A Golden Age for Bicycling

In many ways, we seem to be living in a golden age for bicycling in Los Angeles. Since the city’s visionary 2010 Bicycle Plan was adopted, dozens of miles of streets have received new, bicycle-friendly treatments. Bicycling culture across the city has blossomed in a similar way. Huge increases in ridership at bicycling events have been accompanied by considerable growth in the number of people commuting by bicycle. Strong support from city officials and the LAPD have helped make these notable gains possible. Another factor contributing to bicycling’s substantial and growing momentum is the increasing awareness of its benefits to our health and the health of our communities. Recent studies suggest that regular exercise is not only good for our cardiovascular health, but that it can also relieve stress and help us be happier. Fortunately for all of us with busy schedules, riding a bike to and from work, and/or running errands by bike on and around campus, can build workouts seamlessly into our daily routines.

Even in a city as committed as Los Angeles is to encouraging bicycling, UCLA continues to lead the way with its ongoing dedication to becoming as bike friendly as it can be. One of many examples of these efforts is the UCLA Bike Shop – an on-campus resource for the UCLA Community (students, faculty, and staff) made possible by a partnership between UCLA Cultural and Recreational Affairs and UCLA Events and Transportation. Our mission at the UCLA Bike Shop is mainly to support and encourage bicycling for transportation to, from, and on campus. To help UCLA’s bicycle commuters understand how to ride safely and responsibly on city streets, we have started offering Traffic-Skills Classes free of charge. The focus of these classes is on teaching people how to ride their bikes as they would drive a car. This approach is based on the League of American Bicyclists’ core ideal that bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles. Last May, we offered an all-day version of this class that included on-the-bike drills aimed at helping riders become more confident on their bikes. We also incorporated a group ride into the class to enable participants to practice on the streets what they learned in the classroom.

Acquiring the skills to fix one’s bike, and thereby reducing the likelihood of being stranded by mishaps like flat tires, is hugely empowering. Therefore, the UCLA Bike Shop has an extensive schedule of bike-repair classes offered free of charge to the UCLA Community. During most of each quarter, UCLA students, faculty, and staff are also welcome to use our workshop and tools to fix their own bikes free of charge. Upon request and as our work schedule permits, we gladly provide repair guidance ranging from the occasional tip to detailed instruction. Additionally, we perform fee-for-service repairs and offer parts, lights, locks, and helmets for sale to the UCLA Community. Thanks to generous funding from ASUCLA’s The Green Initiative Fund and the GSA’s Sustainable Resource Center, quarterly rentals from our Bruin-Bike Library are available to UCLA students. Also, members of the UCLA Community can rent bikes from us on a daily, weekend, or weekly basis. All of our bike rentals come with a helmet, front and rear lights, and a U-lock with a cable; as of recently, our daily, weekend, and weekly rentals even include optional panniers.

Liz Bernier
Bike Coordinator
UCLA Cultural and Recreational Affairs

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