UCSD's biking commuters saluted

    By 6 a.m. on Friday, an eager group of volunteers from Rideshare Operations was ready to help, feed and champion the cause of the bicycle commuters of the UCSD community.

    “”It started out as more of an environmental issue,”” said Rideshare Operations Manager Linda Griffin. “”It’s come to be a thank you to the people who bike to work.””

    This “”thank you”” included free breakfast, raffle prizes, a number of T-shirts, a bike aid station and the musical entertainment of radio station 103.7 The Planet, a pit stop sponsor. Several people earned instant-win prizes within seconds of arriving at the pit stop.

    Traffic congestion is a problem in San Diego, said Tom Miller, the promotions coordinator for the San Diego radio station. “”So, anything we can do to help alleviate that, we’re happy to do.””

    The radio station was only one of several supporters of the pit stop, including but not limited to the UCSD Bike Shop, the Price Center Food Court and the UCSD Bookstore.

    The pit stop had a sizable turnout, but most of the participants were UCSD staff members or employees of other facilities close to or affiliated with the UCSD campus.

    There are a number of students who bike to UCSD, according to Griffin. However, the pit stop was only available from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., and many students do not have classes that early in the day.

    Reasons for riding bikes to campus varied, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a major motivator, some bicyclists said.

    “”At my age, you got to do something to keep healthy,”” said Steve Cervantes, treasury manager of nearby business ViaStat.

    Overall, commuters say, riding their bikes seems to lengthen the morning travel time.

    “”It’s longer but only by 15 or 20 minutes,”” said bicyclist Jan Coury. “”I have more energy, I’m more alert, and in a better mood. It puts work into perspective.””

    The biking commute also cuts down on stress, Coury said.

    Both staff and students cited environmental issues as a strong motivating factor. Students in attendance also cited the high cost and inconvenience of parking on campus as reasons for biking.

    “”It’s way more convenient [than driving],”” UCSD senior Rachel Agress said. “”I save money on parking. It’s also faster.””

    Living approximately two miles from campus, Agress said that riding to school takes less time than if she drove because she would have to park and then ride the shuttle.

    The UCSD function coincided with the San Diego area Bike to Work Day, as well as the statewide California Bike Commute week. This UCSD pit stop was not directly affiliated. Yet, it was part of the larger cause, Griffin said.

    “”We really want [the students] to come on their bikes more often,”” said Sandy McCormick, the Rideshare Operations senior clerk and an organizer of the UCSD event.

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