By Nathan Dorfman / Staff Writer
About 100 students, faculty, staff and community members traveled via bicycle to George Mason University in celebration of Bike to Mason Day on Thursday.
Participants biked to Mason for numerous reasons.
“It’s a great stress relief,” said Nancy Bagwell of Arlington. “I’ve been on a bike since I was 6 and I’ve never stopped riding. My 68th birthday is coming up next month.”
For others, money played into their decision.
“Gas is almost $4 a gallon, but it didn’t cost me anything to get here today,” said Rick Holt, a human resources trainer at Mason and member of the Mason Bike Advocate Council. “I get my workout right there in two hours and have more energy.”
By biking, you save money and help the environment at the same time, Holt said.
“I support the campus efforts for this,” said Bethany Usher, associate director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Mason. “We biked on a multi-use path from Burke Centre.”
The Washington region hosted a Bike to Work Day for a long time, but it always fell on Mason’s commencement weekend, said Josh Cantor, director of Mason Parking and Transportation. For this reason, Mason started its own Bike to Mason Day in 2007.
The League of American Bicyclists has named Mason a bicycle-friendly university. Mason earned this status through five E’s: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation, Holt said.
Cantor said he seeks to make biking a more accessible means of commuting to Mason, by adding bike lanes, racks and shelters around campus.
Students interested in biking can get involved with the on-campus Bike Village program, which repairs bicycles and provides bicycles at a reasonable price.
“I hardly ever bike on the road with cars,” said Bagwell, who primarily cycles on trails and sidewalks. “There are plenty of trails around here.”
Commuters can also use a multi-modal approach by biking part of the way and then taking a shuttle or the Metro.
A lot of people think they cannot bike to campus, but doing it once a week, or even once a month, is more reasonable and more impactful than people realize, Cantor said.
“It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition,” Cantor said.
The transportation office is also looking for a bike intern, Cantor said.
Faculty and staff interested in biking can join the Bicycle Commuter Benefit Program. Members of the program can earn two free parking passes from the transportation office and a $20 voucher for use at local bike shops.
The Bicycle Commuter Benefit Program may be available to students in the future.
“Biking is a continual effort and part of a larger transportation program,” Cantor said.
The transportation program at Mason, which also incorporates shuttles, carpooling and walking, discourages driving alone.
“We’re always open to feedback,” Cantor said.
For more information, you can visit transportation.gmu.edu