On Oct. 3 the VIU Students’ Union (VIUSU) and Hub City Cycles held a free campus bike workshop outside of the library. Students who brought their bikes in were offered a free tune-up and tips on bike maintenance.

The workshop is part of the Students’ Union’s plan to encourage more students to cycle. “We’re developing a relationship between the Students’ Union and Hub City Cycles,” says James Bowen, organizer of campus life and events at the Students’ Union. “We want to bring them down regularly so people will see that cycling is an alternative to driving to VIU.”

Hub City Cycles is a non-profit community cooperative located below the China Steps in downtown Nanaimo. Hub City Cycles focuses on cycling education and advocacy, through free workshops and in-store repairs and classes. “We just started a new bike youth program in the city,” says Tyler Walker, the Hub City Cycles employee who was running the workshop, “it’s really wonderful.” The program is called “Afterschool Bikes” and will happen at Woodlands Secondary School. “[The program] will teach kids how to ride bikes and build them as well,” says Walker. “As well as how to become safe cyclists on the streets of Nanaimo and introduce them to the community and the community assets around the city.”

The Students’ Union is trying to reduce emissions created by VIU students, and sees the bike workshop as a way to accomplish that. “As much as it’s an opportunity for students to get their bike fixed,” says Bowen, “it’s also an awareness type of event…it’s an environmental thing essentially, the less people driving, the better chance we have in the long run.” VIUSU distributed bike repair manuals and advocacy literature, and were introducing students to their bike repair kit, all of which are available at the VIUSU (bldg. 193 on the Nanaimo campus.)

Several students took the opportunity for a free tune-up. “I rode my bike to university today,” says Martine Newell, VIU student, “I didn’t know there were going to be people up here, but as soon as I found out I took the opportunity. I knew there was a couple of problems with it and I probably should have taken it into a bike shop sooner. I learned a lot of stuff…I might just take the course.”

“Nanaimo is a really bike-friendly city,” says Walker, “just because of the traffic and because things are really close. It’s a lot easier to ride around and lot cheaper than driving and it’s a great way to support students and their physical health.”

For more information on future workshops on campus, visit VIUSU at <viusu.ca> or Hub City Cycles at <www.hubcitycycles.ca>.

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