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Vera Mahoney

Oahu

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On a sunny morning, you may see Vera Mahoney riding her bike from her home in Pālolo Valley down Kapahulu Avenue and along the Ala Wai Canal to her job in Waikiki. When asked if it’s tiring to bike to work, Vera -- a senior Public Health major at the University of Hawai (UH) at Manoa -- only shrugs. “I kill two birds with one stone,” she explains. “I can get exercise without having to go to the gym, I’m lessening my impact on the planet, and I am commuting at the same time.” The benefits are twofold. “Biking makes me feel good physically and emotionally,” she says.

Vera lives a car-free lifestyle. When she doesn’t feel like biking, or if it’s raining, she rides TheBus to school, coffee shops, and the beach. As a UH student, she rides TheBus for free using a complimentary university-issued U-Pass. Vera finds that a car-free lifestyle comes with less stress, responsibility, and expense than owning a car entails. Instead of worrying over the hassle of traffic or public city parking, she uses map apps to plan her trips on the bus in advance.

Yet many of Vera’s friends are afraid of riding a bike on public roads because of safety concerns over inadequate infrastructure. To remedy her friends’ anxiety, Vera plans to join UH Manoa’s bike club and write letters about bike lane improvements to Oahu government officials in the fall semester—promoting clean energy and making Honolulu a safer place at the same time.

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Image of Hikers with their backs toward the camera