With gyms being closed during this time, many are turning to outdoor activities for exercise. As a result, biking has become attractive as both a form of exercise and transportation. The League of American Bicyclists is now celebrating National Bike Month, with a shifted focus to biking “there,” whether “there” is a trip to the grocery store, an outing to explore the outdoors with kids, or a commute to an essential job. The University offers resources for cyclists and encourages biking for its health and environmental benefits, while maintaining social distancing.
The University holds a silver ranking as a Bicycle Friendly University for promoting and enabling safe, accessible bicycling on campus. U-Commute is the University’s campaign to promote transportation alternatives that assists in reducing commuting costs for employees and campus congestion while promoting sustainability. As part of U-Commute, the Department of Transportation and Parking Management’s new RideAmigos app helps to organize various travel options and provide incentives to encourage the University community to opt for eco-friendly modes of transportation. RideAmigos connects the community and encourages biking, walking, carpooling, bike pooling, and ride-sharing. Users can earn points and rewards for using RideAmigos to set up carpools and bike pools. University employees who already use biking or walking as their commute options are also eligible for free passes from the Occasional Parking Program. Sign up for RideAmigos to receive notifications as additional rewards, perks, and programs become available in the future.
Additionally, the Department of Transportation and Parking Management’s Bike Right program offers safety classes for biking instruction, street safety, and basic maintenance. While classes are postponed until further notice, the program is offering options to learn about biking from home. Virtual biking classes are coming soon to this site.
While exploring the Rochester area on your bike during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to follow safety protocols. Bicycling.com and Bicycle Guider offer some tips on riding safely during the coronavirus pandemic. To assist in getting you out there on your bike, the City of Rochester offers a detailed trail and biking map. Conveniently there are three trails located near the University: the Genesee Riverway Trail, Erie Canal Trail, and Lehigh Valley Trail.
Need a reminder on why riding a bike is good for you and the planet? Cardiovascular activity has health benefits, such as reduced blood pressure, cholesterol, and risk for diabetes and heart disease. There are also mental health benefits associated with physical activity, including decreased anxiety and depression. Reducing the emissions, gasoline consumption, and pollution associated with vehicle transportation are all positive things for the environment.
For more on this topic see the May Compost, the Green Reps monthly newsletter.