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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

SEA Change: Get back on your bike

Published: February 5, 2010
Section: Opinions

Almost all of us can remember spending the afternoons of our youth riding around on bicycles after school. With training wheels spinning wildly, silly grins on our faces, and a gentle wind in our hair, we cherished those spring afternoons. It is an almost universal experience, appreciated around the world.

So what happened? Why in our adult life are bicycles no longer considered fun? With winter’s whirlwinds violently battering our frail ramen-nourished bodies, it is completely understandable to dismiss bicycles as an outdated and borderline masochistic means of travel. However, in the oncoming spring months, bicycles can be a convenient, healthy, and environmentally-friendly means of transportation.

Anyone who has spent time in Waltham knows that South St. and Main St. rush hour traffic can get pretty serious. Does it really make sense for us to contribute to the waiting and the pollution? Biking is one way in which we can act out against this fundamentally wrong institution of traffic, pollution, and waste.

Bike culture has been steadily gaining momentum in cities around the world, and it isn’t very difficult to see why. Critical Mass is a movement sweeping the world in which thousands of bikers take to the streets and show off their bike pride. Boston, New York, and San Francisco have huge contingencies of bikers.

Students for Environmental Action (SEA) supports bicycle culture. We have several events lined up, such as “Pimp your bike,” an event we are sure will allow for expressive, practical and very fun ways to customize your bicycle. We envision a campus full of unique bikes and safe riders.

Many have expressed reservations about bikes on our hilly campus, but never fear: SEA will soon be releasing bike-friendly trail maps through Waltham and alternatives to traffic-crammed streets. The pamphlet will be easy to read and navigate and will also include safety tips.

‘Deis-bikes will also play an integral role in allowing Brandeisians to see first hand how fun bikes can still be. Using this free service we can all check out bicycles for a day with just our Brandeis ID’s. The bikes are stationed outside of the Shapiro Campus Center and will re-open in the spring.

Money may not be a concern for all of us, but it sure is for most. Bikes, unlike their gas-guzzling alternative, have no operating cost. Our biking future is strong and with gas prices rising and with the troubled economy, we’re all looking for cost-effective ways to cut back. Biking also has great health benefits and is a great way to get your heart pumping!

So when the weather warms and the snow finally melts away consider bicycling to your destinations. Pop that gear into action and pedal on!