Vermonter inspired to offer green rides

No longer do students have to leave campus to find a decent bike to get around.

The Collegiate Bicycle Company, a wholesale located in San Diego, Calif., was founded about a year ago, and makes bikes with the colors and logos of different universities nationwide. Students can buy University of Vermont bikes through the UVM Bookstore or at the Skirack on Church Street.

Erik Camp, one of the founders, said his inspiration for starting the company was college students themselves.

“We’re out here in San Diego, and bikes are everywhere because it’s nice all year round. We saw a lot of people coming into the shop and noticed them with their college hats and sweatshirts on and college stickers on their bikes, and we decided to go for it and combine the school pride with the bikes.”

Although this company is based in San Diego, and has shops all across the United States, Camp is originally from Williston and graduated from Champlain Valley Union High School.

“I lived in Williston from age 10 on, and my family still lives there,” Camp said.

His younger brother, Scott, is a first-year student at UVM. As a result of his strong ties with Vermont, UVM was one of the first schools for which he asked to make bikes.

“We worked with over 30 schools in our first year, and I wanted to include UVM since it’s my hometown and already has a rep as a very green, enviro-friendly campus,” Camp said.

Camp is also a strong activist for the environment, which is another reason he encourages the use of bikes.

“We’re working directly with the schools to provide bikes for the students because it’s a better form of transportation,” he said.

“It’s a great work-out, it saves gas money (the prices are ridiculous), and it’s good for the environment because you’re not polluting. If we all ride our bikes, it’ll be better in the long run. College is a good time to promote it because it’s the time in between high school and the real world.”

The Collegiate Bicycle Company continues to expand, and already has agreements with schools such as Colorado State University, University of Maryland, Texas A&M, University of Miami and even as far as University of Hawaii. They also offer bikes for those with Greek pride – sororities such as Chi Omega and Alpha Phi, and fraternities such as Tau Kappa Epsilon and Pi Kappa Alpha, are examples of themes of bikes offered.

The only malefactor, especially in the eyes of a poor college student, is the price. Both men’s and women’s Catamount Cruisers are $279.99.

“Bicycles are pretty complicated machines, and there are lots of people involved in building them,” Camp said. “Shipping prices are high. We give $30-40 back to the school for using their logo. We essentially have to cover our costs to run a good business.”

“Proceeds from each sale benefit the school as well,” Camp said.

The Collegiate Bicycle Company offers a UVM-friendly, environmentally sound alternative to your new Honda – if you can afford it.