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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Campus biking initiative not riding along smoothly

Wolf Ride stations can be found in three different locations on campus. (JESUS PICHARDO / THE STATESMAN)

In an effort to go green and fight carbon emissions, Stony Brook University launched SBU Wolf Ride in April of this year. This promotion of health, sustainability and eco-friendliness parallels projects like Citi Bike in New York City and joins other national movements promoting a healthier lifestyle. The message is clear and positive, but the scope, effectiveness and utilization of the program are impotent.

The most evident drawback to the entire SBU Wolf Ride project is the scope of the project and placement of the bike stations.  Four bike stations are currently placed “strategically” at West Apartments I, the Student Activities Center and the South P Lot – a total of 48 bikes. I can see the headline now: “Battles rage over 12 bikes at West Apartments: Students petition for pegs to access more efficient ‘peg-riding’.” Understandably, the commuters who use the South P Lot should be given the healthier option over the bus, but H Quad? Walk. Kelly Quad?  Go backwards to ride, or walk. Tabler Quad? Enjoy the stroll.

Besides the option for commuters in the South P Lot, do we really need this? For a majority of the students on campus, walking is the healthier, easier and more preferred method. The average person burns 80 to 140 calories walking per mile. This adds up after a long day of classes. Stairs and even that Zebra Path are good for working on those glutes.

My daily walk from Dewey College in Kelly Quad to the SAC takes about 10 minutes.  That’s about 44 calories burned for someone around 160 pounds.  If I were to bike that same distance, it would probably take less than half the time, and I would burn less than 24 calories. It’s no secret that walking is a much healthier option.

Even so, students here rarely use SBU Wolf Ride and prefer personal modes of transportation such as longboards or even the occasional unicycle. Statistics from the SBU Wolf Ride website show that in August, about 15.7 rides per day were recorded. Also, the average ride is 17 minutes. Evidently, very few students take advantage of the bike share program, and when they do it’s only for a long trek.

To me, this should be an all-or-nothing program. Either expand the program to allow campus-wide access, or abolish the rarely used project altogether. The bike sharing website hints at no future expansion, except for the fact that it says “currently,” there are four bike stations. We have a large campus, but it’s clear that students favor walking over the bus and other means of transportation.

Set your alarms 10 minutes earlier, and your thighs will thank you in time. Commuters from the South P Lot should be given the option of SBU Wolf Ride, but for everyone else on campus, it is not utilized. Maybe that one student, who for a moment recalls the attitude of Lance Armstrong and must race back to West Apartments I late at night to avoid the claws of the twilight that befalls Stony Brook University in the winter, is the one who is keeping SBU Wolf Ride in business.

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  • L

    Lou GregorioSep 25, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I do agree that the SBU Wolf Ride project needs a lot of work. I’ve always wanted to try out one of the bikes, but there are never any bikes available in the SAC. I spent over half an hour trying to get my ID card to work with the machine, only to find out the two bikes on the racks were broken. I also live in Mendelsohn Quad, and I find it unfair that there are no bike racks on the my side of campus. I’d love to know how Wolf Ride plans on improving; Currently, a person who wants to give it a chance has very little luck.

  • S

    Seamus PetersonSep 24, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    You bring up the fact that only 15.7 rides a day were recorded in August, a month predominantly absent of the full campus community, I would like to see the recorded average of a month within a major semester like fall or spring so student use could be more effectively examined. In addition why would’t you put forth the effort to research if expansion is in the works within the department spear heading this operation.

  • J

    James O'ConnorSep 24, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    We’d love to share with you future SBU Wolf Ride plans. Please let us know if you’d like more details!