By Gelacio Cruz-Alvarado
Bikes have always been popular to the youth as an alternative to cars. They are affordable, easily maintained and don’t have any negative affects to the environment, like cars do. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that bicycles are popular not only at North Eugene High School and in Eugene but also the rest of the world. Bicycling magazine ranked Eugene, Oregon #9 in their 2013 “America’s top 50 bike-friendly cities,” with Portland #1.
It’s not only students, but teachers do their share of eco-friendly transportation. NEHS Language Arts teacher Taylor Madden has been riding bikes for roughly 10 years and considers himself a recreational/commuter. He also sees using a bike as transportation a “political action.” Madden started getting into bikes at age 22 when he was apart of a New York-Boston charity bike ride for an HIV/AIDS foundation. “I didn’t even have a bike when I signed up!” Madden now rides a Gary Fisher mountain bike and a Surly Big Dummy that can haul his kids.
There’s more than just riding bikes because some people have the choice. For some students, it’s the only way they can get to and from school. For others, bike riding is a hobby with activities such as BMXing, fixed gear or freestyle bike riding.
NEHS Junior, Gavin Rear, who rides a Unknown LV1, Bombtrack Dash and multiple others says “ [Riding bikes] really relieves a lot of stress and it’s something to do with friends on weekends.”
Bike riding has many benefits not only for yourself, but for the community. With high gas prices, you can save money with alternative transportation like bike riding. Plus, bikes are much cheaper than even an economical car, once you factor in things like insurance, tires and gas.
NEHS language arts teacher and Ukulele Club conductor, Aaron Thomas, has been riding bikes since he was 6 years old and even went two years of being car-free. He rides a single speed on a Schwinn frame with coaster back brakes to school and back. One highlight Mr. Thomas recalled was when he bought Thanksgiving dinner and got to transport it on his bike.
There’s no real exercise being done when you drive a car; bicycles are fueled by your movement and energy. It’s rare for parking to be hard and bike riding spawns more aware drivers in the community. It’s hard to beat a bike!