If you’re a Troy student, you’ve doubtlessly seen the bright orange SPIN bikes and red and black SPIN scooters around campus, but you may not have thought much about how they get there. Although there is almost always a bike or scooter near you and ready for use, a lot more goes into that process than you might think.
The SPIN day starts at 5:30 a.m., when Thomas Bowman, an upcoming sports management graduate student from Vero Beach, Florida, and Evan Mayfield, a junior management major from Millbrook, show up to the SPIN warehouse in downtown Troy.
They load up a van with 50 freshly charged scooters and head off to distribute them around campus. By 7 a.m., they’ve lined up the scooters in places like the quad, Rushing Hall and near the Trojan Center. From there, the students take them all around Troy.
After dark, Bowman and Mayfield once again grab the van, but this time to hunt down the scooters.
It’s like a game of hide and seek, Mayfield explained.
The SPIN employees all have an app on their phones that allows them to see the location of the bikes and scooters and their condition, but sometimes it’s still hard to find them.
Once they’ve found all 50 scooters, it’s back to the warehouse where the scooters are plugged in to charge for the next day.
Later at night, Seth “The Bike Guy” Key, a senior marketing major from Birmingham, comes in to make sure the bikes are ready to go, as well.
Three nights a week, Key takes the van and heads to campus for a process SPIN calls “re-balancing.”
In simple terms, Key makes sure the bikes are accessible to everyone and not hard to find or broken.
“If there’s a bunch of them, more than four or five of them right there in one spot, I’d pick up half of them and move them somewhere else,” he said.
The employee app shows him the last time a bike was used, meaning if a bike has not been unlocked in a while, he will probably find it, make sure it’s in working order, and then move it to a higher traffic area where it will be more likely to be used.
Sometimes, Key gets help re-balancing the bikes from friends, who seem to enjoy helping out.
“This is fun!” He recalled one of his friends saying. “We’re helping people with their morning commute!”
Key also works to fix the bikes that have been damaged.
If he finds a damaged bike during re-balancing, he takes it back to the warehouse and replaces it with a different one. He then fixes the broken bike using a large supply of spare parts.
Although he doesn’t always work alone, Key said he enjoys the behind-the-scenes solitude, often playing music while he works on the bikes.
Since Key intends to work in marketing, he draws some parallels between the work he does now and his future career.
“I want to bring concerts, festivals, different community events to people… where they don’t even know I exist,” Key said. “No one ever goes to a concert or event and goes like, ‘Man, I’m really glad the marketing guy behind all this told me about this.’ And no one ever says, ‘Man, I’m glad Seth Key has this bike out here for me,’ but that’s OK, because that’s what I really like about it.
“I can help others and they don’t even know that I’m helping them. And that makes me happy.”
Key also encouraged people to use the bikes and scooters to spend time with friends.
“There’s not too many things to do here in Troy, especially if you’re not into going out to the bars and partying, but we have roads, so I see the bikes as a good activity friends can do with each other,” he said. “I love taking my friends on bike rides.
“You don’t really know someone until you take them on a bike ride.”
Although the bikes and scooters can be useful or fun, all the SPIN employees remind everyone to take basic safety precautions. Policy and safety information can be found online at spin.app.