I wrote about alternative student transportation methods just a few weeks ago, but the bright sunshine beginning to warm our cheeks has inspired me write why students should break out their bikes this spring. In terms of creating sustainable habits for yourself, using a bike to travel across campus and throughout our community is a great choice. Biking is both a healthy option and a fast one, too.

Biking usually allows people to travel longer distances in a shorter amount of time, compared to walking. Choosing to bike to class this spring might just mean being able to sleep an extra ten minutes every morning. According to www.exploratorium.edu, riding your bike can be up to five times more efficient than walking. It takes less energy to ride a bike for a mile than it does to walk a mile, and 100 calories can fuel a cyclist for three miles.

If you do not own a bike or do not have one on campus, that is okay.Through Concordia’s program, COBBIKES Bike Share, you can rent out a bike from the circulation desk in the library. This initiative started in 2014 when 12 bicycles were purchased by the Student Government Association, Ylvisaker Library, and a former sustainability coordinator. Facilities Management built a bike shelter for the bikes, located just outside of Knutson Campus Center. This shelter houses the bikes during the warmer months and also has a station for minor bike repairs. The school has since purchased four more bikes, and though Ylvisaker does not have an exact date at which they bring the bikes out of storage for students, they noted that they usually do so when the snow on campus has melted.

To rent a COBBIKE, just go to the circulation desk at the library. There, a librarian will have you sign a liability waiver and help you choose a bike. You will be given a key to unlock the bike and you will have access to the bike for four hours. Once your four hours are up, you can return the bike back to the bike shelter and bring the key in to the library.

This program promotes not only an active and healthy means of transportation for students, but also an option that is free of carbon emissions. Cars are fueled by fossil fuels. We know that fossil fuels are a finite resource and when burned, create lasting impacts on the Earth. Humans are fueled by food, which is a renewable energy source. You do not have to replace every errand or trek with  a bicycle. If you swap out your trip in the car for a trip on a bicycle just a few times a week, you are helping contribute to a healthier earth.

If you have your own bike on campus, Concordia has a a few bike racks that you can utilize. If you do choose to lock up your bike on campus, do not forget to apply for a bike permit through facilities. Last year, Concordia was recognized by the League of American Bicyclists with a bronze Bicycle Friendly University award. This is in part because of our COBBIKES program, but also honors Concordia’s commitment to making bike racks an accessible commodity on campus for students. As we start to walk on the dry sidewalks and see grass turn from brown to green, do not hesitate to hop on a bike and enjoy some eco-friendly excursions on or around campus.