The best things in life can often be the hardest to come by and just the same, the Tiger Bike shop is one of those things. Nestled behind the front parking lot on Southern Avenue at the end of campus and a parking lot adjacent to the Rec Center is one of the University's newest “green” programs.
Each semester the student body at the University of Memphis pays a required $10 green fee, which boasts a multitude of environmentally friendly programs on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods. The Tiger Bike program began March 2013 with the goal of allowing students access to a cost-efficient, eco-friendly means of transportation as well as health promotional implementation for exercise.
Along with providing students a means to meet the “Memphis Healthy U” recommendation for “daily exercise for good health,” it directly corresponds with the local government’s endeavors to “provide bike lanes along city streets and to build greenlines and other trails that connect parks and recreational areas throughout the city and the county," according to the U of M's website regarding the program.
"There are so many students who live within a two-mile radius of campus and don't have to drive their car to campus," said Amelia Mayahi, sustainability coordinator for the U of M. "They can ride their bike and go straight to the door where their classes are. And we also have a parking issue on our campus. I think this [program] could help with the limited amount of parking spaces.”
In its initial semester, the program did not get much student traffic, said Arthur Johnson, Tiger Bike shop coordinator. But this semester has shown more promise.
“In our opening semester we rented, maybe, six or seven bikes total," Johnson said. "Okay, maybe ten. Within two weeks of the opening of this semester, however, every single one of the Tiger Bikes was spoken for and remain so to this day.”
The U of M is proud to be amongst some of the top universities with sustainability programs. Before launching the Tiger Bike program, Mayahi visited universities such as Ole' Miss and Rhodes who have similar programs to do research and gauge their effectiveness.