Cutting the Yard

Harvard Yard


Harvard Yard is bustling right now with commencement coming up on Friday.  Banners are being hung, stages and tents are being constructed, and fresh sod is being rolled out.  This is one of my favorite times of the year.  Why?  Because today we go out and cut the locks of all the poor bikes that have been abandoned on the yard.




We usually give about two weeks for people to remove the tag/bike.  A student once told me that her bike got tagged all the time, so she would just move the bike to another rack and let it continue rusting away.  This time around there were a few bikes that had the locks just taken off of them.  Apparently the owners were more than happy to have a way of getting rid of them.




We don’t have any official Harvard clothing or hats, just a bunch of bike kids with an angle grinder, so we get a fair amount of questions and comments from people.  This is also prime tourist season at Harvard (though why anyone would travel from, say, Japan and visit Harvard escapes me), so we get a fair amount of pictures taken, too.




The bikes are in every kind of condition.  This Giant had its fork, stem, handlebars, and seat taken.  Other bikes were in near perfect condition, though most are rusted beyond repair.  I often wonder why people leave these bikes to rot away on the racks, whether it’s just negligence or necessity or something else.  Some of the dorms do offer indoor bike racks, but on the yard there isn’t even a covered rack to protect bikes from the weather.  I suspect it would clash with the style of the place.




Out of maybe 30 bikes, I think we got 12 that can be refurbished and sold.  Harvard Recycling helps us with a box truck to move everything from the yard to the shop.  Whatever we can’t use gets recycled.