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California: More Bicycle Friendly Than Ever

A photo of a woman cycling near the Golden Gate Bridge

A photo of a woman cycling near the Golden Gate BridgeCalifornia continues to shift higher in its statewide efforts to improve conditions for cyclists. Two years ago, the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) ranked California as the eighth most Bicycle Friendly State℠ based on the amount and effectiveness of the state’s activities toward creating a safer and more welcoming space for bicyclists. California has now risen to number three in the national ranking.

California was recognized by LAB for getting more serious about biking and walking, citing the state’s first-ever bicycle and pedestrian plan being adopted three years after a report calling for radical reform at Caltrans. LAB’s Bicycle Friendly State Report Card said, “With a state DOT [Department of Transportation] that is increasingly committed to ensuring the safety and comfort of people who bike rather than maintaining a status quo, the state seems on the verge of establishing new standards and practices that will be a model for other states, both through its size and its efforts. In particular, watch for California’s actions on bicycle-related data including facilities, crashes, and counts to be potential models for other states.”

Another key factor in the leap in ranking cited by Streetsblog California “is the increase in funding for the Active Transportation Program, S.B. 1, the new gas tax, almost doubled the size of that program, from $130 million to $230 million annually. This is still a puny portion of the state’s overall transportation budget, but nevertheless California is doing better than most states: the League ranks California sixth out of the fifty states in terms of dedicated bicycle funding.”

There is still much work to be done in order to make California a safer place to bike and walk. A larger emphasis on data research, a repeal of California’s mandatory bike lane law, and the general establishment of safer, more inclusive infrastructure are some of the ways California can try to nab that number-one spot next time!

Just as our state has become more bicycle friendly, you may recall UCLA in recent years has moved up in its ranking as a Bicycle Friendly University.

For more information about how California got to where it is now and where it’s going in the future, check out this article. Let’s keep going, California!


5 Items Everyone Should Have Before Biking In The Rain

Today is the first day of spring, and we all know that April showers bring May flowers, especially given the fact that California just experienced its rainiest winter in years. Weather reports already indicate that two storm systems are headed straight for Southern California.

If biking is your preferred mode of transportation, things can get a little difficult when you add some rain to the mix. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Here’s five items you should always have before biking in the rain.Cyclling Red Bike

1. Bike fender:  Fender’s are absolutely essential, especially after a long night of rain, when you know there will be puddles all over campus.

Without a fender, your rear tire will deposit all the water from a puddle straight to your back or legs.

Having to sit through work or through numerous lectures with a muddy back is not the ideal way to start off your day. Make sure to purchase and install your very own bike fender.

2. Rain jacket:  You know what’s worse than walking around all day with a wet back? Walking around all day wet all over.

Always make sure you have a rain jacket on before you head out on your commute. If you are planning on purchasing one, be sure to grab one with a large hood that is actually waterproof.

3. Rain boots and rain pants:  To avoid walking around campus with wet socks and wet bottoms, make sure to purchase your very own pair of rain pants and rain boots. Sure, you won’t be making a fashion statement in these, but you’ll be glad you wore them at the end Feeling protected in her boots.of the day. Trust me.

If rain pants and rain boots are not your thing, look into an alternative like yoga pants or pants of some other thin, quick drying material. Rain shoes are also just as helpful!

4. Bike seat cover:  No need to carry around paper towels! Buy a waterproof seat cover and say goodbye to your worries.

5. Gloves:  You know what's hard and at times, almost impossible? Locking/unlocking your bike with freezing, slippery fingers. Gloves will not only greatly improve your storm glovesentire trip to campus, but they will also allow you to begin typing and writing as soon as you arrive to class or at your desk, since your hands will actually be warm this time around.

Here’s a tip: buy a pair where the thumb and finger are smartphone compatible so that you can still listen to all your favorite podcasts and music on your way to campus.




This Spring Break, Take a $213 Cross-Country Amtrak Ride


amtrakpicSpring Break is just around the corner. If you've ever wanted to travel across country but didn't have the funds to do it, we've got a solution for you.

This Amtrak train will take you to some of the most beautiful cities in America like Salt Lake City, Denver and Chicago—and it only costs $213.

To make it even easier, travel blogger Derek Low mapped out the route to take so you can travel to various cities between San Francisco and New York. You can ride either the California Zephyr or the Lake Shore Limited.There’s even an extended trip package, giving you 15 extra days to explore the country and sight-see for an additional $216.

We know what you’re thinking, “I’m a student. This is still too expensive.” Amtrak hears you. UCLA students are eligible for a 15% discount on Flexible and Value cross-country rail fares year-round.

Not looking to go so far? Amtrak’s Throughway Service offers UCLA students a 20% discount on in-state travel. A short bus ride will take you from 592 Gayley Avenue at Strathmore Place to the Van Nuys and Bakersfield stations. From these locations the San Joaquin and Pacific Surfliner trains can take you as far north as Sacramento and anywhere in between.

For more information about student discounts, click here.

Here’s How to Get Home This Summer

Surfliner - Del Mar-2_blog

Surfliner - Del Mar-2_blogSchool is ending, commencement is right around the corner, and summer is kicking off soon. Do you know how you're getting home?

Some of you already know that UCLA students get 20% off California Amtrak fares. But what if you live out of state?

Well Amtrak recently rolled out its new 15% Student Discount program. If
you're a UCLA student, ages 17-25, save 15% on Value and Flexible rail
fares on travel year-round beyond California to destinations throughout the country. No blackout dates.

The Pacific Surfliner travels the coast to places like Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.Click on this lick to make a reservation and to read all terms and conditions. Tickets must be reserved three days before travel. A valid UCLA student ID must be presented as proof of discount eligibility.

Ride Amtrak, and see where the train can take you!

Why You Should Take Water Conservation Seriously


waterconservationIt's not over yet! California's severe drought conditions continue to affect all of us. There are drinking water shortages in communities across the state, diminished water for agriculture, degraded habitat for many fish and wildlife species and increased wildfire risk. Also, nearly 2,000 wells are running dry throughout California.

Starting in May, Fleet & Transit implemented multiple water reduction processes.  The Fleet Services wash bay is being shut down on weekends, wash schedules on transit buses and vans have been cut in half, and BruinCar rental vehicles are being dusted and washed only when there is excessive dirt. All this adds up to more than 46,000 gallons of water saved per year.

After four years of drought, Governor Brown proclaimed a state of emergency throughout the State of California due to severe drought conditions. Fleet & UC_CoolCampusChallenge_squareTransit supports Governor Brown. They take sustainability and water conservation seriously—you should too.

Right now, the University of California is trying to get everyone else on board with its Cool Campus Challenge. Sign up now, and pledge to do your part, bit by
bit. The challenge ends December 10, but living sustainably doesn't have to. We all should be doing what we can to help the environment.