The Tread Shed

The Amherst College Tread Shed is committed to empowering the Amherst community to adopt more environmentally sustainable and equitable transportation options through bicycling. The Tread Shed envisions its place among these communities as equipping individuals with the knowledge and experience to maintain their bicycles in order to promote a sense of confidence in exploring the Connecticut Valley. All are welcome. Come check us out! We are located in the Cooper Garage between the Clark and Cooper Houses, across the street from Valentine Dining Hall.

The Tread Shed is student run and managed through a cooperative structure, with the governing body consisting of a faculty rep, staff rep, student mechanics, and ideally a community rep involved as well. General members are individuals who volunteer 10 or more hours to the shed per semester. Currently, the Office of Sustainability stays heavily involved with the program, assisting in funding, providing paid bike technician/mechanic student jobs, and taking the lead on many programming initiatives until the Tread Shed is fully independent. 

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Bike Registration 

The Tread Shed encourages students through tabling and postering to register their on-campus bike. This helps us determine if a bike has an owner when it looks abandoned, and we can reach out to them about claiming their bike. 

Bike Storage

If an individual has registered their bike, they are also eligible to store it over the summer break and while studying away. Announcements for long-term storage are sent out toward the end of each semester through our newsletter, and we will also offer tabling.

Collection of Abandoned Bikes

We are in charge of collecting abandoned bikes and receiving bike donations from Amherst community members. When a bike looks thoroughly abandoned on campus (rusted, deflated tires, etc ...), we tag it, collect it, and move it into storage for no less than 3 months. After this time, if nobody reaches out to us about claiming their removed bike, we then give it a new home.

Coming back from study abroad and can’t find your bike that you left locked to Val for 6 months? Come check with us to see if we collected it. 

See a decrepit bike outside of your dorm that is just an open invitation for unfortunate bike stealth? Email us and we will get it removed. 

Sliding-Scale Volunteer-to-Own Bike Program

One of our goals is to equip students on campus who want a bike with a bike, regardless of their ability to afford a bike, while cultivating a knowledge, experience, and confidence towards maintenance. Collected bikes are valued between approx. $40 - $350 depending on the bike’s age, rideability, and quality of the parts. Once a collected bike has aged out of its ≥90-day holding period, a redistribution plan can be developed with a new potential owner. 

This redistribution plan involves determining if and what portion of the bike’s value will be paid monetarily and through service, with the initial interconversion rate of 1 service hour = $10. For example, a bike valued at $80 could be paid through a plan that involved paying $10 and executing 7 service hours. Service responsibilities may involve: tidying the garage, assisting during maintenance workshops or with garage visitors who need mechanical assistance, reaching out to Amherst College seniors with registered bikes about their post-Amherst bike plans, registering bikes, or even fixing up the bike for which they have developed the distribution plan. These service hours contribute towards general membership.

Open Hour Maintenance Workshops

We host weekly open hours in the fall and spring for individuals seeking assistance, specialized equipment, or common consumables (bike tubes, brake and shifter cables, cable housing, spokes, brake pads, etc.) to work on their current bike projects. Come by to check out our abandoned bike and work to repair and own your own bike.

Guided Group Rides

In the future, we hope to host guided group rides to increase comfort riding around the Amherst area. We hope to normalize safe biking culture on the Rail Trail and streets by modeling proper helmet use, loaning front and rear bike lights, and teaching early riders how to signal. And, it’s a great way to meet other people interested in biking! Interested in this idea? Send us an email!