By Isobel Steenrod
Sam Bower ’21 was promoted to manager of the Bike and Ski Co-op at Colorado College at the start of this year. As manager, Bower trains new employees, fixes flats, and tunes skis. A typical day of work begins at 3 p.m., when “people immediately start f lowing in and keep coming until we close at 5 p.m.,” said Bower. His favorite part of his job is seeing bikes that he’s fixed being ridden around campus. “I hope they’re still working!” Bower said.
Most of the bikes brought into the Bike Co-op are campus bikes, with only about 20% high-end mountain or road bikes. Bower wishes they had access to the resources of a full bike shop, so they could order parts instead of referring people to a shop in Colorado Springs.
The Co-op is steadily growing, however, “as the Co-op evolves, we get to train [our employees] in new ways. For example, each branch of the [Outdoor Recreation Center] has an inclusivity representative,” Bower said.
Bower is the proud owner of a few project bikes. The Tall Bike, which you may have seen around campus, is composed of two bike frames stacked and welded vertically, made by the student who founded the Bike Co-op in 2014. Last year, Bower and Chris Watters ’19 built a tandem bike using a mattress frame for structural stability. After many joyrides, the tandem bike broke in half, likely because “no measurements were made,” said Bower.
Along with managing the Co-op and building bikes, Bower is also an active member of the CC mountain biking team. The team competed in Aspen last weekend, where 25 students participated. There are “around 50 active bikers [on the team],” Bower said. “It’s definitely a growing sport.”
Bower himself got into mountain biking when he was a “wee lad,” but really started taking himself seriously when he started biking at CC. “It’s really about a nice ride in the evening with your friends that makes it all worth it,” Bower said.
If you are interested in trying mountain biking, but don’t want to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars purchasing a bike, the ORC rents Fat-Tire bikes for just $10 a day. Also, mark your calendars for the annual Fall Bike Sale on Friday, Oct. 11.