University of Calgary

Pedal power

October 22, 2009

Pushing pedal power


Third-year EVDS student Migo Araneta bikes to campus year round and is a member of the Bike Root.
The University of Calgary is helping students, staff and faculty to reduce the campus’s carbon footprint with improved services to encourage the use of pedal power as a means of getting to and from campus.

The Bike Root is a student-led volunteer community bicycle shop located in the Murray Fraser Hall loading dock. Membership is open to anyone and costs $10 a year. There are currently 400 active members.

Membership includes access to free self-repair advice and services, workshops and a “bike library,” which allows members to borrow a bike, just like a book at a library.

Many members of the campus community cycle year round and are using the shop’s repair services to keep their bikes in tip-top shape.

“The winter commute is the toughest, but perhaps the most rewarding,” says Migo Araneta, a third-year EVDS student. “It's a good transition from school to home, and I get my workout without getting cooped up inside a gym.”

In response to high demand for its bike library, the Bike Root has also begun a long-term lending program, where members can build a bike (for a small cost), and then return it to the shop within a year for a partial refund. The hope is that this system will further increase the number of people borrowing bikes.

To help promote cycling on campus, Parking Services is also exploring the design and location of secure bike cages. “Security was identified as a concern,” says Lance Ayer, member of the Bike Root and co-author of a report completed as part of the summer sustainability grant program offered through the Office of Sustainability.

These cages would protect bicycles from the elements, as well as keep them secure. Susan Austen, director of Parking and Traffic Services and chair of the transportation sustainability portfolio, says the U of C plans to install two cages, each holding 30 to 40 bikes, at central locations on campus.

Through its Cut the Carbs campaign, the U of C is cutting back on the 77,586 metric tonnes of eCO2 emissions attributed to commuting. For more information on programs that reward or facilitate eco-friendly commuting, visit

—Written by Joe Kerr, MEDes student


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