Casey Osborn, a second year Masters student in Urban and Regional Planning, is the 2014/2015 President of the UCLA Bike Coalition. When she moved to Los Angeles from the Bay Area, she was committed to bike to school as much as possible. As the new leader of the coalition, she seeks to support and educate aspiring cyclists at UCLA.
What is the UCLA bike coalition? How does it function?
Our official mission states, "The Bike Coalition at UCLA is a collective of students, faculty, and staff working to make the UCLA campus and the surrounding area a better place to ride." In other words, we are a community for on-campus bicyclists. We seek to support and educate aspiring cyclists who are interested in biking, and want to learn more about routes, bike maintenance, gear, etc. We have a few people like myself in "official" positions, but mostly we see ourselves as a group of bicyclists, for bicyclists.
What is your role with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition?
We are an official chapter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC). Many of our members also attend LACBC's Westside Ambassadors Meetings and take part in LACBC events county-wide. Some members have interned with LACBC, and we have a couple of alumni who now work at the organization (shoutout to Alek and Hyeran!).
What are the benefits of being a member?
As a member you get to be a part of a great community of cyclists and have a say in the future of cycling in the Westwood community. If you're interested in advocacy, planning, connecting with the local bike community, or want to gain experience organizing meetings, actions, or events, the Bicycle Coalition is for you! Or if you just want to meet great people and go on some fun rides - we've got that, too!
A little bit more info about you:
Can you please tell me a little bit about your personal history and what drew you to work for the bike coalition?
I grew up in the Bay Area, just north of Berkeley, a city that has had Bicycle Boulevards since the seventies. When I moved to Los Angeles, I was committed to biking to school, but I found it to be a lot more difficult and scarier than where I grew up. As I was researching biking options, I found out that many of my peers were involved in the bike coalition, so I decided to check it out.
When I first joined the bike coalition, I had a personal and professional interest in biking, but now I can honestly say that I enjoy the coalition because of the great people who are involved. I would also like to add that since moving to LA, I've discovered that this city has a thriving bike community and bike culture. Any day of the week you can find someone organizing a ride somewhere.
Can you briefly describe your bike history and why are you so passionate about biking?
Bicycling is not only a great way to exercise, but a great way to get around! I've been a regular biker since high school. At the time, I used to ride my mom's bike up to my summer job. In college, I biked exclusively to get to my 7:30 a.m. guard shift. It was probably 1/4 mile and all downhill. When I was working, I often walked or took the bus, but once I fixed up my bike and discovered how much later I could sleep in when biking, I was hooked.
I don't want people who might be interested in bicycling to be discouraged by safety concerns or a lack of infrastructure. I don't think daily bike commuting is for everyone (I don't commute everyday myself), but I think many people can relate to the joy of being outside, the joy of being on a bike, and I think that it’s important that we make bicycling safer, so that it can be a real option for everyone.
What is your favorite spot to bike around campus?
My favorite spot to bike around UCLA is probably the green bike lane down Royce Drive by the business school. It's my route from my building to the pool or gym. And I'm a sucker for bright green thermoplastic.
Do you have any suggestions for those who are hesitant about using their bike to commute to and from campus?
Don't be afraid to ask your bicycling friends or local bike shop questions! There are no stupid questions. Bicyclists and bicycles come in all shapes and sizes. The UCLA Bike Shop -located behind Wooden- and LACBC are both an excellent resource. You can learn about bike safety tips, bike commuting, and bikes on transit on the LACBC’s website . Another great way to start commuting by bike is to check out LA Bike Trains. Bike commuting is less daunting and a lot more fun when you have someone to bike with. I would also suggest trying out your route on a weekend, or a day when you don't have to be anywhere on time. You'll be able to identify some of the trickier spots in advance.
For more information on the UCLA Bike Coalition, please visit https://bikeucla.wordpress.com/.To receive the latest events and meetings updates, sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow them on their Facebook and Twitter (@BCatUCLA) pages.