Friday, November 24

UCLA’s Bike-to-Campus Week aims to educate about environmental and health benefits of cycling


Alexa Smahl

Liz Bernier rides a classic, steel, bright green road bike.

On most days, she makes her six-mile trek to campus from just west of Culver City on this bike, commuting 12 miles a day. Sometimes, when she has more materials in tow, she uses a newer white bike with a small trailer hitched to the back.

Bernier earned her living as a bicycle mechanic in Los Angeles for five years before coming to UCLA in October, taking a job as the outdoor adventure coordinator of the John Wooden Center’s Community Bike Shop and Rental Center.

With her mechanical expertise, she will be supervising free-tune ups in Bruin Plaza this week as part of UCLA’s Bike-to-Campus Week.

The event, which will take place from Monday to Wednesday, is aimed at promoting cycling as a sustainable, healthy alternative to driving. It is organized by the Undergraduate Students Association Council in partnership with UCLA Recreation, UCLA Transportation and the UCLA Bike Coalition.

The three-day campaign is designed to educate students about the environmental and health benefits of biking to campus, which can relieve students who are tired of walking and taking public transportation, said Dan Chikanov, USAC general representative and a third-year psychobiology student.

“For me, I don’t know if I could live in the big city … without getting around on my bike,” Bernier said. “It makes (the city) a lot more livable…(but) I know a lot of the people at UCLA live an hour or two away by car, so it’s certainly not for everyone.”

Chikanov said he hopes the event will inform students about bicycle resources on campus, like the Wooden Center’s Community Bike Shop.

Throughout the week, the Community Bike Shop will set up a repair stand in Bruin Plaza from 8 to 11:30 a.m. where bicycle mechanics will offer free tune-ups to cyclists, Bernier said.

“Being in the bike shop hidden behind the Wooden Center we only get just a little taste of all the bike people at UCLA, so it’s nice when you have a week to celebrate it,” said Nick Venturino, a fourth-year electrical engineering student who works in the Community Bike Shop and has participated in the last two Bike-to-Campus events.

Bernier said students and faculty can utilize the Community Bike Shop’s tools to fix their bikes or use repair services offered by a team of five mechanics. Bicycle maintenance and safety classes are available at the shop as well as daily, weekly and quarterly bike rentals.

Bike Week is a short-term project that contributes toward broader policy goals, Chikanov said ““ USAC’s long-term goal is to implement bike lanes on campus by proposing a bike resolution to the Los Angeles City Council. The resolution would ask to extend the council’s Los Angeles Bicycle Master Plan, which would create 816 miles of bike lanes in 20 years, to UCLA.

The project is supported by on-campus groups including USAC, the Graduate Students Association, UCLA Bike Coalition, UCLA Transportation, the School of Public Health and UCLA Sustainability.

By February, the bike resolution will be presented to Chancellor Gene Block for his support in bringing the proposal to the city council, Chikanov said.

“It’s just exciting to see all kinds of different groups trying to promote cycling and especially cycling for transportation because I think a lot of people are ripe for it,” Bernier said.

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