1. Sustainable Biking for IES
The goal of this project is to start a collection of bicycles at IES Abroad Barcelona for students to use during their semester studying in Barcelona. We are purchasing 3 bicycles. The goal is to have future students continue to collect more bicycles.
Using bikes to commute reduces dependence on less sustainable forms of travel such as cars, motorbikes, taxis, buses, and the Metro. Biking is also a carbon neutral and healthy way to travel.
A collection of bicycles makes the IES Abroad Barcelona program more attractive to prospective and incoming students. Transportation is an important aspect to consider when choosing a program and a city in which to study abroad. Especially since student housing is spread out all over the Barcelona, and commuting can be a big part of your daily routine. Commuting by bicycle offers students a way to travel that allows them to get some free exercise (as opposed to paying an expensive gym membership fee) and to experience the city in a new and healthy way. To any student concerned with living sustainably, getting exercise, and commuting inexpensively and like a Spanish resident, bikes are an obvious choice and this choice should be made available.
Purchasing the bikes will cost between 100 and 150 euros each, depending on what bicycles Green Bikes has available. We have to wait until the end of the semester to buy the bicycles, because Cesar decided the bicycles cannot be stored at the IES building during the semester. Students who use the free IES bicycles will have to provide their own locking mechanisms and helmet, and they will be completely responsible for anything that happens to the bikes while under their possession, including the bike being broken or stolen (this will be understood by the student when they sign the liability agreement provided, before they receive a bike) Quality locks range from 18 Euros-80 Euros at Green Bikes. A helmet will cost between 30-50 Euro. Also, the bicycle maintenance will come at a small cost to IES. Before every semester, the bikes will need a safety check by a trained professional. Green Bikes does very affordable maintenance and tune-ups (Basic tune up is 15 Euros).
A majority of the IES Abroad Barcelona students primarily use Metro, Bus, and Taxi to travel long distances across the city. These modes of transportation, however are highly inefficient and unsustainable. In a typical car, for example, 80% of the energy is lost in heat-- about 1/3 of this energy is lost to acceleration and breaking and 1/3 is lost to friction of the tires against the pavement in the form of rolling resistance. Only 5% of the energy a car exerts is used to make the driver move. A bike, on the other hand is a much more efficient mode of transportation. Because peddling a bike does not go against the forces of gravity, almost 100% of energy spent is used to move the cycler forward. Providing the students of IES Abroad Barcelona with the opportunity to use the more efficient bike as a main mode of transportation has many potential benefits for the environment and for the IES Abroad community.
After the Initial cost of purchasing or renting the bike, maintaining and riding a bike for the semester would be fuel and cost free. This alternative has obvious environmental benefits over other modes of transportation. The following table displays emissions of different modes of transport in units of grams per passenger per kilometre traveled. (Annual Traffic Census 1997)
|Mode of Transportation||Carbon Dioxide||Nitrogen Oxide|
|Rail (weighted average)||46.57||.21|
|Public light bus||38.02||.19|
A student traveling by bike instead of any of these forms of transportation will greatly decrease their carbon and nitrogen footprints.
For students concerned with healthy living and exercise, there are numerous health benefits associated with biking. With light effort, biking burns about 375 calories an hour. In addition, adding cycling as regular part of your weekly exercise has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, combat obesity and diabetes, improve coordination, reduce body fat, and even improve mood.
Besides the environmental and health benefits, the IES Abroad Program will benefit by making this alternative mode of transportation more accessible to students. Any student interested in a more carbon-neutral,healthy or sustainable way of living will see the bike program as an attractive opportunity and may be persuaded to join the IES Abroad program over other programs in Barcelona who do not offer sustainable biking options.
In order to implement this action, we did a lot of research related to finding second hand and refurbished bikes for purchase. Our goal was to have a few bikes at the end of the semester that could be used by students in future semesters. We emailed all the bike shops in Barcelona that we could contact to negotiate prices, and we found the best deal at Green Bikes (also, we like that they take pieces of broken bikes and use them to refurbish older bikes, which is more sustainable than buying bikes brand new. Also, they are cooperatively owned).
We also worked with Cesar, the head of IES Abroad Barcelona to have the bike program approved and to draw up a liability waiver so that IES would not be held accountable for any harm that came to a student while they were using the bikes. Also, Cesar controls IES Barcelona funds, and he helped to work out the budget and supply us with the appropriate funds to buy bicycles. Also, we worked with an IES Barcelona staff member to draw up bike safety information that will be available to students using bicycles.
The bikes can be stored at the IES Barcelona terrace in between semesters, which is where the three bikes will stay until the new incoming students arrive. Then, the bikes will be distributed to three students in the Sustainability Club, according to a lottery system of all the interested students. At the end of the semester, it will be the job of the Sustainability Club council (president and secretary) to determine where the bikes will stay over the summer. Perhaps they can write up an agreement with a local parking lot that allows the bikes to be locked there over the summer.
The three students that have access to the bikes for the semester will be responsible for any damage to the bikes, will have to put down a 50 euro deposit, and will be required to supply their own helmet and lock(s).
We have not yet purchased the three bikes but have them picked out at Green Bikes. We are waiting to purchase them until the last couple days of the semester so they can go straight to the IES Barcelona terrace, and we do not have to worry about storing them elsewhere.
1.4 References and Links
1.5 Students Involved in Action
Betsy Fischer- Met with Cesar, constructed the bike safety information document with Ferran, research and contacted bike shops for price comparison for rental and purchasing bikes, helped write action page, had group meetings
Emma Witschi- Contributed to Benefits and Why sections.
Michael- Met with Cesar, constructed the legal liability waiver with Cesar, contacted bike shops for price comparison for rental and purchasing bikes, visited Green Bikes bike shop and discussed bike purchasing costs, emailed Cesar for initial funding for bikes, space availability, and safety information, helped write action page, had group meetings.
Caroline- Met with Cesar, constructed the legal liability waiver with Cesar, contacted bike shops for price comparison for rental and purchasing bikes, visited Green Bikes bike shop and discussed bike purchasing costs, helped write action page, had group meetings.
Assignment: Peer review form
Grades for this action report (From the PROFESSOR)