Campus News

Get On Your Bikes and Ride!

October 19, 2016

Communications Staff

Bikes outside Peters hall
Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko

On Tuesday, October 25, the college is holding a Bike to Work day to encourage faculty and staff to reduce their carbon footprint.

Bike to Work Day is a project organized by students in the Community Based Social Marketing Research Lab, which is a collaboration between the Office of Sustainability and Professor of Psychology Cindy Frantz.

Frantz says the motivation is to help the college reach its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. Toward that end, Frantz and her students are using Community Based Social Marketing to change sustainability behaviors.

“Our previous research indicates that people who could bike to work—those who live within a mile or two of campus—don’t do it because they cite time as a major barrier. We suspected that people overestimated the time advantage of driving a car, so we timed several people both biking and driving. For me, it actually takes longer to drive because of where I park. So the goal is to help people realize they do have time to bike, and might even save time.”

For example, it takes Professor of Mathematics Jeff Witmer five minutes to drive but four minutes to bike to work. Frantz found that it takes her nine minutes to drive and six minutes to bike, especially with finding a parking spot.

Witmer says he has been riding his bike to work for 30 years. When there’s snow on the ground, he walks. “I benefit from the exercise and the extra time to think. Plus, I don’t have to look for a parking space,” he says.

Although Oberlin has a thriving bike culture, Frantz says her survey research shows room for improvement for faculty and staff. In addition to the obvious benefit of not using fuel and producing carbon emissions, Frantz wants to remind faculty and staff that there are other great reasons to ride a bike: your health, getting around campus more quickly and conveniently, and being more connected to the community.

For those who don’t reside in Oberlin, “it would be great to have a bike on campus,” she says. “It really is a time-saver compared with walking or driving.”

On October 25, send a photo of your ride to to receive a prize and recognition.

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