Scores of Stanford students are ditching their wheels for “No Bike Wednesdays”

Oct. 18, 2022, 9:31 p.m.

As a part of the “No Bike Wednesday” initiative, scores of Stanford students abandon their bikes every Wednesday, choosing instead to walk everywhere. No Bike Wednesday was founded last year by Jake Katz ’25 after one of his friends got into a bike accident on a Tuesday during Katz’s frosh fall. The next day, Katz lent the friend his bike, opting to walk to class instead.

“On a random Wednesday, I happened to be bike-less, and I made it to the end of my day,” Katz said. “I was just kind of like ‘huh, it was a very good day.’ I started to try and think about why or what was different.”

His day provided the inspiration for No Bike Wednesday, helping students “slow down” in the middle of the week. On Wednesdays, participants forgo their bikes and take the time to walk everywhere instead, whether with friends or alone. Katz said hundreds of students participate every Wednesday.

According to Willow Herz ’25, who is the No Bike Wednesday West Campus Outreach Officer, “Wednesday is an opportunity to stop and smell the roses.”

“We’ve definitely all felt the Stanford pressure and the need to be going from point A to point B really quickly,” which biking exacerbates, Herz said.

In contrast, the slow pace of walking allows students to “take a minute to enjoy and appreciate being on this campus. Just slow down, even if it’s for 15 minutes a day,” Herz said. “I’ve definitely found an appreciation for just being with myself for 20 minutes as I walk to class.”

For Lishan Carroll ’25, who participates in No Bike Wednesday every week, the movement is a “form of self care,” and even inspired her to leave her bike at home this year.

“As someone who grew up in the Bay Area, I feel like everyone around me has always had a very fast–paced mindset where tangible productivity equals your worth,” Carroll said. “I wanted a way to slow down my day and move away from that mindset.”

Participants in “No Bike Wednesday” are encouraged to film their day of walking for the initiative’s Instagram page, which has over 300 followers.

“I also really love seeing everyone’s vlogs on the Instagram account – it brightens my day to see and hear from people in the community,” said Carroll. The most popular video, which features Katz, has over 2,000 views.

However, not everyone is on board with walking everywhere on Wednesdays. One of the main concerns is the efficiency of walking as opposed to biking. While Herz supports walking, she said she recognizes the pressure of time constraints. According to Herz, a bike ride from Governor’s Corner to Main Quad takes five minutes, compared to 20 to 30 minutes walking.

Especially if they only have 10 minutes between classes, some students fel that No Bike Wednesday is unrealistic.

“It’s midterm week this week so it’s really important for me to get to places on time this week,” said Trish Nova ’26. “I would not make it to office hours on time if I had to walk, but biking gives me an extra 15 minutes of working on psets and I’ll still be on time. I love the idea; it’s just not super feasible for me right now.”

Speaking to nonparticipants, Katz said to “give it a shot” as the benefits might outweigh the challenges of walking. No Bike Wednesday can also help students find a new community, Katz said, as participants often run into each other walking and can take the time to check in and have conversations, as opposed to quickly biking past with only a wave or a smile.

Katz expressed hopes that No Bike Wednesday will reach more students in the future and become a Stanford tradition. He encouraged all students to try No Bike Wednesdays for themselves to see how it affects their mental health and daily life.

“I take on a lot, and I think that’s true for a lot of people at Stanford, whether it’s academically, socially, whatever – there’s a lot of pressure,” Katz said. “It might be like, ‘if I do that, then I’m just going to have less time in my day and be more stressed out,’ but a nice walk to clear your head can actually do a lot. When you’re forced to slow down, you can just be a little bit more decided about how you’re going to go through your day.”

Lauren is a contributing writer for the sports section. You can contact her at sports 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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