Colorado State University soon to be Cycling State University?

This very moment, my car is sitting in my driveway, gathering bird poop, elm sap and a fine layer of dirt. It makes a really awful noise when I put it into reverse, and the headlights are out. But this is no problem for me because I have a bike, and I live in Fort Collins.

Since retiring from the highly competitive pizza delivery industry, I hardly ever use my car. My preferred method of transportation is my bike, but with regular use it sometimes needs maintenance. If only I could take some sort of class that could teach me about bicycle repair…

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Since CSU is always claiming to be the “Green University”, I think there is no excuse not to have a bike education class. The biking industry has exploded in the past couple of years along with the green energy movement. If this school is supposed to prepare us for the future then we should capitalize on this growing industry by educating our students about it.

Compared to my hometown, Fort Collins is just stewing in bike culture. There are bikers everywhere. You see everything from schoolchildren to fully suited businessmen, and we cannot forget the ever-present hipsters on their vintage frame fixed-gears. Because this town is flat as a pancake and there are a multitude of bike lanes, you can get anywhere on two wheels. However, if your bike breaks and you don’t know how to fix it, well, it means you’re paying for it. And that sucks.

For example, just the other day I noticed that a few spokes on my bike were broken and they had started to rub against my front brake. I took my bike into a shop knowing that a spoke only costs a dollar to buy, but I had no clue how to replace it. Two hours later I had been charged thirty dollars for a simple repair, and once again, the bike shop had robbed me.

I think the bike shop is expensive, but I won’t even begin to talk about the cost of repairing cars.

Bikes are extraordinarily simpler and cheaper than cars. They have much fewer moving parts, and repairing a bike would be easier and more cost-efficient than repairing a car. I think it would be totally possible to teach students the basics of bicycle maintenance and repair in the time frame of one semester. If I could repair my own bike I could save a lot of money. Parts are cheap; it’s the labor that is expensive. Plus, spending less cash on bike repairs translates into extra beer money, which is extremely important.

Not only could a bike class inadvertently give us more money to get drunk with, it could also teach us bike safety. But I’m not talking about wearing helmets and lights at night. This class could show us how to avoid collisions in high traffic areas such as campus and old town. Since most people own both a bike and a car, the class could teach us how to be more aware on the road as drivers, and how to protect ourselves as bikers.

In my opinion, a class that teaches students about bike maintenance is far more practical than a scuba-diving course or a one-credit basketball class. Cycling will only become more practical and popular in the future as we try to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels, and this will cause the prices of bikes and bike repairs to increase. An institution of higher learning should be preparing us for the future, and I see the future of transportation involving much more cycling.

Having a class on bicycle education would also be practical, and I bet that it would be extremely popular among students. Tour de Fat last weekend was an amazing testament to the amount of love this town has for bikes. My friend also tells me that the University of South Florida has a class on bicycles, so why not here where bike culture thrives?

A bicycle class would not only help students save money, it would contribute to the image of CSU as an environmentally sound institution. I don’t know of any other universities in Colorado that offer a class specifically geared toward cycling, but I think us Rams need to lead the charge. Instead of parking at the bike racks we should be pedaling into the classroom and beyond.

Quinn Scahill is a senior English major. His columns appear Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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