Biking Group Battles Gas Prices
California Bike Commute Week battles gas prices and global warming
May 12, 2006 9:36 AM
Because of the laundry list of expenses that come with owning a car, junior Chris Wachter said he would love to drive his vehicle off a cliff.
“If there was a bike at the end of the cliff, I’d be really happy,” said the 20-year-old English major, who said insurance and gas prices for his 2000 Hyundai Accent are through the roof.
Wachter’s got the right idea for this week’s 12th Annual California Bike Commute Week.
Organizers are urging people from all over the state to help save the environment, get in shape and save money by riding their bicycles instead of their cars. The week consists of several local 'Bike to Work' days and May 18 is San Francisco’s turn.
“'Bike to Work Day' is a day dedicated to using alternative modes of transportation to get around,” said Cole Portocarrero, the event coordinator for the Bay Area Bicycling Coalition.
The Bay Area Coalition has held several events this week and California’s commute week is the largest of its kind in the nation, according to its Web site. Its purpose is to promote bicycling as an environmentally friendly and healthy form of transportation.
Portocarrero stresses that biking should not be seen only as a leisure activity, but as a way to get around. “We want people to get on a bike and experience what bicycling has to offer,” she said.
The hope is that once people try commuting by bike once, they’ll be hooked.
All it took for Avi Megiddo to get hooked was a near-death car accident he experienced last year. Since then he has been “happily car-less.”
“For me, every day is bike day,” said the 29-year-old graduate student. Megiddo, who is enrolled in the teacher credential program at SF State, teaches at a private high school in the Sunset district. For him, the bike ride also equals a great time-saver.
“I used to get all the tickets and waste my time finding parking,” he said. Now he can avoid the road rage and cruise on by as car drivers wait.
“You can get around a crowd real fast,” agrees Emily Chambliss, 19, a sophomore who is studying psychology. “Biking is faster and you get a work out.”
Chambliss rides her bike to school, but not to work. Biking to work would mean trying to haul her bike onto BART, which she said places time restrictions on bikes. But for the sake of today, she’s considering taking it on BART.
Although she also owns a car, Chambliss rides to campus because she lives so close to school. Switching back and forth helps her tank of gas last a little bit longer.
“Gas prices are bad, biking is good,” she said.
Portocarrero said people do seem to be getting really frustrated with the rising price of petrol.
“They should ride bikes not only to save them some money, but also to make it a point to show the government that this is not acceptable,” she said about the high cost of gas.
Not only does biking save money and serve as a good way to exercise, it’s also environmentally friendly. Global warming issues are putting the heat on everyone to do their part, and biking to work is one way of keeping pollution and smog under control.
This commute week is actually held as apart of the national bike commuting week campaign, National Bike Month and the American Lung Association's Clean Air Month.
Senior Will Gurin, 22, is a geography major who specializes in climatology.
Unfortunately, he can’t participate today because he doesn’t own a bike, but he supports the idea behind 'Bike to Work Week' because it helps to see other people biking instead of driving.
Gurin says more needs to be done to bring attention to global warming.
“It’s just going to get worse,” said Gurin.
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