UT was ranked number one in Best College Values’ list of bike-friendly university campuses in the U.S.
The University eked out a narrow victory over Stanford University, with 40 miles of bike paths that weave through the 40 Acres credited as a deciding factor. Best College Values assigned points based on each university’s bike clubs, classes, challenges, as well as the total miles of bike path and how well the paths are integrated into the campus at large. The amenities listed in the decision include Orange Bike Project, fix-it stations, bike pumps available around campus and UT’s bike hub, the Kickstand.
Bicycle specialist Jeremy Hernandez, who works in UT’s Parking and Transportation Services Department, expressed skepticism at the website’s decision.
“Yes, we are doing a good job, but I think we have a long way to go,” Hernandez said, citing the University’s need for bicycle registration.
Hernandez said some areas he hopes to improve include “more fix-it stations, more reliable pumps, more bike lanes and more bike storage units.”
Hernandez said he believes cycling is beneficial to student health and overall well-being.
“Bikes are a great way to travel on campus, not to mention a cheap way,” Hernandez said. “Biking is definitely a part of UT culture.”
Hernandez also spoke about Orange Bike Project, located inside 27th Street Garage. Manned by volunteers and student workers, the project helps students fix their own bikes or rent bikes for up to a semester.
“In terms of people renting bikes, last semester, I think (we had) around 60 or 70,” said electrical engineering junior Evan Davies, one of the project’s paid student workers.
Part of the project’s funding comes from the University’s Parking and Transportation Services, but the rest is from things they sell and rentals, which is their biggest source of income, Davies said.
UT Cycling, the University’s cycling team, also contributes to UT’s first place in ranking, according to the list. Texas Cycling member Max Bernhardt, a government junior, said there are 75 members in the organization. Bernhardt said he hopes to see at least 25 members competing in the upcoming season.
Although Bernhardt remains critical of UT’s bicycle infrastructure, he credits the club with launching his racing career.
“Texas Cycling is an excellent community of cyclists from all walks of life who share a common goal of bettering themselves and having a good time by riding a bike,” Bernhardt said.