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14th November 2016

Please fix the bike pump

The bike pump outside the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons looks helpful, but is actually a danger to all cyclists

Here lies a silent problem on campus that has long gone unreported. Every day he claims the tyres of the innocent and unsuspecting student. Whilst pretending to be a friend offering a helping hand, what he is actually doing is much more sinister. Let me tell you about my shocking experience.

It was a cold and dark Thursday evening in Manchester two weeks ago, when my housemate and I set on our way to Old Trafford to watch a football match. Having decided to the most efficient means of transport was to cycle, we set off into the night, not knowing the trouble that awaited us. Rattling down the road we approached university, and saw Alan Gilbert Learning Commons. “Aha!” we said, “there’s a public bike pump there, where we can quickly top up on air!”

Disaster strikes. We swing in towards Ali G and mount our bikes against the wall next to the pump. Whilst discussing the ins and outs of whether Zlatan will play or not, my housemate James begins to twist the pump end onto his tyre. That was when he stuck [bike tyre begins to make hissing noise as air escapes].

James begins pumping, the tyre keeps hissing. What’s going on here? Have we not got it fixed on properly?

Fifteen minutes later, both man and machine are now looking equally deflated. James runs to the Students’ Union to find help, leaving me with the monster.

I look at my different shaped valve, I look at the bike pump: I can do this. On it goes [bike tyre hisses]. With all my effort I pump, desperate to keep the £20 bike that I have grown to love so much in operation. But he is merciless, my tyre is down, the pump claims a second victim in twenty minutes.

I have come to learn that this issue is widely known about by people around the city.

For the man at Hillcourt street cycles, it is a good source of potential income — but for many of us poor students the painful recollection of the encounter is just too much. So the problem continues. Last week as I came out of the learning commons I sprinted over to the bike pump, just as a girl was attaching the end to her tyre.

I tried to warn her, but it was too late. And this is why I am coming out. I want to take a stand against the university bike pump outside Ali G. I want the University to take notice and get it fixed! Sign my petition here.

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