Hundreds bike to school to promote alternative transport
April 25, 2008 1:15 PM
Scores of SF State students brought their bicycles to school on April 24 to take rides together, get free food and prizes and experience what it would be like to park their bicycles in the quad.
With more than 200 students allowing volunteer valets to watch over their bicycles in a sequestered section of the quad’s grassy lawn, organizers called SF State’s second Take Your Bicycle to School Day a success. One lucky student won a new bicycle by promising to give up driving a car for a year.
The day’s participation virtually doubled last year’s, said Matt Bissell, an environmental studies senior volunteering his time for the event. SF State’s first Take Your Bicycle to School Day last October saw some 130 students bring their bicycles to the quad, according to ECO Students, the campus group of environmentally conscious students and the event’s organizer.
Additionally, at least 65 students signed a petition asking for a cross-campus bicycle path and about a dozen signed up to participate in free repair workshops hosted by local bicycling groups.
“It’s been a much larger response than last time,” said Bryan Ting, ECO Students member. Ting credited the response to better advertising and positive word of mouth from those who participated last year.
Several dozen student bicyclists parked their bicycles elsewhere that day; a handful of bikes chained to the bookstore’s ground level staircase could be seen from the quad. A couple of students passing by said they would have participated but they would be on campus longer than the event, which allowed for quad parking until 5 p.m.
Still, a lot of students celebrated the idea of bicycling to school. For some, it was their first ride in a while-—Bissell said he handled one bicycle covered in dust, and another limped in with two flat tires.
But getting those people to ride is part of the point of Take Your Bicycle to School Day, Bissell said. “It gets people out that wouldn’t normally be riding their bikes. It promotes a healthy lifestyle,” he said.
Ting said that creating and nurturing a bicycling community was another aim of the event.
“It’s a community of people coming together to celebrate an alternative form of transport. It helps people know about the cause, but it also tells people they’re not alone, there’s someone else out there,” he said.
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