Biking to classes popular with students

Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson

With fluctuating gas prices and raised parking permit prices, more and more SDSU students are choosing to ride bicycles. Throughout May, many will celebrate National Bike to Work month.

The week of May 11 to 15 has special activities planned by the Bicycle Friendly Brookings event workgroup. Everyone is encouraged to ride their bikes wherever they go and wherever they may be during that week.

“We’ve promoted the event before, but this year there are community partners that are involved in it,” said Sherry Oswald of Sioux River Bicycles and Fitness. “Community participation stemmed from the Bicycle Friendly Conference that was held on campus last fall. The conference was sponsored by the Students’ Association and Brookings transportation board.”

The activity for May 13 will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Families can ride their bikes from their homes to Hillcrest Park. They will be treated to an ice cream social and a bike safety rodeo. Bike riders of all ages are encouraged to attend.

Information will be given regarding shared lanes of traffic and recreational trails. Safety tips and information about summer bike-riding events will also be given.

“Riding bike has always been about awareness. It extends to drivers of vehicles,” Oswald said. “They do have the right to be on the road and be safe. Vehicle drivers on the roads need to be aware of bikes.”

The Students’ Association created a plan with the city of Brookings and the university to have bike lanes both on campus and to campus. Those routes should be completed this summer, said Eric Hanson, a senior political science and business economics major and former SA vice president.

“Biking is a quick way to get across campus, especially the distance from Larson to Biostress,” said junior media production major Grady Lenort. “I think having a bike at college is definitely worth it. It’s very useful for getting across campus and exercise in general.”

“The weather was nice most of the year, so I would either walk or ride bike,” Hanson said. “If the weather wasn’t good, I would work it out with my roommates and we would carpool. I didn’t buy a parking pass this year.”

The U.S. could save 462 million gallons of gas a year, by increasing cycling from 1 percent to 1.5 percent of all their trips.

“We have definitely noticed an increase in bike sales since gas prices increased, specifically comfort range bikes and mountain bikes and also some of the cruiser bikes,” said Oswald. “We have had a major increase in kids’ bike sales. More families are riding together. More college students are also riding more recently, possibly because of higher gas prices.”

Lenort said he didn’t buy a parking pass this year because the price of passes increased, and it was not that important to have one.

“I started riding my bike to class and work this year. I ride bike to Wal-Mart occasionally if I need to pick up a couple of things. I also go on random bike rides for exercise,” said Lenort.

“We counted the number of bike spaces available and number of bikes there. We needed to double the amount of spaces on campus because you would see bikes chained to trees or light poles ? basically wherever there was room,” Hanson said. “I think biking at SDSU has increased because of gas prices and also just as an alternate form of transportation.”

Oswald said, “They want to purchase a quality bike because other bikes aren’t lasting long enough. You have to replace some every year. We offer free bike servicing for the first year, such as airing up tires.”

Sioux River Bicycles and Fitness offers workshops in the winter on how to take care of your bike. Their Web site,, has an events link regarding events that they are hosting or just in general about bicycling.

The League of American Bicyclists is a national program that sponsors National Bike Month and Bike-to-Work Day in May.

A lot of SDSU students will be out of town by the time this weeklong event takes place, but they are encouraged to ride bike wherever they may be during that week.