Exercise, socialize on the bayou


Students and professors were seen riding their bikes through ULM’s campus, on Tuesday evening. At the canopy set in the parking lot of Brown Gym, the riders were given water and food to refresh them before and after the ride. Throughout the ride, the ULM police department followed the riders on their scooters to offer protection and guidance.

The idea for this event was introduced by the interim president of the university, Dr. Edward Litolff. He said that the idea first came to him when he noticed how many people were buying bikes from stores despite working remotely. Because of this, he introduced Bikes on the Bayou. The first ride happened a week before the commencement of the fall semester.

“This is an occasion for the students, staff and the Monroe community to get together and socialize. Aside from health benefits, bike riding is also a fun exercise. The event also made it possible for the participants to socially distance while enjoying themselves,” Dr. Litolff said.

A lot of faculty were spotted cruising the campus on their bikes like Dr. Pamela Saulsberry, Dr. Leigh Hersey along with her husband and Brooke Foy, who attended with her two daughters.

Dr. Pamela Saulsberry, the director of the School of Behavioral and social sciences, said that she attended the event because she loves bike riding. She also said that the event provided the participants with an opportunity to be educated outside the classroom.

“This event gives the students a chance to see the university’s administration as the human beings that they are and recognize their need to socialize. There should be a variety of events like this that reflects the diversity of our campus in all aspects like drive-in theatre as a kind of throwback set,” Dr. Saulsberry said.

Asja Jordan,  a communication advocacy graduate student, said although she arrived late, she enjoyed her limited time at Bikes on the Bayou.

“I love how the university is still continuing to find ways to get the campus and the community involved in a safe and socially distanced way despite the current pandemic situation,” Jordan said.

Asja said she would love to see similar events that involve outdoor physical activities, in the future, to promote the health of the campus..

Dr. Litolff suggested that it would be great if this event took place more frequently and that the event has the potential to be increased from a six-mile ride to a more challenging fifteen or twenty-mile ride.

In that case, the school could also adopt a way to supply the students with bikes so those that do not have bikes but still want to participate in the event can do so without limitations.

He also acknowledged that because of the hurricane, the shutting down of the university for a week and insufficient promotion, the turnout for students was lower than expected since a lot of students thought the event was canceled.