Bringing Biking Presence Back to Campus

April 23, 2014

By Kristie Weiss


The UW-Whitewater Cycling Club celebrated Earth Day, on April 22 with an event meant to bring old bikes back to life; providing the maintenance that they needed to get students riding again after the long winter.

The Cycling Club has been around since the early 1990s and is one of the oldest clubs on campus.  Richard Guidry, the club’s president, created this event as a way to eliminate excuses for people to not ride a bike.  Guidry also works for a shop in Dousman called Bicycle Doctor, who works closely with the bike shops here in Whitewater.

“Initially we just want to see a bigger biking emphasis on campus.  We figured that this was a great way to raise awareness, get people back on their bikes and riding,” Guidry said.

Guidry said the biggest reason to raise awareness is the city of Whitewater has recently amended a 20-year plan that includes turning Main Street from their current two lanes into a single lane of traffic.  There will be a center turn lane and one lane of traffic going each way to provide space for bike lanes.

The visitor-parking center across from Hyland Hall also will be moved next to Laurentide for more dorms to be created. This leaves less room for parking. The club wants to start bringing awareness to campus now so that bike infrastructures may be a possibility in the future.

“This makes a need for a biking presence on campus for a different mode of transportation and I think this is a great way to start transitioning to that by raising that awareness and getting people riding bikes again,” Guidry said.

For Earth Day, the club applied for a grant through the Whitewater Sustainability Club who funded the event and provided them with tools and insurance.  Simple maintenance, a bike checkup, new tubes and tire patches were offered.

Debby Piper, faculty of UW-Whitewater, had air put in the tires of her bike and the chain cleaned.  “I thought this was a great idea for Earth Day, and it’s a good time of the year of just getting that itch to get back on the bike,” Piper said.

They recycled old parts from the bikes brought in, such as tubes and other components people normally would throw away.  Tubes were patched or they were sent to a company through Trek where they are made into bicycle backpacks.

“I saw the ad and I didn’t ride at all last year, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to convince me to get it going again,” said Susan Nellezen, an assistant in LNS advising.

This event is promoted the first week of school through the First Year Experience classes and is run about a month after school starts.

“For right now it is for Whitewater students and staff but the hopes are that in the near future we will potentially have this opened up for the community,” Guidry said.

Guidry said they are hoping that in the future the university will put up a structured bike facility so students are able to use their bikes in the winter as well.

The UW-W Cycling Club pitched an idea to the university to hook tracking chips on bikes that give students and staff credit for riding to campus.  This incentive program would reward students with semester prizes and provide staff with the opportunity to get health insurance benefits.