Two-wheel drive

Arielle Leitner

Photo By Sarah Rich

Arielle Leitner is not your average 17-year-old. Along with attending classes, both at Chico High School and at Chico State, Leitner helped put together the Bike for the Future program. This week-long campaign, held April 3-7, helped reduce the number of cars used by promoting bike-riding as an alternative for high school students. Each morning during the campaign, students who rode their bikes to school got tickets from Chico State’s Associated Students Environmental Affairs Council. With the tickets, the students could win prizes. As the campaign ended, we caught up with Leitner for more details about Bike for the Future.

What is the Bike for the Future program?

It’s a program to encourage students to not use gas, mainly by biking, and it’s to reduce the amount of pollution, lower gas prices and to reduce the impact of oil on our foreign policy.

How do you feel about the traffic problem in Chico?

I feel like we should all try to reduce it by not driving.

Do you ever drive anywhere?

Only if I have to. Other than that, I bike.

What inspired you to create this program?

It was started to try to get kids to not use gas, starting with our “Bike on Thursdays” [program]. And some teachers would organize their entire class into carpools.

Do you plan to spread Bike for the Future to other schools?

I would like to, and I want to organize a second annual one at Chico State. Next year, I’ll be at Chico State [with] the people that helped me work at Chico State, so with them I’ll go back to the high schools and reorganize the second annual one.

How will people be able to get involved next year?

The people at the high school will help mobilize it. Hopefully getting more out-of-school publicity will encourage the community at large to participate. We want them to bike, too, which will have an ever bigger impact.