I grew up exploring my grandparents’ town Mobile, Alabama by going on endless bike rides. My grandfather always makes sure that each family member has a bike to ride whenever we are at his home. At age 76, my grandfather still cycles forty plus miles at times. My Uncle Scott has been an avid cyclist for many years. In 1996, my uncle was in a severe seaplane accident. His best friend and the pilot tragically died in the crash. My uncle was rushed to the hospital with only a 3% chance of survival because of all the major injuries he incurred. Miraculously he survived after many surgeries. Only thirteen months after the accident he completed a triathlon in Destin, Florida. He continues to do Ironman’s and cycling races today. The importance of biking has been prominent in my family which is one reason why I find biking so important.
As the Alternate Transportation fellow, fostering a community centered on biking is important for students to stay healthy, but is also very significant for building sustainability on campus. Offering alternate transportation options such as biking, carpooling, and public transportation helps Furman reach its carbon neutrality goal by 2026. Many Furman students bike on campus, but some cannot bring a bike to school. Paladins on Bikes was created to give students an opportunity to rent a bike for a semester. There are currently twenty bikes for students to rent. The program started in 2014, and provides students with a bike, helmet, and U-Lock for a standard fee. My main job is to run the program throughout the year. Promoting biking by offering group bike rides is one way to increase bike participation on campus. This Saturday there will be a bike ride to Travelers Rest for bike rental members and Furman students. This is a great way to stay out of the car, be active, and connect with people who enjoy riding.
Along with having bike rentals comes the need for maintenance. A Fixit bike repair stand has recently been installed in the Trone Student Center courtyard. There are various tools and an air pump for students, faculty, and community members to use. In addition, a bike cover was installed in October in front of Lakeside housing. These have been exciting additions to Furman’s campus. I was put in contact with Village Wrench which is a non-profit organization focusing on bike repairs for the Greenville community. They host events to build leadership and repair skills among those who heavily rely on bikes as their main transportation. Connecting Heller Service Corps with Village Wrench will allow students to serve the Greenville community, as well as provide bike maintenance sessions on campus. Lastly, Paladins on Bikes partners with Sunshine Cycle Shop for standard and major repairs on the bike rentals. They have been great to work alongside to maintain the rental program. Enjoy the sunshine this weekend by riding your bike. As my Uncle would say: it’s a “Great day to be alive!”