitar, banjo, ukulele, and harmonica), and riding horses.

Becoming a cyclist was bound to happen – at the age of 86, my grandpap still rides 75 miles a week, and has taken me riding more times than I could ever count; both my parents were serious mountain bikers when they were younger, and a couple years ago, my dad became a hard-core road cyclist. But becoming a bike mechanic was a different story. One cold, February morning my freshman year, a friend of mine dragged me to the Handlebar for a pancake breakfast… I never left. Now, you have to understand that I knew practically nothing about bike mechanics at the time. In the shop, I was ridiculously shy, and mainly kept to myself for a couple months, until I felt a bit more secure in my skills. Compare that to today, where I’ve build two Green Bikes from the ground up, and refurbished countless others, have been head volunteer for two semesters, and now am running the show. The Handlebar has been a place for me to grow, and I’m still enjoying the ride.

This semester, I have some big plans for the biking community, including another Bike to the Farm Potluck, trips to Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg, bike-themed movies, bike blender appearances, and bike rides to Leo’s for homemade ice cream. I will also be working with the newly approved Cycling Club to form rides for all levels.

If you would like to get involved with the Handlebar, biking, or would like to look into building a bike, stop by the shop, or email  biking at for more information!

Handlebar hours for the fall semester are Mondays and Wednesdays from 5-7pm.

I can’t wait to meet all of you!

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Biking @ Dickinson Transformed


It seems like just yesterday that I walked into my first club meetings as a nervous, yet excited first year student. At one meeting, I, along with another student (who has since become my best friend, thank you Biking @ Dickinson), volunteered to audit bike rack placement and use on campus.  Our task was simple, or so we thought.  It was twofold: We were to walk around campus with a GPS and mark every location where we though a bike rack ought to be installed and we had to mark down the locations of the current bike racks (this part proved difficult only because the six or so bike racks that existed were so well hidden).  To make a long story short, we faced some technical difficulties and ended up re-auditing the entire campus two more time.  Let’s just say Christine and I became quite familiar with the bike rack situation on campus.  The verdict: Dickinson NEEDED more bike racks and fast; six or ten racks for the whole college was not going to cut it especially if we wanted to start promoting biking on campus.  In the months to follow, bike racks began to appear around campus.  You probably have never seen someone as excited as we were about a bike rack…ecstatic.

Biking @ Dickinson has grown tremendously since the days Christine and I spent GPSing precise locations for bike racks.  Basically the only bike program that existed when I arrived at Dickinson was the Red Bikes program through DPS.  Winter bike storage began my first year.  We sat in the basement of Kaufman waiting to receive bikes for hours and were thrilled when we had ten whole bikes to store! The Bike to Farm Potluck was just getting rolling; there may have been thirty people at the Spring 2011 ride.  You get the point.  In the three short years I have been at Dickinson, biking has transformed from non-existent to a central aspect of our sustainability efforts.

Over 100 students biked to the farm during the Spring 2013 semester.  The Handlebar exists and is a fully functioning, student-run, teaching bike shop.  We have a bike powered coffee cart thanks to the Idea Fund! The Green Bike program allows students to borrow bikes built out of reused bike parts by Dickinson students, faculty and staff for an entire semester.  There are bike lanes on High Street and Hanover Street.  We offer winter and summer bike storage.  And bikes are everywhere!

Get excited because there are even more biking initiatives and program on the horizon!

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Grade Your Bicycle Lock-Up

Think you’re locking your bicycle securely? Think again!  Hal’s got the grade:

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