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Facilities bikes help environment, fitness

Posted on Oct 1, 2010
Using bicycles instead of cars is helping promote sustainability and fitness for four Facilities Management supervisors.
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Easy (on the environment) Riders -- Four supervisors from Facilities Management say switching from cars to bikes for campus transportation are reducing the universitys environmental footprint and helping them stay fit.

Easy (on the environment) Riders -- Four supervisors from Facilities Management say switching from cars to bikes for campus transportation are reducing the university's environmental footprint and helping them stay fit.

By Brittany Berrens
University Relations student writer

Tom Fennessey and his Facilities Management team at the University of Wisconsin-Superior are noticing a lot more around campus these days. That's because they've ditched their facilities vehicles for a more Earth-friendly alternative.

Since June, Fennessey and three other managers from Facilities Management - Dusty Johnson, Frank Andrews and Kenn Raihala -- have been using bicycles to get between their office on 28th Street and the main campus; which are about a mile apart. It is not uncommon for them to make three to four trips a day.

The idea to use bikes started as an effort to make the department more eco-conscious.

"It was all about sustainability; reducing vehicle use and gas," said Fennessey, director of Facilities Management.

Although the team has yet to figure out just how much gas and wear and tear they've saved on the maintenance vehicles, Fennessey is sure it won't take long to make the money back that they spent on the four bikes.

Fennessey said people on campus have begun to take notice.

"Other departments have asked us about our bike program. People seem interested," he said. "What's the next step? To get other departments involved."

Johnson, building and grounds superintendent, can't help but notice a few other benefits to the new mode of transportation.

"It's good to have the extra exercise," said Johnson.

"I'd like to think that I've even lost a few pounds," Fennessey added. "It does make a difference. You just feel better."

Being on bicycles is giving them a different perception of campus as well.

Johnson said the slower drive through campus helps them notice problems they might not have seen before.

"You definitely understand where all the potholes are when you're on a bike," he added.

The two say it gives them a better perspective of what it's like for students who use bicycles to get between classes. In the long run, it helps them make changes to the campus as well, such as deciding where bike racks are located and whether enough are available.

The four only have one rule pertaining to the bikes: "No spandex," said Johnson with a laugh.

News Contact: Al Miller | 715-394-8260 | amiller{atuws}
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