Tech launches campus Bike Week

On Monday, Tech launched its first annual Bike Week, a week of student organized activities to promote and increase the visibility of cycling as an alternative form of transportation.
Bike Week’s activities included a week-long Commuter Challenge during which departments recorded their total miles commuted on bike to compete for a prize. The Grand Prize will be the installation of a new bike rack for the department. Week-long free bike repairs on Tech walkway, Heels on Wheels, Tour de Tech, and other events also took place.
Bike Week is an idea that originated a couple of months ago from the Bicycle Infrastructure Improvement Committee (BIIC), an institute wide committee of the SGA.
Since its formation in December 2010, the BIIC has raised over $75,000 from SGA and the Office of the President to put toward various efforts to improve cycling on campus, such as adding new bike racks and sharrows — shared lane arrows that designate certain lanes as bicycle friendly.
“[Cycling] is something that I’m really passionate about. My [PhD] focus is on environmental policy and these are good solutions to some problems we have in the world, by reducing congestion and lowering emission. The easier we can make it for students to ride, the more people will be willing to ride, and Tech can help its students be more sustainable in daily lives,” said Johann Weber, the chair of BIIC and a PhD student in Public Policy.
There are many Bike Week activities for cyclists, but one goal of Bike Week is to have non-cyclists involved as well in the broader discussion of alternative transportation.
“[Students for Progressive Transit@GT’s] goal is to support all alternative forms of transportation, including cycling, walking, taking public transit, and ride sharing. We basically just want to lower the number of students who drive alone to and from school,” said Amy Ingles, Masters Student in Civil Engineering and Urban Planning.
On Wednesday, Heels on Wheels, a social ride for female cyclists, was held to promote a sense of community amongst female cyclists. Friday, several students participated in Tour de Tech, a 4 mile loop ride around campus, with Institute President G.P. “Bud” Peterson and his wife Val Peterson.
One of the exciting upcoming changes for cycling in Tech is the launch of the pilot program of viaCycle, a new type of bike sharing program that will allow students to rent communal bikes at a reasonable price and use it to get around campus. Program leaders already have plans for expansion.
“We are very excited about how the first few days [of Bike Week] went, and we would like to do it again next year and expand it. We want to get more people involved, and one idea was to coordinate with UGA to have a competition for commuters. These competitions can bring together the big public universities in Georgia, which in turn are trendsetters for the rest of the state,” Weber said.


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