SPIN skids to a halt


Michelle Hofman

The Spin bikes that remain on campus are grouped together in the corner of the courtyard between Jonny’s Cafe and Commons Annex.

The SPIN Bikes program has officially been terminated by the company as of this school year. The program was introduced by Student Senate to Calvin’s campus in the 2017-18 school year.

Joshua Bulten, former student senator and project team member, said that over the past six months, SPIN has developed an additional segment line of electronic scooters and have ended their bike program altogether.

“[SPIN] experienced ten times faster growth with the scooters, while the bikes stayed consistent,” said Bulten. “They felt having the two segments was spreading the company too thin — they are quite a small company still — so they decided to focus solely on the scooters.”

JB Britton, associate dean of Campus Involvement and Leadership, shared his experience with SPIN as the project overseer and developer.

“I was pretty upset about it. They didn’t lead us on but it was very abrupt. So, literally, we got an email and the next day the program ended,” said Britton. “They talked a good talk and they wanted to be collaborative, but in the end, to be honest — and with us being responsible for getting rid of the bikes — it was a joke.”

(Photos by Michelle Hofman.) The Spin bikes that remain on campus are grouped together in the corner of the courtyard between Jonny’s Cafe and Commons Annex.

SPIN informed Calvin that they would be allowed to keep the bikes. Keeping true to its mission of stewardship, Calvin decided to turn a seemingly overwhelming supply of bright orange bikes into an opportunity to serve. They donated about 25 bikes to Oakdale Neighbors, a nonprofit with several bike programs, and about 45 bikes to Dynamic In Motion. Both are nonprofits with similar missions of repairing donated bikes for the community.

Kieran Valk, former vice president of senate and project team member, commented on the usage of bikes currently grouped together near Johnny’s Cafe on campus.

“Right now there’s no specific protocol for their use,” said Valk. “If groups want to use them, they could go through student senate or the Campus Involvement and Leadership office.”

In the past year, all 110 bikes had gotten quite a bit of usage. All three project team members commented about the positive impact of having a rideshare bike program on Calvin’s campus.

“Kieran, JB and I had a master map that showed the location of all the bikes in Grand Rapids. Every following weekend, I would notice at least a few groups of bikes at Gaslight Village, Reeds Lake or at the mall,” said Bulten. “Having a successful, easy and affordable bike share program allowed for community growth through activity on and off campus.”

With that opportunity now gone, Britton mentioned that he has been looking into other programs similar to SPIN which could be contenders for future installations on campus.

“The only model that’s really working right now is using corporate sponsorship or nonprofit sponsorship as a way of modifying the bike projects.”

He said that he is unsure whether or not a sponsorship like that would be the best fit for Calvin, but that there is work being done to reinstate a program like this in the future.