Spring is here and with it, bicycle season is open. It is time to start thinking about a bike, or going to get your old one from the bike rack, if you can remember where you parked it last September. However, when you get to the bike rack, there might be nothing left but the rusty remains of your trustworthy old bicycle. This is because all winter your bike has been left sheltered from the unfriendly elements (and lets face it, in this part of the country the elements can be really unfriendly) without a roof to protect it. While walking around campus this weekend I noticed a lot of bikes covered in snow, strongly locked to various bike racks around the campus, some of which were subject to minor flooding and in the same area where the snow plow pushes the snow.
This pains me as I am sure it does other dedicated cyclists. I am an avid biker. Not only do I use my bike as a great way to get in shape, it is actually my main form of transportation. I use it to go to class, to the gym, even to go get groceries. Riding a bike is fun and gives a new sense of perspective when visiting places that you would usually go in your car. Besides that, a lot of people are showing their personalities through fashion bikes, fixies, commuting bicycles and even executive models. For these reasons bike season is becoming increasingly popular. Bicycles are also environmentally friendly.
There is no such a thing as a long term parking area for bikes at UW-Superior. Not even a simple covered parking area for the rainy days. Bicycles are investments, they need proper maintenance, safety and shelter. In retribution, they pay you back with great exercise, good memories and amazing trips. The least we can do for our investment is to find a roof and keep it safe for the cold winter months. As stated by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, the perfect long term parking should at least have some weather protection, in the form of a roof. We don’t have any place like that around our campus, but we should try to obtain at least a covered area for the actual bike racks near the Dorm halls.
Professor Ray Reinertsen, HHP-102 Health and wellness course believes that having shelter for bikes would encourage people to ride more, “I would like to see more people riding bikes. Anything that gets people involved and moving is positive for UW-Superior.” Professor Reinertsen also hopes that maybe the city of Superior can work to motivate more people in to riding bikes. Giving better places for riding bikes near the school, adding speed bumps, stop signs and bike paths, will contribute to create a safer environment that motivates students to get their bikes and pedal around. He remembers a campaign, years ago, to get “public bicycles” for UW-Superior Students.
As well as Professor Reinertsen, other faculty members also agreed that getting better bicycle infrastructure could invite people to go outside and rides bikes.Without doubt bikes are a very good way to stay in shape, contribute to the environment and have fun. For this reason we should at least get a public area in our school where our bikes can be safe and protected from the weather.