LAFAYETTE — University of Louisiana at Lafayette students looking to pedal their way around campus may soon have an option that allows them to lease a bicycle built to withstand neglect and the elements.

ULL is exploring a possible partnership with Rugged Cycles in a bicycle lease program that would allow students to lease its “airless, chainless and stainless” bicycles for about $1 a day, said Joey Schulz, marketing manager for the company.

The bicycle lease option means students can avoid fighting with traffic, paying parking fees and fines, and worrying about the maintenance that inevitably comes with purchasing a cheap bicycle, Schulz said.

Rugged Cycles are built with airless tires that are made of solid polyurethane, which never deflate and last several years without needing to be changed, said Schulz, who graduated from ULL in 2003.

The bicycle also features a fully enclosed, chainless drive shaft, which replaces a bicycle’s standard chain, and stainless steel hardware, meaning about 97 percent of the bike is rustproof, Schulz said.

The company, based in Corpus Christi, Texas, launched in 2008, selling primarily to clients like Exxon Mobil Corp. by offering a low-maintenance bike that could be “used and abused,” Schulz said.

Rugged Cycles began offering bicycles for the recreational rider last year following a small-scale retail launch in Texas, Schulz said.

The bicycles retail for about $1,200, he said.

Rugged Cycles has already started bicycle lease programs at Texas A&M and Texas A&M at Corpus Christi, Schulz said.

Currently, the company is trying to build student interest at ULL and anticipates starting a pilot program in the spring with about 50 bicycles, Schulz said.

A full-scale launch would likely follow in fall 2012, he said.

ON THE INTERNET:

http://www.facebook.com/CajunBikes

http://www.ruggedcycles.com