MANKATO — Mankato, long recognized by advocacy organizations for its bicycle friendliness, now has a pedal-friendly university in town to boot.
Minnesota State University was recently awarded a bronze designation for bicycle friendliness from the League of American Bicyclists. The honor recognizes MSU’s encouragement of bicycling as a transportation option as well as its amenities, including covered bicycling areas, bike racks, pumps and repair stations.
The university is one of five Minnesota campuses and 180 nationwide to achieve the honor. Faical Rayani, student body president last year when the application was submitted, said the achievement is good news for students.
“Big picture, this is great for students,” he said. “Hopefully it will usher in the new bike-share program and hopefully it’ll help students encourage them to bike more and use less parking.”
Applying for the recognition was sparked by a discussion Rayani had with Richard Keir, a member of Greater Mankato Bike & Walk Advocates at a Night to Unite Event. From there, Rayani took the idea to the Student Senate, where it immediately generated a buzz, he said.
Keir and faculty member Gary Urban were among those who worked with the students to submit the application, which was met with an acceptance letter last week.
The honor opens up free tools and technical assistance from the League of American Bicyclists. Robyn Ceurvorst, a doctoral student and assistant professor in the department of parks and leisure services at MSU, said the resources will help the campus keep up the momentum.
“It essentially means we do have work to do, but we’re also doing many things right,” she said of the recognition.
A next step could include adding a bike-share program and bike lockers for safe storage of bikes on campus, she said.
Collaboration with the local biking group are also in the works, including courses to teach students how to become bike safety instructors.