At RTC, we believe in active transportation, being environmentally friendly and, of course, changing lives. That's why we were thrilled to catch up with Florida State University (FSU) junior Mark Kastner. Kastner is FSU's reCycle Bike Program student coordinator, a role he says is "technically a job but much more of a hobby and passion." Here's what Mark has to say about the program, which is making students' lives easier, healthier and greener.
How does the FSU reCycle Bike program work?
Students can rent a bike for either the semester ($35) or the entire academic year ($65). The price includes an excellent lock, a helmet and a subscription to Bike Eat Shop Tallahassee (BEST). The subscription allows them to receive discounts at local restaurants and businesses. The students also have access to maintenance provided by University Cycles.
We rely on donations to get bikes, and we are always encouraging community members to donate any unused or unwanted bikes so we can fix them up and rent them out.
How and why did you get involved?
I stumbled on the program because I was interested in renting a bike. I have always been intrigued by environmental issues, but it was FSU that sparked my passion for it. I am now much more involved in cycling and sit on the City of Tallahassee Bicycling Workgroup. I also enjoy the on-campus bike programming, too. It’s a great environment and a lot of fun; I get to meet awesome people.
How many students are using the bikes?
We have 50 bikes, and all of them are rented out. A majority of our students use the bikes to get to campus from their apartments, and to get to work. [The bikes] are great for getting to class on time and not having to worry about parking your car!
Some students also simply don't have a car and need to get on or off campus frequently. A majority of our renters are international students who have come here to study.
What has been the bike program's biggest impact?
The biggest success of the program is the fact that less students drive to campus. Our program offers students the choice to live more sustainably and healthy. Once they make that choice to not drive a car, they are making an impact on our campus and on our world.
Also, the low cost of our program makes it possible for more students to bike. Students can rent a bike and try it out…without spending a fortune on a new bike. We always have a waiting list and wish that we could have more bikes!
What’s your favorite thing about the program?
My favorite part is when students return their bikes. Most of them are so sad to give them up, even for just a few weeks. They tell me about all the adventures they had and the places they went.
Their excitement and attachment to the bikes fuel my passion for this program.
Mark Kastner is a pre-med student in FSU’s Exercise Sciences program.