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UCSB Employees Walk Away with New Wheels at Abandoned Bike Sale

100 workers win a 'golden ticket' in a lottery for the chance to pay a fixed $40 fee for a bicycle of their choosing

Katie Title slowly rocked a five-gear bicycle forward and backward, seemingly mesmerized by the way its white and pink wheels swayed on the pavement outside UC Santa Barbara’s Campbell Hall.

She admired a wide seat, still-thick tire tread, even the dusty, black frame.

“I feel really lucky,” said Title, an administrative assistant in the university’s Human Resources Department who debated the purchase.

Luck had everything to do with it Wednesday, when 100 staff employees descended on bike racks during a noon sale of abandoned campus bicycles.

They had each won a literal “golden ticket” in a lottery with more than 350 applicants, all vying to pay a fixed $40 fee for the bike of their choosing — picked in a certain order in an allotted amount of time.

A new GauchoU program, focusing on perks for staff employees, organized the sale with the Community Service Organization and university transportation services.

Title, who lives in Carpinteria, was the envy of fellow employees, some who waited to see if any beach cruisers, mountain bikes or multigear bikes might be left over.

“It’ll be nice to get to the other side of campus,” she said, finally jumping in a long line of others waiting to pay and register their bikes, a sale requirement.

The same free-for-all festivity took place last month, when 60 staff walked away with new “as is” wheels during a sale that lasted fewer than 30 minutes.

More than 400 applied for that iteration, the first in years because bikes legally impounded by UCSB Police were previously sent south for auction.

“There’s just something about riding a bike on campus,” UCSB Director of Government Relations Kirsten Deshler said as she picked a pair of wheels.

Abandoned bicycles can be impounded after 90 days or less, since rules differ during summer, according to CSO.

“They’ve had all summer,” said James Wagner, program manager for the UCSB Transportation Alternatives Program. “A lot of students move out of housing and they leave their bikes there. Some are rusty. Some have flat tires. My goal is to keep it local.”

While demand seems high, whether UCSB will one day offer the same bike sale to faculty or students depends mostly on supply, Wagner said.

“I’d love to do one each quarter,” he said.

After registering, Title rode off to store her new bike in her office, making a mental note to buy a lock and add a white basket.

“I’m just excited to get it cleaned up and rolling,” she said.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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