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Gearing up to bring Bike Share to campus

Gearing up to bring Bike Share to campus

Could cycling serve as a gateway to fitness by inspiring people to pursue more active lifestyles? This is one of the research questions a Lincoln University lecturer wants to answer as she embarks on a plan to bring the Christchurch Bike Share programme to Lincoln.

Dr Catherine Elliot, a lecturer in the Tourism, Sport and Society Department, is keen to trial a project that would make bikes available for hire on Lincoln’s campus.

A similar project was recently launched in Christchurch’s CBD in an effort to make the city more cycle-friendly, and Dr Elliot is keen to initiate a rural version of the Bike Share throughout the Selwyn District.

“Students and staff, as well as local residents, could use the bikes to travel on and off campus,” she says. “Many folks commute to Lincoln in a car or take the bus, so having bikes on campus is a great way of encouraging people to cycle for short and medium distances.

“The bikes would be available to the wider community too, so families could enjoy weekend rides on the Little River Rail Trail.”

Dr Elliot says bicycle-friendly cities in Europe tend to thrive, with people earning higher incomes and having better rates of physical and mental health. She would like to help create the same opportunities here, given the increased rate of depression amongst Cantabrians since the earthquakes.

She is now in the process of seeking funding for the project, which she suggests could be a shared scheme between the University as a whole, the Tourism, Sport and Society Department, and the campus Live Well group, which promotes better health and well-being for students and staff.

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Dr Elliot also wants to use some of the bicycles from the programme to carry out a controlled study, whereby she recruits 10 sedentary Lincoln University staff members to cycle to work three times a week for two months.

“People who commute by bike report higher energy levels than non-cyclists, so I’d be interested to see if a bike-to-work scheme leads to increases in physical activity overall.”

The participants would fill out health and fitness questionnaires, both before and after the two-month cycling period, and receive clinical results from blood and cardiovascular tests.

“I would then compare the responses to determine if regular cycling could lead to the participants becoming more active in general and to find out if their physical and mental health had improved,” says Dr Elliott.

The participants would begin their morning cycle at Springs and Birchs Roads, where the Little River Rail Trail connects through Prebbleton, for a 30-40 minute ride to the University.

“We’d have portable bike racks set up in Prebbleton, and relocate 10 of the bikes there.”

Dr Elliot will speak more about her plans for the Bike Share programme and bike-to-work study at a Lincoln University forum on Tuesday 8 September.

Five speakers, three of whom are from Lincoln University, are set to address different topics relating to cycling.

Lincoln lecturers Drs Jude Wilson and Mike Hamlin will cover the tourism and performance sides of cycling respectively, while Dr Elliot will promote cycling as a healthy form of active transportation.

Keynote speaker Damion Sturm, of Home of Cycling Avantidrome, and professional coach Hamish Ferguson are also making presentations at the event.

“I organised the forum after talking with several cycling advocates and realising it would be great if some of us got together and talked about ways to encourage cycling in our communities,” says Dr Elliot.

• The Lincoln University 1st Annual Cycling Forum will be held on Tuesday 8 September from 5.30-8.30pm at the Lincoln University Campus, Stewart Building, Room S2. Presentations will be followed by nibbles and cash bar. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by Friday 4 September with an email to rebecca.doyle@lincoln.ac.nz


ENDS

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