UT Bike Day celebrates cycists who choose alternative transportation


Amy Zhang

Rhetoric and writing senior Victor Harris, director of the Orange Bike Project, inspects a student’s bike at the Bike to UT event Wednesday afternoon. Bike to UT was organized to promote cycling on campus and to commemorate Bike Month.

Matthew Hart

Students and staff celebrated biking and sustainability with quick repairs and bicycle-generated smoothies at this year’s Bike to UT Day.

Parking and Transportation Services organized the event for Bike Month on Wednesday afternoon at Gregory Plaza in order to promote cycling on campus.

Various campus organizations including Orange Bike Project, The Campus Environmental Center and RecSports lined the plaza for the cause.

Blanca Juarez, the alternative transportation manager, said UT parking and transportation services puts on the event every year to celebrate cyclists’ choice of alternative transportation.

“In the past we’ve done a free breakfast and a raffle, and this year we tried to do a little bit more,” Juarez said. “We have t-shirts and tote bags which we think are really important, especially since the law just got passed here in the city replacing plastic bags with recyclable ones. So it gives students and staff members something extra that reminds them of Bike to UT Day.”

Juarez said the Green Fee Committee provided the money for the additional expenditures which allowed them to give away free t-shirts and food as well as what the additional organizations had to offer. She said the event has been going on for five years.

Mechanical engineering junior Javier Laredo said The Campus Environmental Center brought back the Earth Day smoothie maker for bikers interested in making their own smoothie.

“The idea is that you power your own smoothie so the power that you generate on the bike goes to a battery, this charges into the blender and that’s the energy you put into making a smoothie,” Laredo said. “And then you enjoy your smoothie at the end.”

Victor Harris, manager of Orange Bike Project, said he fixed more than 20 bikes throughout the day.

“We are a student organization that runs a community bike shop,” Harris said. It’s basically a workshop where you come and use our tools to work on your own bike. You can bring in parts to build a bike, and we also rent out bicycles on a semester long basis. If you need a bike for a semester you can come on in and put your stuff on the waitlist.”

Biology Senior Michael Nguyen said the bike shop has volunteer opportunities where people can come and learn about repairs.

“We do encourage everyone who has a bike to learn how to fix their own bikes, Nguyen said. “At least the basic repairs.”

UTeach institute site coordinator Mike Degraff said he brought his bike to the plaza, and Harris taught him how to properly shift to avoid breakdowns.

“There were some shifting issues on my bike, but it turns out I caused them,” Degraff said. “They did a great job of fixing it up.”