University of Moncton seeks used bikes for international students

The University of Moncton is gearing up for a new program that will offer used bikes to international students.

New Vélomobile program will rent bikes for $30 per semester to help students get around

Louis Doucet, of the University of Moncton's department of cultural affairs, Guilherme Ferreira, an international student from Brazil, and Julie Bergeron, of the office of international relations, pose with a donated bike worth $400 they plan to auction off to raise funds for the program that equips international students with used bikes. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

The University of Moncton is gearing up for a new program that will offer used bikes to international students.

Vélomobile is aimed at helping newcomers get to know the city and to make life easier for them during their stay, said Julie Bergeron, who helped develop the program.

It provides a bike, helmet and lock to international students for $30 per semester.

Last year, the university launched a pilot of the program, pairing a group of students from Brazil with bicycles donated by faculty and staff, said Bergeron, who works at the office of international relations.

This year, the program is growing to include additional students as well as the Edmundston and Shippigan campuses, so the university is reaching out to the public.

"We're still looking for additional bikes," said Louis Doucet, of the department of cultural services.

"Anybody who would like to give it for the student mobility service, they can do so by approaching the cultural services on campus, in the student centre," he said.

"We have forms they can fill out and we can even issue a receipt for income tax purposes."

Donated bikes will be given a tune-up by Consolvo Bikes and will then be made available to international students starting in mid-May.

The university will also be auctioning off a donated bike worth $400 to raise funds for the program, said Doucet.

Guilherme Ferreira, who came to Moncton from Brazil last summer, participated in the pilot project and says the bike helped him with everything from getting to class to getting groceries.

"We didn't know the city at all, so we had the chance to further explore the place and it was quite useful," he said.

"Since we are international students, we didn't have an international [driving] licence … It was easier to handle all those chores because we had bikes. [We] got to go to parks and stuff."