The work of the Bike Ambassador program has helped the UA become recognized as a bicycle-friendly campus by the League of American Bicyclists. (Photo: Ernesto Trejo/UANews)
The work of the Bike Ambassador program has helped the UA become recognized as a bicycle-friendly campus by the League of American Bicyclists. (Photo: Ernesto Trejo/UANews)

Bike Ambassadors Keep the UA's Many Cyclists Rolling

A service and repair program available for free to all riders is one reason the UA has been recognized a bicycle-friendly university.
Feb. 29, 2016
Extra Info: 

Visit parking.arizona.edu for more information on bike paths on campus and the different bicycle programs provided by the UA's Parking and Transportation Services. 

Bike Ambassador Colleen Giles is part of the yellow-shirted crew outside the Nugent Building on the UA Mall. (Photo: Ernesto Trejo/UANews)
Bike Ambassador Colleen Giles is part of the yellow-shirted crew outside the Nugent Building on the UA Mall. (Photo: Ernesto Trejo/UANews)

Beneath a blue tent in front of Nugent Building on the University of Arizona Mall, a rush of students stops on the way to class to drop off bicycles in need of repair.

The name Bike Ambassadors sounds heroic, but that's what they are — heroes — to the thousands who rely on bikes for campus transportation.

It's one of a number of services the UA offers for cyclists, making the institution one of the most bicycle-friendly universities in the country, according to the League of American Bicyclists.

An estimated 10,000 people ride bikes on the UA campus, according to a Parking and Transportation Services survey taken four years ago, and any one of them can come to the Bike Ambassador program with a flat tire, broken brakes or chains, or any other issue to receive on-the-spot repairs. This includes students, employees and the general public.

"Even a flat repair can save a student almost 25 bucks to have it done at a bike shop, so it's a great service for the students here," said Jim Harms, Bike Ambassador program manager.

The Bike Ambassador program is a free service funded by PTS in partnership with Pima County Department of Transportation. The tent is conveniently located next to a bike valet service, where riders can park bikes in a secure area without needing to lock them up. The ambassadors also teach free classes once a month through the Pima County Bicycle and Pedestrian program.