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  1. #1
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Schools move to eject cars from campuses



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    High schools and colleges are steering students away from cars to save money on gas, save the environment and promote physical fitness.
    This fall, Ripon College in Ripon, Wis., is offering freshmen free mountain bikes, helmets and locks in exchange for a promise not to bring a car to campus. The $300-per-student cost is funded by private donations.

    The college's president, David Joyce, says the project was meant to avoid building a parking garage, but its side effects are beneficial: less pollution, more exercise and savings on gas.

    The timing was right, Joyce says: "We were either extremely brilliant or extremely lucky."

    About 60% of the school's 300 incoming students have signed up.

    "Today's teenagers deserve a lot of credit. They're socially aware, they're environmentally conscious," says Mike Martin, executive director of the National Association of Pupil Transportation. "When the price of gasoline takes effect, they're smart."

    On other campuses:

    • At Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., a bike maintenance shop in the new student union and a bike-sharing program kicks off this fall.

    High gas prices have helped the school meet its goal of increasing bike ridership to 12% of students and staff two years ahead of schedule.

    • Other bike-loan programs will start or expand this year at colleges in Georgia, Illinois, Maine and Pennsylvania.

    • More bike racks, new speed limit signs and a parent carpooling system are among the changes being considered at Hanover Park High School in East Hanover, N.J., to reduce car traffic and to improve students' safety.

    • Howards Grove High School in Howards Grove, Wis., is using a federal grant to create a walking and biking path to the campus, currently accessible only by car or bus. The $100,000 project is scheduled to be done by fall 2009.

    • Graduate students at State University of New York-Albany proposed a 5K (3.1-mile) biking and walking path around campus as a class project. The first phase, one-third of a mile, was completed in June.

    • Faculty and students at three high schools in Marin County, Calif., are working with their local Safe Routes to Schools program to improve intersections, designate walk-or-bike-to-school days and use bikes as transportation for field trips.

    The National Center for Safe Routes to School gets state and federal funding for kindergarten through eighth grade. A bill sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would fund high school programs. High schools' wider attendance boundaries, students' reduced physical activity and their desire to be self-reliant make funding necessary, he says.

    "We have over 100 million bikes that are sitting around in garages and basements and back porches," Blumenauer says. "When people start to use them, it can be transformational."
    National Center for Safe Routes

  2. #2
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Mountain bikes, eh? What good is a mountain bike in stock configuration to encourage commuting? They'll only reinforces newbies' perception of cycling as being a difficult "task," rather then a good way to get around (and not a bad hobby either).

    -Kurt

  3. #3
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    Mountain bikes, eh? What good is a mountain bike in stock configuration to encourage commuting? They'll only reinforces newbies' perception of cycling as being a difficult "task," rather then a good way to get around (and not a bad hobby either).

    -Kurt
    Ya. I agree.
    Of course, nothing a set of 26" slicks can't solve.

  4. #4
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67 View Post
    Ya. I agree.
    Of course, nothing a set of 26" slicks can't solve.
    I often commute or shop on my mountain bike, which has 26" knobbies. Its long top tube and handlebar extensions give me a fairly aerodynamic position and 2-3 distinct hand positions, something a hybrid can't.
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    If you can't cross a campus on a mountain bike you are either disabled or morbidly obese. I could cross my campus on a kids tricycle in the 10 minutes allotted between classes. A mountain bike is perfectly fine for anything less than 10 miles and most campuses are less than 2 miles. This is a great program.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    Mountain bikes, eh? What good is a mountain bike in stock configuration to encourage commuting? They'll only reinforces newbies' perception of cycling as being a difficult "task," rather then a good way to get around (and not a bad hobby either).

    -Kurt
    Ha ha. I was thinking the same thing. Just in case any of the students had any apprehensions about bicycling, putting a newbie on a mountain bike and expecting the coed to huff and puff around town on a fat-tire ought to convince them that bicycle commuting is too much work.

    My guess is that the administration was trying to be hip by choosing mountain bikes, but they are a couple of years behind the fashion curve. "Free Mountain bike and Britany Spears posters to incoming freshmen". Uh, Dude...
    Mike

  7. #7
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevo9er View Post
    If you can't cross a campus on a mountain bike you are either disabled or morbidly obese. I could cross my campus on a kids tricycle in the 10 minutes allotted between classes. A mountain bike is perfectly fine for anything less than 10 miles and most campuses are less than 2 miles. This is a great program.
    I used to cross campus on rollerblades over bricks. That sure made my feet tingle.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

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    Should be a lot of mountain bikes on Wisconsin Craigslist soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    Mountain bikes, eh? What good is a mountain bike in stock configuration to encourage commuting? They'll only reinforces newbies' perception of cycling as being a difficult "task," rather then a good way to get around (and not a bad hobby either).

    -Kurt
    Would you have gotten the same sign-up numbers with a hybrid or a city bike? College freshmen want "sexy", not "utilitarian". Hopefully, once they use those "sexy" bikes for a while, they will either figure out what would work better or, sadly, give it up. And if it's only from dorms to class and local shops -- no problem with the mountain bikes.

  10. #10
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    Most college students live on, or very close to campus, in which case some of the big disadvantages of a mountain bike are negated - the fact that they are inefficient and slow. At the same time, most mountain bikes have very low gearing, which I would find useful when riding alongside a pedestrian, something that you see a fair amount of on college campuses. Therefore although a mountain bike would not be my choice for a commuter, I think that it may make sense as a mode of transport for a college student.

  11. #11
    Senior Member thebarerider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
    Should be a lot of mountain bikes on Wisconsin Craigslist soon.
    That would be sad, but seems very possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by sauerwald View Post
    Most college students live on, or very close to campus, in which case some of the big disadvantages of a mountain bike are negated - the fact that they are inefficient and slow. At the same time, most mountain bikes have very low gearing, which I would find useful when riding alongside a pedestrian, something that you see a fair amount of on college campuses. Therefore although a mountain bike would not be my choice for a commuter, I think that it may make sense as a mode of transport for a college student.
    I agree. A bike is a bike is a bike if you're riding a mile or two down the road. Most people probably wouldn't want a road bike anyway.

    I thought I might see my alma mater on the list because they started a Bum-A-Bike program a year ago. All students can rent a beach cruiser for free for three days, and you can renew it if there isn't a waiting list. There were two bikes stolen with the original chain locks they provided, so they switched to big u-locks this year. The program was so popular they bought 13 new bikes for this year. Here's a link.

  12. #12
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevo9er View Post
    If you can't cross a campus on a mountain bike you are either disabled or morbidly obese. I could cross my campus on a kids tricycle in the 10 minutes allotted between classes. A mountain bike is perfectly fine for anything less than 10 miles and most campuses are less than 2 miles. This is a great program.
    My point was of distance traveling - not of inner-campus travel (and I think you realize that).

    Point is, the average American college kids would not hold up on a knobbied MTB for any more then 5 miles. Keep in mind that the people riding these machines will be people who have likely never ridden a bike any farther then around their neighborhood, and are not capable of pushing themselves any farther with a pair of knobbies (which they'll probably keep at 30psi in the first place).

    Quote Originally Posted by APbikn View Post
    Would you have gotten the same sign-up numbers with a hybrid or a city bike? College freshmen want "sexy", not "utilitarian". Hopefully, once they use those "sexy" bikes for a while, they will either figure out what would work better or, sadly, give it up.
    To hell with "sexy," and the obsession with superficial appearance that is consuming American ideals. The college is providing these bikes for utilitarian purposes - not so the students can pick up hot dates. If you make it difficult for them, of course you're going to kill the initial "cool" factor. Same thing killed off the '90s MTB craze - why do you think even Wal-Mart and Target now offer hybrids and cheap-o road bikes?

    -Kurt

  13. #13
    Spinning @ 33 RPM Glynis27's Avatar
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    Wow! This is great. I wish they had something like this when I was in school. Hopefully it works out well and other people will begin to adopt it as well.

    As far as them having mountain bikes...If I was in charge of the program, I would use MTBs as well. These aren't 7" full suspension DH bikes with 2.5" tires or anything. A basic mountain bike would be ideal. They are comfortable, easy to ride and generally more durable. I have a road/CX bike, and 2 mountain bikes, and I always choose the mountain bike for my errands and for anything under 10 miles. The difficulty with riding mountain bikes on the road that everyone here makes a big deal about just doesn't make sense to me. I haven't ever had any trouble going 30 miles on my MTB.
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  14. #14
    LCI #1853
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    Mountain bikes, eh? What good is a mountain bike in stock configuration to encourage commuting? They'll only reinforces newbies' perception of cycling as being a difficult "task," rather then a good way to get around (and not a bad hobby either).
    Depends on what the roads and streets are like in that town... Given the general state of disrepair around a lot of places, a hardtail mountain bike rigged with a rear rack makes an ideal commuter. Those fat tires work on rough pavement/gravel as well as they do singletrack, and are much easier on the rider than higher-pressure road tires...

    Plus, if it's hilly, MTB gearing has its advantages, too.

  15. #15
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glynis27 View Post
    Wow! This is great. I wish they had something like this when I was in school. Hopefully it works out well and other people will begin to adopt it as well.
    Our campus is expanding in the next few years and of course...what is EVERYONES concern? Where do we put more parking spaces? This when the crosswalk near campus used by students and faculty should have a sign that says cattle crossing. When I was in college the very limited parking spaces went to seniors first; and then down. Freshmen didn't wear beanies but they wore good shoes for walking. I intend to make 'parking lots' as low a priority as possible.

    roughstuff
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    Needs a rack and basket too...

  17. #17
    I AM the stress test
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    Most kids bring a car to school, park it, and don't use it much after that. Encouraging kids to leave their car at home and to use a bicycle is GREAT.

    Add in that most colleges have some kind of town built up next to them (catering to college kids, etc.) then it makes even more sense.

    We're short of parking spaces right now, and will be for several years. A short time ago our Administrative Services gave all college staff/faculty a cash bonus to NOT drive (which was great!!! $1.50/day from the college and another $1.50/day from the state - rideshare . . . ) - wish they'd do that again.

    I saw this story a couple of days ago and am working on presenting it to our administration. It's a great idea and it helps our "sustainable" move. Of course, we'd need more bike racks (ours get pretty full already)

    And MBs are probably a better choice. We have a lot of fixies and roadies, but when things get busy, a mountain bike can spill off the pavement while the narrow-tires get bogged down a bit. . . MBs are a good choice for campus transportation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    Needs a rack and basket too...
    Yeah, it should definitely include a rack and a basket. Or at least a rack and they can rig some milk crates with zip ties.

  19. #19
    Senior Member leadchucker's Avatar
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    Isn't it likely that the choice of bike has as much to do with cost as anything else? Given the $300-per-student, I would think that mounatin bikes would be the only logical choice.

    This fall, Ripon College in Ripon, Wis., is offering freshmen free mountain bikes, helmets and locks in exchange for a promise not to bring a car to campus. The $300-per-student cost is funded by private donations.

  20. #20
    Rider in the Storm
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    I think the free bikes is a fine idea, regardless of type...might even create a life-long habit for some of the recipients.

    As for the possibility of craigslist...perhaps along with the pledge to not bring an auto on campus, they can sign a contract to produce the bike, with correct serial#, at the end of the school year, or a copy of a police report for any that might end up stolen. Falsifying a police report is a crime that may not be worth the consequence for some aspiring profiteers.

  21. #21
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I seem to recall that at Texas Tech, they discouraged bicycling around on campus. Cycling TO campus, no problem, but to go across campus usually means sidewalks, and so bikes weren't encouraged for that.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  22. #22
    Senior Member grayloon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    I seem to recall that at Texas Tech, they discouraged bicycling around on campus. Cycling TO campus, no problem, but to go across campus usually means sidewalks, and so bikes weren't encouraged for that.
    Lubbock is enough to discourage life, much less cycling on campus.

  23. #23
    drive-by poster fetad's Avatar
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    FSU had tried a similar bike program whereby there were free bikes in the bike racks. It was meant for students to use on an as-needed basis whereby you leave it at a bike rack (on campus) when done with it. Most ended up being destroyed by pranksters or stolen. That didn't last too long: only a year I think.

    Sometime around 2004 they closed off a road that split the campus in half to keep cars at the perimeter. That was an excellent idea, but the school still continues to promote driving by building new parking garages in the middle of the campus.

    Something that I think schools should take notice of, if they want to encourage walking,biking, busing, is to rid of subsidizing drivers by non-drivers. At FSU every student pays somewhere around $55 a semester to park at school whether they drive to school or not. "Well if I'm already paying for it, I might as well use it" must be a factor in some people's minds. I was splitting my school commute between driving and riding. There were plenty of days where I was just a tad lazy and went with the car based on that thinking alone.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Sledbikes's Avatar
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    i see scooters making a comeback
    riding and pimpin again

  25. #25
    Senior Member grayloon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fetad View Post
    FSU had tried a similar bike program whereby there were free bikes in the bike racks. It was meant for students to use on an as-needed basis whereby you leave it at a bike rack (on campus) when done with it. Most ended up being destroyed by pranksters or stolen. That didn't last too long: only a year I think.

    Sometime around 2004 they closed off a road that split the campus in half to keep cars at the perimeter. That was an excellent idea, but the school still continues to promote driving by building new parking garages in the middle of the campus.

    Something that I think schools should take notice of, if they want to encourage walking,biking, busing, is to rid of subsidizing drivers by non-drivers. At FSU every student pays somewhere around $55 a semester to park at school whether they drive to school or not. "Well if I'm already paying for it, I might as well use it" must be a factor in some people's minds. I was splitting my school commute between driving and riding. There were plenty of days where I was just a tad lazy and went with the car based on that thinking alone.

    While I don't doubt that student services fees assist in building/maintaining parking facilities at schools, I'm astonished that one must pay parking at FSU whether they drive or not. The school my son attends and most I'm familiar with have a separate fee for parking and car free students do not pay...until this coming school year, he was car free.

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