Anteaters Celebrate Bike Month

Gilberto Cardenas/New University

Kurt Bahneman wants to “keep the campus cycling community rolling.”

Kurt, who lives in Verano Place and attends Orange Coast Community College, has been part of the UCI biking community for two years as general manager of the Bike Shop.

He rides his bike every week all over Orange County, including Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.

“I think my role is advocating cycling around campus,” Bahneman says. “It’s kind of my duty as manager.”

The Bike Shop, operated by the company Bike Religion, has been a permanent friendly fixture between the Mesa Court parking lot and West Peltason Drive for the past three years, and has become a central hub for the UCI cycling community.

Servicing anywhere from 20-40 customers a day, the shop fixes flat tires, lubricates chains and brakes, and performs other basic maintenance services.

“We try to keep the prices down,” Bahneman says. “We also try to have a fast turnaround and provide same day or next day service, which is very difficult to find at other bike shops.”

A big part of the shop’s mission statement also includes community outreach, says Bahneman. This includes regular workshops that allow bikers to learn how to do basic work on their own bikes, such as fixing flat tires, derailleurs and brakes when out on a ride.

The shop also hosts communal rides every week to provide fun opportunities for students and local cyclists to find safety in numbers as well as discover local bike trails in a group setting. These include “Taco Tuesday” social rides, in which entry-level and beginning bikers can join a slow and easy ride with the purpose of searching within a 10-20 mile radius of the campus to find cheap tacos.

The Newport Beach location features a number of local rides as well, including a Coffee Crew ride on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“We want there to be a community feel for students to be able to use our resources,” Bahneman says. “We’ve had a lot of people donate magazines and books so that we have a sort of bike library here, and we like to keep a community board with maps and events and other information for interested cyclists.”

In addition, the shop sponsors the UCI Cycling team and serves as a sponsor for the Triathlon Club at UCI.

The shop workers help provide bikes and parts for the teams and extend shop space to help the teams with repairs.

“Just the other day I went home for lunch, turned on national television and saw Dustin McLardy, whose bike I worked on, winning a triathlon,” Bahneman says. “It’s really cool that we have such talented people in this community.

We have two UCI students claiming national titles, and not many people even know about it. Our goal is to help support them and the rest of the community.”

This week is National Bike to Work Week, and Orange County as well as the UCI Bike Shop are both more than willing to help you celebrate.

OCTA has recently upgraded the bike route maps of Orange County featured on their website. In addition, a number of events will be taking place during the week.

Monday’s events include a 5-kilometer bike rally hosted by OCTA, the driving force behind the local festivities.

The rally will go from the Orange Metrolink Station to OCTA Headquarters. A UCI-based bike rally is being held on Tuesday as an extension of Taco Tuesdays.

In addition, the store will be hosting Energizer Stations from Monday through Thursday, providing food, water, coffee, tea and basic tune-ups for commuters along with information, resources and a raffle for prizes.

“You’ll see Bike Shop workers in different locations around campus from 7-9 a.m. all week, or you can catch them at the shop from 10-4 p.m. all week as well,” Bahneman says.

Kurt hopes for more awareness about biking on campus and in the local community, and he maintains that Irvine has a “fantastic infrastructure” for more people to trade in their four-wheelers for two-wheelers.

“There are smooth, flat streets, and Irvine has the funding to be able to provide bike lanes,” Bahneman says. “In other places around Orange County, there are some gaps in bike lanes here and there, and some cities aren’t quite as bike-friendly. But riding in Southern California is always awesome because the weather is so great.”

In addition, he hopes for there to be more recognition for the Anteater cycling teams.

“They’re kind of off the radar,” he says, “but they’re really amazing. I think it’s important for students to know that there are very talented cyclists out there, rocking that Anteater Lycra, and racing hard.”

Be sure to check out www.octa.net/biketowork to receive coupons and a chance to win various prizes, as well as find more information about Bike to Work Week.