Burning calories while saving gas
Brian N. Willhite
March 3, 2010
Filed under Features
For some students at Bakersfield College, driving to and from class every day is not always an option.
The high costs of driving, the need to be physically active and a desire to “go green” have prompted some to seek alternative means of transportation not only to school, but in their daily lives as well.
With gas prices consistently on the rise and BC’s record enrollment of students creating competition for parking places, it makes sense to some students to ride the bus to school, or a bike.
In some cases, students are doing both to maximize efficiency.
BC student Mario Torres has been riding the bus and his bike everywhere for the past six months to save some money and start living a healthier lifestyle.
“I ride my bike a lot because, for one, it saves on gas and two, it’s healthy for me because I have diabetes.
Since I’ve been riding my bike it’s taken me off of insulin and all my medications,” he said.
On Thursdays and Fridays, he rides his bike to a bus stop that takes him to Wasco for a class. He then takes an Amtrak train back to downtown Bakersfield where he catches another GET bus back to BC for an evening class.
“I was determined to start eating right and start exercising, and now I ride my bike everywhere,” said Torres.
Like Torres, student Michael Herring employs the use of his bicycle and the GET bus to make the commute to his classes.
Living near the intersection of Highway 58 and Oswell Street in Bakersfield, Herring rides the bus to school and then rides his bike home once his classes are finished.
Herring said he would like to be able to make the whole trip on his bike, but that he’s going to have to “work up” to making the long ride up-hill on Oswell Street.
However, some students like Maria Garcia don’t ride a bike, and rely solely on the GET bus to get back-and-forth to their classes.
“I ride the bus because I have no other transportation and the bus is all I have,” Garcia said.
Some faculty members are also keen on alternative forms of transportation like Scott Wayland, an English professor at BC.
Wayland, who lives in Tehachapi, makes use of the bus and bike combination as often as he can.
“Once a week when the weather is good, I typically make the ride from my home in Tehachapi to the college and that’s about a three to three and a half hour adventure, said Wayland.
“Occasionally I will do the ride back up but that’s like five hours of cycling and that’s a serious workout, and only once have I done the round trip in a day.”
Wayland, an advocate for bike riding, expresses the environmental benefits aside, biking is still a worthwhile activity.
“In a sense, the green benefits and so on are secondary, and I think that if we as cyclists try to preach too much of that side of things, we’re missing a huge opportunity. Because really, it’s just a lot of fun and practical and it can save you huge amounts of money.
Cars are extremely expensive, and gasoline fluctuates a bit, but it’s not going to get much cheaper,” said Wayland.
According to the GET bus Web site, each bus can accommodate two bicycles on their bike racks located on the front of the bus, with possible accessibility to carry-on a bike in the bus with the operator’s permission if racks are full.
GET bus passes can be purchased in the bookstore located in the Business Services building.
Interested individuals looking for ways to make the change from driving to riding can make use of local resources like the Bakersfield bike path.
The well-maintained and paved public trail accommodates cyclists, joggers and horseback riders with a route that spans straight through the city.
Additionally, a local organization, Bike Bakersfield even offers to create routes for bike riders looking to find the best way to make their commutes. This service is offered for free through their Web site, bikebakersfield.org