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Bike Emory; Fuji University

June 03, 2008 By: Peter Smith Category: Advocacy

Emory University (wiki), in metro Atlanta, Georgia, now has a bike program called Bike Emory, and it looks awesome! Thanks to Atlanta Bicycle Campaign for keeping us informed.

Emory is sometimes referred to as “The Harvard of the South” (HofS), along with Duke University, Rice University (HotS or not, the Rice Administration needs to start doing something with bikes. Granted, they’re in Houston, but still), and Vanderbilt University (ditto, Vandy). Public schools that have been referred to in this way include The College of William and Mary (when the only bike-related page to pop up for a school is the bike registration page for the on-campus police department, we know that college it not dedicated to bikes, yet; let’s go, Administration of W&M.), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (also home to the HSRC), University of Texas at Austin (where you’ll find the Orange Bike Project and a significant amount of content on their…transportation page, of all places?), and the University of Virginia.

With the success of programs like Bike Emory (and the Ripon Velorution), I would suggest that perhaps a new colloquialism or two is in order: “The Emory of the North”? “The Ripon of the Southwest”? :)

Fuji University is a new program by Fuji Bicycles with the following aims:

to assist colleges and universities around the U.S. with their sustainability objectives. Together with school administrators, Fuji hopes to reduce automobile dependence and promote a healthy lifestyle of cycling and walking on and around campuses.

This is the first project for Fuji University, so if this goes well I hope we can expect more of this kind of thing. I added Bike Emory to #4 on the “Big Initiatives” post.

As soon as this is posted I’m going to send an email to our local bicycle email list and see if I can convince someone to get in touch with Fuji straight away. Or, since we’re home to Sir Lancelot, and we know he’s tight with Trek, I figure we might give them first shot, but maybe the fair thing to do is just what it appears Emory did—contact all the big players and see who gets back to us first with a can-do attitude. We’ll see. UT Austin already has the Orange Bike Project, and I’d like to see them get some help. I would argue that UT Austin is the flagship school in Austin, so once we get this place rockin’, we are in a better position to take the program to all the other local schools.

There appears to be four organizations involved in at least some way in the effort to make Bike Emory happen:

  1. Emory University
  2. Fuji Bikes/Fuji University
  3. Bicycle South, a local bike shop
  4. Clifton Community Partnership, the local neighborhood association

I say Bravo! to everyone involved. And I would argue that doing the legwork up front to involve multiple organizations will more than justify that effort in the long run.

Check out some coverage from a local news channel here (video is down at the moment).

The Chronicle of Higher Education has written about the program here:

At Emory, Getting Students Out of Cars and On 2 Wheels

Atlanta — David Hanson describes himself as a cycling addict — a guy who owns a half-dozen road bikes, spends his spare time training for benefit rides, and dreams of one day opening a bike shop, where he can fiddle with bikes all day long. For now, he has a respectable if more staid position as the associate vice president for administration at Emory University — but with a recent project, he has managed to wrap his love for biking into his job.

A couple of years ago, Mr. Hanson wrote to a handful of major bike manufacturers in hopes of starting a partnership that would get more Emory students on pedals and out of their cars. Fuji, a bike company, responded right away, and Pat Cunnane, the president of Fuji made a trip to Emory to shoot pictures of the campus, look at bike culture in the area, and find out whether a bike program would be viable on campus. Atlanta, unlike New York City or Portland, Ore., isn’t exactly known for being a good biking town. In fact, it rates at the bottom of some lists of bike-friendly cities in biking magazines.

To add to the excitement, Bike Emory sponsored a video contest to promote biking (original post here). The deadline for submissions has already past, and I don’t think they’ve announced a winner yet, but I did manage to find this gem of a submission—this thing cracks me up:

It only includes references to the best movie evahh (except for all the other best movies ever)! And parts of the movie are particularly relevant to future college graduates. :)

OK, OK, you I convinced me—here’s the trailer (and if you want to see “that scene,” you’re gonna have to go get it yourself):

…the Emory Bike!

…we have a winner!