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SMU Cycling club works for a more cycling, environmentally friendly campus
John Coleman, Associate News Editor, email@example.com
Issue date: 9/26/08 Section:
The SMU cycling club is lobbying to make SMU and the greater Dallas community a more cyclist- friendly environment. Promoting more cyclists, they hope to ease parking conditions and the air quality in Dallas.The club began two years ago when Scot Montague, staff advisor and part founding member, was cycling in a race and saw multiple purple TCU biking jerseys and wondered why SMU did not have a club.When Montague inquired around campus he discovered that there were a number of cyclists on campus that weren't organized. Montague helped to organize the various student and faculty cyclers and even designed a jersey for the SMU team.The group consists of many different kinds of riders, some purely environmentally conscious, some preferring it to paying high fuel prices, and some loving the competitive nature of the sport, but with one common bond- a love for cycling."There are all different kinds of riders but we all come together on rides to enjoy the sport of cycling, regardless of motivation," Montague said. "It is just great to get with people that share your common passion for cycling."The faculty and staff on the team enjoy working with the students as it is a great opportunity for them to be an influence in the young riders lives."It is a great way to mentor the students," said Rob Walker, manager of the Norwick center for Media Services and cycling team member. "Even though they are often in front of us, it's hard to mentor from behind, but it really is a great opportunity to help the students."The club often gets together for Wednesday evening rides, and again on Sundays for various different ride-alongs. The club does however have competitive riders that compete on the national level. Samuel Weyand has been competing nationally by himself representing SMU at his own expense at the USA cycling National collegiate track championship and narrowly missed moving on to the next level due to scoring calculations. The hope is that fellow competitive cycler, freshman Jeff Klein, along with two other females can take a pursuit team to nationals. Pursuit cycling is the Olympic event that takes place on a circular track where the team members compete against another racer and the clock.
One of the goals of the club is to make the campus more cyclist-friendly by encouraging more students and faculty members to don the spandex in the morning rather than picking up the car keys.Greg Pulte, a BBA academic advisor and club member, rides to school every day but does not feel safe locking up his bike around campus."Ideally we could have more available bike lockers rather than racks to lock up our bikes," Pulte said. "It is so easy to steal a bike from these racks and without a safe place to store your bike, no one is going to ride to campus."Another grievance for Pulte is that biking to campus works up a sweat, and Pulte has to walk all the way to the Dedman center to shower, and pay for a membership fee to accomplish this. He feels that if showers were more readily available in buildings throughout campus, many more individuals would cycle to SMU."We would really like to encourage cycling to SMU for many reasons- it would alleviate some of the parking pressure as well as be good for the environment and air quality here in Dallas," Montague said. "As well as good for everyone' health on top of that."Walker attributed the hurdles in their way to the usual issue: money.To tackle this issue the cycling club has teamed up with the Campus Sustainability Committee whose focus is to streamline environmental moves on campus.Committee member Tiana Lightfoot said that their main focus is to target the SMU green buildings that are coming up for recertification. Every three years, green certified buildings, like SMU's Embry building, must re-meet certifications and one possibility is encouraging cycling for people that use the building. Lightfoot said teaming up with the cycling club was perfect for their effort as the club is already encouraging students and faculty to cycle rather than drive to campus.The club is exploring alternate incentive forms, such as putting the $26 a month that faculty pay for parking towards bike lockers. The cyclers that don't use the parking permit would be able to donate to the locker funds, Pulte said.Walker said that turning SMU into a cyclist-friendly campus is an ongoing process, but to anyone who decides to take up cycling, it is something that can be enjoyed for an entire lifetime."Cycling is a lifetime sport, it is something you can do as a boy and as an adult and share it with your dad if you wish the whole time," Walker said. "You can race in your 20s, 30s and now I am discovering in your 40s as well. It's really something you can enjoy almost forever."