CSU tops the list of bike friendly universities

Bikes parked on campus

Dave Turney logs around 20 miles a day on his electric bike, commuting between his home in north Loveland and classes at Colorado State University. The senior business major appreciates saving money by not paying for a campus parking permit, and he said he believes it is easier to get around campus and town on his e-bike than it is with a car.

Masey Michael only has a couple of miles to ride to campus each morning from her home in west Fort Collins, and she enjoys hopping on her bike and peddling to and from school. “I’ve biked for a year-and-a-half and I like it,” the second-year civil engineering student said. “I think it’s faster and CSU does a great job of keeping the bike trails clean, even when it snows in the winter.”

Cost, exercise, excellent infrastructure, environmental consciousness, university support, simplicity and fun are all reasons CSU bicycle commuters cite for why they use two-wheeled mobility. They are also the reasons the League of American Bicyclists has again named CSU a Platinum Bicycle Friendly University – one of only eight U.S. universities to receive the highest designation. The award recognizes the best campuses that offer well-connected infrastructure, bike maintenance and storage options, theft prevention programs, biking skills classes and social biking events, and the staffing to support better biking.

“The Bike Friendly University Platinum designation is a validation of our grassroots approach to sustainability. Literally, every student, employee, and visitor has a role in making CSU more bicycle friendly,” said Aaron Fodge, manager of CSU Alternative Transportation. “Bicycles keep Fort Collins affordable. Bicycle commuting can shift transportation expenses from driving a vehicle to paying rent or a mortgage. We strive to remove barriers to bicycling with world-class trails, bicycle parking, targeted education, and a commitment to enforcement.”

Support on campus

Saving money in vehicle maintenance and parking by riding an e-bicycle is a main driver in Turney’s commitment to commuting to campus on two wheels, and he is impressed by the repair services and enforcement support on campus.

“The cost of parking was not affordable for me, so I turned my mountain bike into an electric bike. The bike access versus car access is why I became an e-bike commuter,” he said.

CSU earned its first Bicycle Friendly University rating from the League of American Bicyclists in 2011 (silver) through partnership with the Campus Bicycle Advisory Committee, part of the CSU Police Department, and has steadily climbed the rating ranks as the university has become a model for bicycle advocacy and accessibility. The university’s first platinum designation came in May 2013.

The national recognition is no surprise to Marty Welsch, director of human resources in the office of the vice president for Research, who has commuted to and from work by bike for nearly 19 years. She’s seen the popularity of bike commuting grow and the CSU commitment to safety, enforcement and trail access improve through the years.

“Most days, the weather is good enough to ride comfortably, and riding home is definitely the best part of the day because it’s a relaxing break between work and home,” she said. “CSU is definitely a bike-friendly campus and most campus drivers are respectful and courteous to bikers. Get on your bike…you’ll be glad you did!”

For more information on biking at CSU, visit bicycle.colostate.edu.