A spring blooms in Upstate New York, students, faculty and staff are pulling bicycles out of winter storage to enjoy the warming weather, get some exercise and travel around town without using fossil fuels.
And there are few university campuses in the nation as welcoming to bicycles as SUNY Cortland.
Earlier this month, Cortland was one of 33 colleges and universities across the country to be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists and Bicycle Friendly America.
The announcement was a renewal of SUNY Cortland’s bronze status with the organizations, first awarded in 2017. There are only 222 Bicycle Friendly Universities in the U.S., and Cortland is one of only two SUNY University Colleges, including SUNY Brockport, to receive the designation.
“This is important to us,” President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “Bicycles represent our commitment to healthy living, physical fitness and environmental sustainability, all of which are core SUNY Cortland values.”
The Cortland Bike Project, managed by Outdoor Pursuits, provides free bike rentals to students on a weekly basis. Bikes may also be rented for an entire semester for $55, which includes a lock, helmet, bell and front and rear lights.
Additionally, Outdoor Pursuits offers mountain bike rentals for trail riding. Bike shop staff will also assist with the repair of personal bicycles for students, faculty and staff and Student Life Center members.
SUNY Cortland’s Sustainability Office considers faculty, staff and students commuting to campus by bike, or moving around campus on a bike, as a significant part of reducing the university’s greenhouse gas emissions. Other strategies include additional use of electric vehicles, buses that run on biodiesel and propane and a commitment to using 100 % renewable electricity in campus buildings.
The Bicycle Friendly University program evaluates colleges and universities efforts to promote bicycling in five key areas: engineering, encouragement, education, equity and evaluation and planning. Bronze-level universities have displayed an above-average number of campus community members and tend to be particularly strong in at least one of these five categories.