Equal / Unequal

I suppose it is simply a matter of having attended one of the most bicycle friendly campuses in the state; I am always comparing and judging and, generally, those being judged come up short. This past weekend when I and the family visited the University of California at Riverside (UCR) campus for Highlander Day, and though it certainly was not the raison d'etre for the visit, I couldn't help but take note of some of the bicycle features around campus. From there it was a short step to compare with my own alma mater (UCSB).

Instead of a criss-crossing network of bike paths reaching into every conceivable corner, nook, and cranny of campus there are, instead, a smattering of on-street bike lanes. Instead of bike racks quantified by the vastness of "acreage" there are, instead, (mostly) single racks and parings here and there.

Now, that said, there are some positives to the bicycle infrastructure at UCR. First, the air compressors - sometimes all you need is a little air. I happened to notice the one located outside the Student Recreation Center, and cannot be sure how many more might be scattered around campus. Second is the secure parking - I noticed two types, locked rooms within buildings (at the dorms, if I remember correctly), and the locked outdoor enclosures with roofs and tubular steel fencing (bicycle cages) available for graduate students, staff and faculty. Both offer protection from the elements, and greatly increase security.

The differences between the two campuses might make for an interesting study in the allocation, or distribution, of resources. Investment at UCSB appears directed more to transportation, getting around campus and linking to surrounding areas (Isla Vista, Goleta, Santa Barbara). Meanwhile, investment at UCR would seem to be geared more to post-transportation, parking in other words. My guess is that this difference is largely due to differences in the size of each respective campus. Though Riverside is a good sized, and growing, campus it is still quite easy to get around on foot, especially in the core area; as the school's academic standing and popularity continue to increase it will be interesting to see if there is an infrastructure shift toward the "movement" example of UCSB.

Keep in mind that this was a first visit to UCR, that my focus was on other things, and I did not see the entirety of the campus. There is very likely more waiting to be discovered on a future visit.

An unsurprising commonality between the two campuses - bikes left out in the open racks, where they are subject to the misdeeds of both weather and vandals, apparently suffer the fate of bikes left out on university campuses everywhere.