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One of the gilded fleet.
One of the gilded fleet.
PHOTO: BY EMILY HODES '12

Golden Bicycles Provide Free Ticket to Ride

Posted November 4, 2009
Tags
This semester three Hamilton students reintroduced the Gilded Bicycle Guild, which provides a fleet of bicycles for the community to use. The Guild was founded by Andrew LaFiandra '07 but over the last few years the bicycles fell into disrepair. The three current students - Charlie Palanza '10, Anoop Pandey 11 and Dave Hyman '12 - were eager to provide a gentle reminder of the Guild's "Golden" rules.

The Hamilton College Gilded Bicycle Guild
(re) INTRODUCES
the
thirty three and one-third
***GOLDEN BICYCLES***
to campus
Every year at about this time, as the leaves begin their annual chromatic waltz, you may start noticing herds of gold-plated bicycles perched out front of buildings, nestled cozily into bike racks, and scattered upon the lawns like the yellow autumn leaves. These bicycles are the Golden Bicycles, the steeds of the Hamilton College community bike system.

These bicycles are your bicycles.

Here’s the idea: You see a golden bike, you ride it to wherever you need on campus, and then you leave it there. Someone else can then ride it wherever on campus they please. They are free community bikes that are used and loved by you and me.

We have a fleet of 25 BRAND spankin' NEW bicycles this year!!!
revel in their auriferous effulgence and HELP US MAKE THEM LAST. WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Here's the deal:
These bikes belong to the community, and they need the community to survive. In the past, we have had tremendous trouble with the bikes being misused, and subject to the tragedy of the commons. Help us make these bikes a victory of community instead.

Many community bike programs are 'controlled,' and users must pay fees, lock the bikes, and access to the bikes is limited to a select few. At the Gilded Bicycle Guild, we continue to believe that because at Hamilton we are blessed with a small unified community, we should reap all the benefits that come with it- namely, employing trust and accountability. You can trust we will maintain the bikes to the best of our ability, and we trust that we all will care for and love our bikes. It takes a village...
please, hold one another accountable. if you see someone misusing a golden bike, call them out, as they are misusing your bike as well as everyone else's.

We encourage you to use them. We beseech you to love them. We insist you care for them. If we follow these rules together we're golden!!

THE ***GOLDEN*** RULES
-or-
seven points on how to avoid Aristotle’s two-wheeled tragedy of the commons

ONE. HEED THE STEED CREED
The cycles are Hamilton College property. ANY misuse listed below, taking of parts, or wanton destruction of the bikes will be punished with the 6-10 points assigned to vandalism, and you will be charged for the replacement of the bike. Bummer. Don’t do it.

TWO. DO UNTO GOLD AS YOU WOULD HAVE IT DO UNTO YOU
The bodacious blonde beauties are not as terrifyingly rickety as past years, but they are still delicate. Be gentle. Don't try to adjust the seats please. Please don’t try to defy gravity and catch sick air off the Science Center steps, break the land speed record on the way to Rogers, or toss them artistically on the ground outside List. Stick to the paths. Care for them. Put down the kickstand, or if it doesn’t have one please lean it against something gently.

THREE... HILL IS HOME
Absolutely DO NOT take the honeyed honeys off-campus. For one thing, they probably won’t make it down the hill. If they do leave Hamilton property, it will be considered theft and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken. It’s just too easy for them to wander away once they leave campus.
Sorry, this includes late-night Nice-n-Easy runs. (and daytime Hannaford’s runs for that matter).

Also, Don’s Rok and the VT do not count as ‘on-campus,’ regardless of their academic reputations.

FOUR. RIDE LIKE MY GRANDMOTHER
You may not know her, but she ain’t exactly hell on wheels. Here’s what she would say:
Safety First. You’ll notice the bikes don’t come with helmets. Go slow. And no, beer doesn’t count as a helmet. Which leads us to…
Don’t ride drunk. It is not smart. These wheat-hued wonders are not cars, but you still have to vehiculate them, and they go fast. It’s also illegal in the state of New York (CUI, cycling under the influence). Please, if you're really pissed, and you're just going to do stupid things and break yourself and the bike, just walk.
Be careful of cars. Get off and walk before crossing the crosswalk. At night, even these coruscating creatures are very hard to see.

Be Polite You are sharing paths with those not graced by flaxen steel between their legs. Yes, the un-mounted pedestrians are less cool than you, but don’t take out your professor on the way to class.

FIVE. IF IT’S BROKE, DON'T RIDE IT
Call us instead and we’ll fix it. If something seems flagrantly wrong with a golden gelding, like a flat tire, a squirrel caught in the spokes, really crooked handlebars, a missing seat, please don’t ride it. It will only get further damaged. Just wheel it somewhere conspicuous, turn it upside down (seat and bars down, not sideways), and we will come around and get it. (So that also means don’t turn over upside down bikes and ride them.) If you are feeling very much like a good Samaritan, the bike shop is behind the Glen House, and you can roll the busted bike over there.
If you happen to spot a wounded Dorado in a ditch somewhere, please email/call us!!! We will reward you with gilded paraphernalia of all sorts if you tell us about a bike you spot somewhere. And you will receive good karma too.

SIX. USE YOUR MIDAS-TOUCHED-o- METER
Not all ochroid bikes are yours. Just the very golden ones with “Hamilton College” written on them. Discriminate the mellower yellow private rides from genuine aureate velocipedes.

SEVEN. SHARING IS CARING
The bikes are for everyone to use. Not just you. Park them in obvious places so others can see and use them. DO NOT lock them up, bring them inside, claim one, or otherwise restrict them from their autumnal pastures. We know the lustrous lovelies are elusive and fickle- but when one abandons you for another student, rest assured, it still loves you, it is just doing its job. It is, after all, the village bicycle.
(If you really need a personal bike, you may rent one for 24-hour periods from the bike co-op, or we can put you in touch with some wonderful bike shops nearby that sell them used, classy and cheap.)

If you live at Rogers or G Road or Bundy, or somewhere else far away, please do not ride a tawny two-wheeler home every night and just hoard the entire fleet at your step. Bring them back up the hill for others to use.

Finally, If you can’t ride a bike, please tell me. I’ll teach you. It’s pretty easy. And it’s really a wonderful thing.

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