You bike with U-bike

University of Calgary stud-ents can get around campus much easier with the introduction of the U-Bike program this week.

The program was created as part of the U of C’s sustainability initiative and allows students to freely take designated bikes from racks and ride them around the university. Once finished, the bikes are returned to the nearest rack so the next student can use them.

“It covers the main campus, from student housing over to biological sciences and the C-train station,” explained U of C Environ- mental Management Coordinator Hans Luu. “We have 10 bikes for this kick-off, hopefully by the spring we’ll have double that.”

Luu hopes the program will encourage students to think about sustainability as well as promote physical activity, a sentiment shared by Campus Infrastructure Operations Manager General Services Kelly Hutton.

“There was an opportunity that presented itself with bicycles being destroyed and collected to be sent off to the police,” said Hutton. “We’re always looking at ideas that might help people and [enhance] the overall health and wellness of students and staff.”

The 10 bikes, originally abandoned on campus and left to rust in compounds, have been painted a bright red and gold colour scheme, had baskets attached and converted to single speed.

“The program will run for probably only about two or three weeks this fall until it gets cold and starts to snow,” said Hutton. “We’ll then put them away and build more as the winter season goes along.”

The idea may be new at the U of C but the concept has been around for some time and has been successful elsewhere, according to Bike Selection Program Student Representative Jacqui Thompson.

Thompson noted the University of British Columbia’s “Pink Bike” program was one of the major influences in the creation of the U-Bike program, and hopes similar success here will lead to improvements elsewhere, such as bike-racks on buses and better accessibility for bikers on campus.

“The idea is to get students used to using sustainable transportation methods like biking and getting used to seeing them on campus,” said Thompson.

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