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 biking@dickinson.edu 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 dickinson.edu 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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Handlebar Summer Hours

Summer bike

Ah summer, that lovely time of year when the sun is shining, lazy days stretch into hazy nights, and bike rides are always a joyful occasion.  To ensure continued summer-time bliss, don’t forget to come by the Handlebar to keep your steel (or aluminum, carbon fiber, bamboo? etc.) steed moving o so smooth!  We’ll be open Thursday evenings from 6:00 – 7:30 pm.

- Spinnin’ spokes and tellin’ jokes.

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Closing for the Semester-



Monday 4/29: 5pm-7pm

Wednesday 5/1: 5pm-7pm

We will not hold regular hours over exam week and summer hours are TBD.





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Bike Check In and Check Out

Bikecheckin**Additionally this is your last chance to check you bike out of winter storage**


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