Two Electric Bikes Donated to Island University Help Students Get around Campus

Published: July 01, 2016

Two Electric Bikes Donated to Island University Help Students Get around Campus

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Students at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi now have a new way to get around the island, thanks to the addition of two electric bikes, or e-bikes. The e-bikes were generously donated by local business owner Mike Barnes, of Green Volt EV Conversions. The business is located at 5902 Kostoryz Road, near Holly Road.

The e-bikes are available for rent from the Recreational Sports office, located in the Dugan Wellness Center on campus. Any Islander with a valid Sanddollar$ ID can check them out for either a 24-hour period or for a full weekend.

“Right now, we aren’t charging to rent the e-bikes since they came to us at no charge,” said Franklin Harrison, Director of Recreational Sports. “If these two bikes are treated properly and properly maintained, we could likely keep them available for free. We pride ourselves on being good stewards of student money.”

Green Volt EV Conversions has been in business in Corpus Christi for nearly two years, and with the bike donation, Barnes, a Vietnam Veteran, hopes to get his product in front of a young and active demographic, all while keeping dollars and cents in mind.

“These bikes are a great alternative to a vehicle, especially for the student on a tight budget,” said Barnes. “You can buy a good electric bike for about $1,300 new or convert a traditional bike with one of my kits for about $700.”

Modern e-bikes are both throttle and pedal-based and are powered by a battery, not unlike the one that’s in a cell phone. It takes approximately two hours for the bike battery to fully charge, and the battery will last about 30 miles on a full charge.

E-bikes travel approximately 20 miles an hour, which keeps them classified as a bike versus a motorcycle or moped. Speeds can increase to about 30 miles an hour with additional leg power. Standard safety precautions are suggested while riding an e-bike.

“Helmets are always recommended when riding any kind of bike, but because this bike can travel pretty fast, long pants are optimal, in case of a fall,” said Barnes.

Besides their ease of use and cost-savings over a vehicle, Barnes say e-bikes offer many other benefits.

“They don’t contribute to smog or pollution,” said Barnes. “Also, you don’t ever have to fight over a parking spot like you do when you are driving a car. Plus, since you can avoid pedaling by using full throttle power, you won’t sweat as much while on it, so the e-bike becomes a viable mode of transportation to and from work, when you still need to look nice and put together in the office.”

Harrison has big dreams for the bikes. He would love to build up a fleet, and make them readily available for students who live at the Momentum Campus.

“It would be awesome if Momentum Campus students could use their student ID to check these bikes in and out during the day, using them as a viable transportation option between both campuses,” said Harrison. “Eventually, I would love to work with Islander Green or other donors to make e-bikes the norm on this campus.”

So far, the bikes have been well received by students, faculty and staff.

“I’m impressed by the bike’s build and power,” said David Briones, Campus Print Shop Operations Manager. “It’s got a sturdy frame and I instantly felt balanced and comfortable on it. It was like I was in perpetual ‘coast’ mode. The e-bike I rode even had a saddle bag, so I took the opportunity to use it to make some deliveries around campus, taking the longest route to my destination, to give the bike some room for a good spin.”

Barnes offers demo rides at his shop. He also rents the e-bikes out to the general public for $10 per hour. Learn more about Green Volt EV Conversions at http://greenvoltev.com/.