October 13, 2016

Commuter biking undervalued on campus

As many days as possible John Dido, a Project 60 student, rides his bicycle to campus from his West Side neighborhood. He locks his bike near the Student Center and heads to class.

Cleveland State has 104 parking spots for bicycles, according to its website. Many more bike racks exist in the greater campus district for students and community members.

Since adoption of the Cleveland Bikeway Master Plan in 2007, Cleveland has made bike friendly infrastructure and initiatives a top priority when planning civic projects. The League of American Bicyclist ranks Cleveland among the nation’s top bike-friendly cities.

For students and residents like Dido, Cleveland’s bike friendly updates are a reflection of the dedication and passion of a close-knit biking community in the region.  John spends his time off-campus volunteering at Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op.

Cleveland State has robust resources to make biking convenient for those who commute to campus, yet when the weather is perfect for biking, most campus bike racks remain empty.

Jessica Wilkins, a junior business major, is one of those commuters. Wilkins has biked from Chagrin Falls to Wooster. She has participated in a handful of bike events. At her previous campus she rode her bike, but does not ride her bike to Cleveland State because it would take her three hours one way.  

Wilkins sees few bikers around campus and she believes they are commuter students living close to campus. She said, “It looks like because of the bikes they are using, they must live within 10 minutes [of campus].”

Students living on or commuting to campus can cycle without owning their own bike. Bike co-ops around Cleveland allow individuals to learn about cycling, and several downtown rent bikes hourly from a few different companies.

Biking downtown can offer a chance to see things you wouldn’t be able to view on foot or by car, according to Sergeant Ken Lewis of the Cleveland State University Police Department. Lewis is passionate about bicycling. He is a certified bike patrol officer with the State of Ohio and trains campus officers to use bikes on duty.

His enthusiasm has led him to take part in many community biking events-- from the campus neighborhood to a bike ride through New York’s five main neighborhoods. He said he would advise prospective riders to invest in two important pieces of equipment: spare inner tubes and a U-lock style lock.

After years of patrolling, Lewis said, he feels that the U-lock style lock is more secure than a cable lock. “When I see bikes locked up with real thin cables,” he said, “I think, they are just waiting to be stolen.”

He suggests students visit bikecleveland.org for proper ways to lock up a bike as well as bike laws and safety tips.


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