Cycling Through the Winter Blues
“Baby, it’s cold outside!” When it comes time to prepare for biking in the cold winter months, our Bicycle Friendly Universities, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and The University of Vermont (UVM) know how to encourage their students, faculty, and staff to safely brave the cold!
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA (Silver)
“If people only ride when it is nice, they would barely be riding,” says Karen Brooks, Bike Consultant at CMU. The weather in Pittsburgh leaves a lot of students, especially the ones from warmer climates abroad wondering how they can prepare for riding in cold weather. CMU hosts a “Winter Riding Tips Seminar” to provide interested students strategies on how to dress so they do not get too cold or warm when biking, prepare their bikes, and what weather is too bad to ride in. Karen and a few CMU graduate students demonstrate proper winter bike prep using their own supplies and gladly answer questions during the hour long seminar. The popular event increases the amount of students using bikes in the winter, furthuring the university’s goal to empower people to make choices for themselves.
If your school is interested in hosting an event similar to this, Karen recommends putting together a panel of experienced bicyclists to provide different perspectives to the group. She also suggests focusing the seminar on how students can prep their bikes without needing to spend a lot of money. For instance, fenders can be made out of recycled pop bottles.
University of Vermont, Burlington, VT (Gold)
Vermont’s cold and snowy winters can be a deterrent for those wishing to bike to work. The Bike Education Center at the University of Vermont hosts a “Winter Bike to Work Day” for faculty and staff to encourage biking on campus at all times of the year. Abby Bleything, Sustainable Transportation Coordinator at UVM says, “The event is a great opportunity to recognize our winter riders, as well as expose them to the talented students that run our on-campus Bike Education Co-op!” The “winter warriors” are offered coffee, bagels, and swag bags while they learn about the Bike Education Center’s work to promote active transportation on campus.
In the cold winter months don’t let the cold put a freeze on your campus efforts to promote cycling, there are creative ways to engage students, faculty, and staff to continue cycling through the winter. The next BFU application deadline is August 22, 2019. Learn more about the Bicycle Friendly University program at https://bikeleague.org/university.