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Rocket Wheels mass bike ride to pedal off today at noon

The University of Toledo is celebrating the return of spring and the Rocket Wheels bike share program with a mass ride by students and employees from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 21 beginning at the Rocket Hall bike station.

The Rocket Wheels bike sharing program, which was designed by UT Facilities and Construction, offers UT students and employees an alternative to trekking across campus and looking for parking spots.

“It is free and easy to use. Current students, faculty and staff can sign up online on the bike share website and check out a bike that day as long as the ID is valid,” said Diana Watts, UT transit and Rocket Wheels bike share coordinator. “It’s a healthy way to get around campus. Most campus buildings have bike racks very close to an entrance; it’s better than circling around for the nearest parking spot.”

The addition of the Ritter bike share station last fall provided improvement to Rocket Wheels, as now there is a station at every corner of campus, she said.

“Those who are in the parking garages, Rocket Hall Lot 25, and engineering lots 19 and 20 will find a station nearby where they can cross campus in less than five minutes,” Watts said.

So many improvements have been made at UT that it recently was named a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists. The effort to obtain this designation was spearheaded by Neil Tabor, a former sustainability specialist for UT; Thomas Garey, facilities information systems manager; and Watts.

“From a sustainability perspective, bicycling reduces emissions, contributes to a healthy lifestyle, and saves on fuel costs. All of these things help to further the triple bottom line philosophy sustainability is defined by,” Tabor said. “I hope that this recognition will foster more attention for bicycling efforts at UT and highlight resources already available to students.”

Watts says new features make borrowing bikes easier than ever.

“Users will notice we no longer are using the large vending-type machines,” Watts said. “The machines are now key boxes with a swipe access. The user can select a bike number on the screen, and the key area will light up, and the door will make a sound for the user to open. The keys can be returned to any location now. All you have to do is hold the key up to the scanner and the door will unlock. The user then returns the key back to the slot that is lit up. You don’t even have to swipe your card to return a bike.”

As far as bike safety is concerned, Watts said, “We would like everyone to follow the rules of the road and wear a helmet for protection. The Campus Safety Committee would like to remind everyone to lock bikes up at designated racks and corrals on campus. Please do not block walkways or doorway areas with locked bikes that may prevent accessibility to persons with disabilities.”

Signing up for the bike share program takes only seconds and can be done at Those with a valid UT ID need their username and password to enroll.

In addition to the ride on Tuesday, free food will be offered, and prizes will be raffled to those in attendance.

“We will have a refurbished bike to be raffled off from Rocket ReCycle, and we will also give away some free water bottles from the Sustainability, Energy Efficiency and Design initiative on campus. We hope to get some more donations from other bike vendors from around the Toledo area,” Watts said.

is UT's Media Relations Specialist. Contact her at 419.530.2077 or
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