- The Washington Times - Monday, February 18, 2008

RIPON, Wis. (AP) — A tiny liberal arts college here hopes it has found an answer to a nagging shortage of campus parking: a bicycle giveaway.

If incoming freshmen promise not to bring a car to campus for a full year, Ripon College will give them a Trek 820 mountain bike, a helmet and a lock — a $400 value.

“We’re a residential college with a beautiful, historic campus in the middle of a small town,” said David Joyce, school president and an avid cyclist. “Paving it over was not an option I was willing to consider.”

He hopes the 1,000-student campus’ “Velorution Program” will protect it from building more parking lots. Last fall, for the first time in Ripon College history, the number of parking-permit applications exceeded the 400 permits available, Mr. Joyce said.

Friends, trustees and alumni donated about $60,000 to buy 200 bicycles to give away to an expected 300 incoming freshmen, said Cody Pinkston, a spokesman for the school.

About 100 freshmen typically arrive without cars, so accepting the bike will be a “no-brainer” for them, Mr. Pinkston said.

“There is not a strong bicycle culture here with students. That is what we are trying to engender.”

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