Pedal power

Funded by the Sustainability Projects Fund, McGill Spin Bike Gardens offer people the chance to pedal away their stress without leaving the campus
McGill Spin Bike Gardens, are located at four locations at the downtown and Macdonald campuses

When the Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF) was established in 2009, it was an experiment.

The idea was simple: Promote a culture of sustainability across McGill by providing seed funding for grassroots sustainability projects that address everything from energy savings to social justice. (Each student would pay 50 cents per credit, which the administration would match dollar for dollar.) Members of the McGill community, including students, staff and faculty, would be welcome to apply for funding for their projects big and small.

Ten years, and $7 million in funding, later, it’s safe to say the experiment has been a huge success.

On October 10, the SPF will celebrate its 10th anniversary as the largest fund of its kind in Canada.

In the ten days leading up to October 10, the McGill Reporter is highlighting 10 of the more than 200 projects that have been supported by the SPF.

Today’s project: McGill Spin Bike Gardens

Sustainability does not concern only the visible, external world. Our internal world, notably our mental health, also needs nourishment and sustenance.

For the last three years, the McGill Spin Bike Gardens, installed at four locations at the downtown campus, have helped McGillians’ physical and psychic health by providing exercise corners.

Launched in 2016 with financing from the Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF), the project aims to dispel the misconception that exercise is difficult, time-consuming and focused on burning calories and attaining a sculpted body. In fact, the Spin Bike Gardens are designed to create a culture change on campus, making spinning attractive and accessible, a tool to improve one’s mood and sense of well-being.

Quiet magnetic-resistance bikes are strategically placed in semi-private corners amid plants and soothing art and are located close to where students and staff are working, making them easily attainable for a quick cardio workout. The SPF seed financing made it possible to design the surrounding gardens and buy the bikes, fans, plants, art and other supplies.

Train your body, refresh your brain

Instead of trekking to an expensive gym and spending one or two hours of scarce time, McGillians can jump on a spin bike for 15 minutes or so in their street clothes, taking a quick, beneficial break from reading, writing or any other task. A nearby washroom, water fountains and paper towels are at the ready. The spin bikes are available to any McGillian, whether they are seasoned workout veterans or neophytes who do not self-identify as physically active or sporty.

Mental health is a pressing issue. Students, staff and faculty can feel overwhelmed at times, and exercise is a proven remedy to improve one’s mental outlook as well as physical health.

An exercise session of any length is an effective tool known to boost wellbeing, self-esteem, alertness, focus, mood and general mental health.

If you or anyone you know suffer from mental health issues, please do not suffer in silence. The Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is a confidential information, counselling and referral service available to employees, their spouses, and their dependent children.

Watch the short video on McGill Spin Bike Gardens