Carol Elliott | January 11, 2018
Once you start spotting LimeBikes around town, with their bright green frames and yellow bumpers, it becomes a bit like the game of slugbug. You can’t quit seeing them.
There’s one, there’s another. And another — in the rack in front of Legends of Notre Dame, being ridden down Eddy Street, leaning up against a tree in a nearby neighborhood, and a few way down by the St. Joseph River.
LimeBike, unlike most other bike-share systems, is dockless, which means that they can be picked up and left anywhere. A user locates, unlocks and pays for using a bike — rates are usually $1 per half hour with discounts available for Notre Dame users — through a smartphone app.
Mitchell Olsen can’t help pointing them out, either. He has good reason to. He played a part in bringing the bike-share program to the community.
Olsen is an assistant marketing professor who came on board at Mendoza in fall 2016. It was during new faculty orientation, in fact, that two fortuitous events occurred: Just as Olsen was pondering an assignment he was designing for his Strategic Marketing course, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who had been invited to speak to the new hires, mentioned he was thinking about introducing a bike-share program.
“I was sitting at a table with some city representatives, so I brought it up as, hey, maybe this is something we can partner on as a capstone project,” said Olsen. “I wanted the project to be a big, worthwhile challenge that gave students an opportunity to make a lasting, tangible impact before they graduate — something they later could point to as alums and say, ‘I had a role in this coming to South Bend and Notre Dame.’”