Student advocate pushes for “Bike-Friendly University” status

When Bernard Green found his father’s old road bike in the back of the garage, his life changed.

Bernard and a bicycle“It was like flying,” he said. “I loved feeling the wind rush by.”

His dad made him a deal – keep up biking, and he’d buy Bernard his own road bike. The deal stuck and before long Bernard was cycling competitively at the LA Velodrome.

After a year of track racing, Bernard felt the competition was taking away from the joy of riding. So he changed gears, became a bicycling advocate, and focused on sharing that joy with others.

The summer after his freshman year at CSUMB, Bernard returned to his hometown of Los Angeles and took a full-time internship with LA Bike Trains, an organization that helps new riders feel more comfortable commuting on bikes by organizing group rides or “bike trains.” The trains cover various routes through the city on weekday mornings. The pace is easy, the atmosphere social, and new riders find safety in numbers.

“It’s basically a moving bike party,” he said. As an intern, the Human Communication major helped the organization with its website, with fundraising, and with screening potential bike train “conductors.”

That summer he also gained certification as an instructor with the League of American Bicyclists. With that experience and credential under his belt, Bernard came back to CSUMB and founded the Monterey Bike Project.

Bernard describes the work of the project in three parts: First, educating cyclists by offering traffic safety and bike maintenance classes. Second, advocating for better cycling facilities and bike-friendly policies on campus and in Seaside and Marina. Finally, strengthening the cycling community through group rides and activities that connect new cyclists to more knowledgeable and experienced riders.

His goal is for CSUMB to be officially recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a bike-friendly campus by the time he graduates in 2016.

After graduation, Bernard sees himself moving to the Pacific Northwest and studying urban planning in graduate school.

Ultimately, Bernard wants to contribute to a larger movement toward sustainability. He envisions a time when a sustainable lifestyle will be the status quo, and people would have to go out of their way to live unsustainably.

“And the bike is one way to do that.”

— Liz MacDonald 

Photo by Randy Tunnell