Check out our write up in Mount Mercy

Mount Mercy earns honorable mention from League of American Bicyclists

In an effort to promote bicycling as a form of transportation and healthy living, Mount Mercy University has done a number of things to convert the campus to a bike-friendly space. These efforts have led Mount Mercy to receive an honorable mention in the Bicycle Friendly University category from the League of American Bicyclists, one of only two universities in Iowa to be recognized.

“We have worked in conjunction with Nikki Davidson, the president of Bike2Work Consultants in Cedar Rapids, on a couple of events such as the Mayor’s Bike Ride, Meet Me at the Market weekly rides, and other events that encourage individuals to bike,” said Brenda Steinke, director of recreation and wellness. “As a result of our interaction with Nikki, she suggested that we apply for the League of American Bicyclists Bike Friendly University Award.”

According to the League of American Bicyclists, Iowa ranks number 25 in bicycle-friendly states and Cedar Rapids was named one of six bicycle-friendly communities in the state.
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Mount Mercy’s Student Activities and Recreation and Wellness Programs have been working to make the university a more bike friendly university in a variety of ways. The two groups have worked together with the sustainability grant program to purchase a bike rack, host bike safety information events, and assist with funding the annual Bike to Work Week and the Bike to Lunch program.

Currently, Mount Mercy has two bikes available for check out at the Sisters of Mercy University Center, along with helmets and locks. The university plans to expand the number of bikes available for check out so it can offer group bike rides and increase participation in the weekly Meet Me at the Market events and other bicycling events.

“The city of Cedar Rapids is making strides to become a bicycle friendly community by expanding local trails and designating bike lanes throughout the city,” Steinke said. “Our goal is to encourage students and employees to consider bicycling as a form of transportation when possible.”

Electric Bikes? Yay or Nay?

I was excited about trying out an electric bike at my local bike shop. (Northtowne Cycling and Fitness) Grabbing my bike to pedal there…ugh…flat as a pancake tire. Ok, I had been on a ride earlier in the week, so I pumped it up and took off. But had to turn around less than a mile away. Flat again. So, loaded the bike in the car and drove to the shop, hoping they could fix my tire while I test rode the electric bike.

I like the exercise of a bike, but sometimes the reason I DON’T ride is because I schedule my activities too closely together. This keeps me from being able to ride at times.

I was able to test drive several styles and models of electric bikes. I must admit….I loved it. I could see so many possibilities! First and foremost, my husband has a chronic disease that keeps him from riding with me since I tend to ride long distances recreation-ally. This electric bike would allow him to ride with me while I ride my road bike. And if I ride my commuter bike, he could just give a jolt of push when needed.
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This electric bike could also help me as I schedule my meetings and events. I could arrive not sweaty (what am I saying? of course I don’t sweat!) and fresh enough to give a presentation.

I also like that I can pedal when the electric portion is engaged. It is still giving me some exercise. The bike is heavier, but I’m ok with that as a transportation choice. That still gives me a leg work out. I ride my mountain bike when I’m looking for a little extra exercise, so the electric bike could be an option there too.

I do see that there is an issue on trails if a bike goes speeding past walkers or other cyclists. It is the responsibility of the rider to be considerate of trail users and call out or better yet SLOW DOWN when on trails. On the flip side, it will allow someone who is lives farther from their work to be able to ride on the roads (still side roads, not highways!) and then have a longer ride in the evening when they may not be as rushed.

The electric bike is a good option to consider. Check one out at your local bike shop!