For our action, we were thinking that we needed to accomplish something practical and something that students would actually want to utilize. So, back when I was brainstorming, I thought about what I would want to utilize. It came down to transportation. I would love to have a bike available for me. That’s when I consulted with group members and fellow classmates and decided this would be something I should pursue. So, with the help of my action team, we want to start a bike loan program in which students can rent bikes that are stored and kept by IES Barcelona.
Barcelona is a very bike friendly city and it’s a shame that study abroad students cannot utilize this aspect for the duration of their stay. This program would allow students to have a sustainable option when they need to navigate the city. In some research, I came across a list of 28 reasons to bike released by the University of Central Florida. Some highlights of the list deal with chemical pollution, noise pollution, and human health. We used this list and common knowledge to create a list of our own.
• Most sustainable why of transportation, even more so then public transportation.
• Improves both physical and mental health of the rider.
• Reduces noise pollution.
• Improves traffic congestion.
• Its cheaper in many ways
• It can potentially slow the pace of climate change.
• A lot more fun than the metro!
As far as the bikes go, we are currently in the midst of negotiations with a local bike shop that goes by the name of Biciclot. Biciclot is not just another bike shop; it is probably the best option for what we are trying to do here. They have a program in which they take old bikes from around the city and restore them. This means that the bikes that IES students would be using would be recycled, which is sustainable in itself. In our talks we are trying to obtain in between 10 and 20 recycled bikes to start with. I will update how this ends up with comments as the talks come to a close.
We were thinking that there could be three time periods that students could rent the bikes for- one day, one week, and one month. This would allow students not to hesitate do to time restraints or price. Each length would have a different, reasonable cost. The inventory of bikes can potentially be stored in the lobby on a rack much like the one we saw in the lobby of the sustainable office on our first field study or out on a rack in the courtyard.
This information is not known exactly yet because of Biciclot’s delay in the email conversation. I am going to start getting very aggressive if they do not respond by the weekend. The language barrier makes it challenging. The start up costs could be potentially be a little high for IES, but the way the rental program is designed, it would pay for itself possibly in the first semester. Then, if this program profits, money could be used at the student council’s disposal or for the funding of future Sustainability student’s actions.
There are many places in the world that are becoming more and more bike friendly as more and more people realize that biking is the best option for local transportation. For example, an organization in Portland, Oregon called "Bike Portland" realesed a study showing how more and more people have begun using bikes to navagate the city. It is time that students abroad have the ability to join the trend and do something good for their bodies, mind, and the betterment of modern society.
Andrew Klugman and Eloise Smith
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