Evan Whitener, a Long Beach State alumnus and owner of Long Beach’s The Bicycle Stand, was enthusiastic about bike-riding during his time as an undergraduate student in the industrial design program. However, his inability to carry belongings while riding a bike made his commute to campus difficult.
At the Green Rides Expo, a Sustainability Month event hosted by Parking and Transportation Services and The Office of Sustainability Tuesday, Whitener showcased an eco-friendly transportation option for students: the Virtue Schoolbus Plus bicycle. It’s a sustainable transportation resource he wished existed when he was a student at LBSU, according to Whitener.
“Basically it’s an electric cargo bike — it’s a three-wheeled bicycle that has a range of about 40 miles,” Whitener said. “It basically allowed me to put everything that I brought here [to the expo] today into the front and ride it over here from our shop which is about six miles away.”
The Schoolbus Plus differs in design from an ordinary bicycle as the cargo bike has a wide, box-like container attached to the front. The container is much larger than the average front-facing basket on a regular bicycle.
The Virtue Schoolbus Plus was one of many options for students to get their belongings to campus, without the use of a gas-powered vehicle, presented at The Green Rides Expo.
The small-scale event, which took place at the Friendship Walk to the east of the University Student Union, aimed to raise awareness among students regarding environmentally-friendly forms of transportation for their daily commute to and from campus. The expo is the second event in Sustainability Month, which will include a series of eco-friendly events throughout October.
Green Rides included a variety of booths featuring sustainability-focused organizations such as Long Beach Transit, Metro, Long Beach Bike Share and representatives from car companies such as Chevrolet and Tesla, showcasing their sustainable electric vehicles.
“It’s just about raising awareness and overall, the idea is we really want to encourage people to use sustainable modes of transportation,” said Sustainability Coordinator Holli Fajack.
Fajack mentioned the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions on-campus are caused by drive-alone commutes to campus.
“We’re giving [students] the information they need to take that step. Finding a carpool buddy or riding their bike or getting on the bus — sometimes it’s just a matter of trying it the first time,” Fajack said. “Then it becomes normal. People tend to be more comfortable driving alone but that’s not an option for everybody and, you know, there are other ways that can be just as good or better.”
The Green Rides Expo also included interactive, sustainability-tinged games such as “Ride Pong,” a game which aimed to embody the impact that drive-alone commuters have on the overall environment, using a beer-pong-like format, without the beer. There was also free pizza for students who visited all six Green Ride booths at the expo.
“I think it’s very nice to have awareness for everyone who doesn’t really understand or see another option for clean energy,” said Joseph Cavazos, a third year sociology major. “So, you know, we have a lot of people coming in cars, and if we try to cut that down we get a lot more parking and we also get to save the environment one step at a time.”
“Indoor Herbs 101,” the next Sustainability Month event, aims to highlight eco-friendly lifestyle options for students is “Indoor Herbs 101,” where students can learn how to grow and care for their indoor edible plants. The event is hosted by Sustain U, and will take place Tuesday, Oct. 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.