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BYU students have started posting reviews on Google Maps for bike racks around campus in recent months.
Elias Flores, a BYU urban and regional planning graduate, helps with the Provo Bicycle Committee. Flores calls himself “a pretty big advocate of biking.”
Flores helped start an event at BYU called Y-Bike, which happens every semester at Brigham Square or the JFSB quad, as part of his capstone project. Y-Bike is an event where bike organizations fix bikes and talk about bike safety.
Flores said he realized there was a need for better bike racks around campus during his capstone project, so he also helped install maintenance stations at the JKB, the ASB, the RB and the Clyde Building.
“From then I started realizing bike racks are pretty important,” Flores said. “I tried to start a review for the underground bike facility at the LSB.”
He noticed there were other bike racks receiving ratings as well. These ratings are based on proximity to students’ classes for the most part.
“(The comments are) pretty funny, well thought out, very articulated,” Flores said.
Flores joined in on the fun and wrote a review for the JKB bike rack. He gave the bike rack three stars and wrote, “Cool bike rack. Not as chill as the Talmage Building bike rack. TBBR has more chill.”
Flores liked the Talmage Building bike rack because he had most of his classes at the JFSB.
“The bike racks there were closer to where I need to go on occasion,” Flores said. “At times, because it was such a popular place to park your bike, I would run into people I know.”
BYU marketing senior Preston Tiegs also wrote a review for the JKB bike rack. He wrote, “The second-best covered bicycle rack on campus. (The LSB has the best one).”
Tiegs started writing Google reviews in order to get one terabyte of drive space. Google awarded points for uploading photos to Google Maps, writing reviews and correcting mistakes, according to betanews.com.
“I was on a quest to review over 200 places on Google Maps … and I was running out of places to review,” Tiegs said.
Information technology sophomore Nate Kelley also wrote a bike rack review for free drive space on Google. Kelley wrote, “Talmage bike rack, that’s all I’ve got to say.”
Kelley said he and his friend submitted reviews for restaurants in Provo for about three hours. As they scrolled on Google Maps toward campus, they saw the bike rack reviews.
“We were like, ‘Man this is hilarious, you can review the bike rack.’ So we submitted some funny reviews,” Kelley said.
Kelley and his friend even created a couple of bike rack reviews in order to receive more points for drive space.
These reviews eventually gained so much attention that KSL posted an article about them. Tiegs also thought the coverage of bike rack reviews was pretty funny.
“I think it shows the state of the news here in Provo,” Tiegs said.
Flores said he doesn’t think many people are looking at the bike rack reviews, even though they have gained some media attention. However, he hopes the attention will lead to more students riding their bikes to school.
“People might start to connect the dots, ‘Oh there’s a bicycle rack, maybe I should start riding my bike to campus,'” Flores said.
Kelley also hopes more students will ride their bikes to school.
“I kind of like the culture of a biking community,” Kelley said. “I like the environmental factor and that it saves money.”