The Old College Try

Perusing the news yesterday morning I paused on a story, first because it was about bicycling, and second because it was about Iowa, a place I have never lived, but the place where mom was born and thus a place I have always felt some affinity toward. The story, in the Des Moines Register, concerned a slight statewide statistical decrease in bike commuting. 

While I was only marginally interested in that, there was this short list that caught my eye; included as a part of the story was a comparison of bike commuting rates in a few of the states' larger cities:

Waterloo: 0.7%
Des Moines: 0.6%
Cedar Rapids: 0.5%
Davenport: 0.2%
Iowa City: 4.6%

Knowing that the University of Iowa (LAB Silver Awardee) is in Iowa City I attributed the increase in percentage to that single factor (numbers for Ames, where ISU is located, might have helped to back up that assumption). Not always, but often enough, college towns (think Isla Vista, Davis, and Claremont for example) have greatly increased rates of bicycle commuters. Similarly, the immediate areas around campuses located within major cities will exhibit higher bicycle commuting rates.

What I would like to see, though, is a survey of former students once they finish their education and move on to the wider world. How many who commuted by bike at university continue following that mode of transport afterward? Would it not stand to reason that commuting numbers for the general population would show gradual increases if that were the case? Since numbers don't seem to reflect that scenario, why do former students stop riding?

So many questions, so few answers. Has anyone seen such a study?

While I am on the subject of the U of I, did you know that they have a Hand Built Bicycle Program? Pretty cool.

They also were set to institute a campus bike share this Fall and, of course, have a cycling club.

the University of Iowa Digital Library has some great photos.