A celebration of bicycling: DHS students leave lasting legacy with library bike rack

DOVER — Three dozen or so cyclists who gathered in front of the Dover Public Library were only there briefly to celebrate the city’s fifth annual Bike to Work Day on Wednesday morning.

However, Dover High School senior Andrew Glasser and several of his classmates were there for a different reason — to leave a permanent imprint in the form of a new, fancy bike rack in front of the facility at 35 Loockerman Plaza.

The Glasser teen’s design, which was his classmates’ chosen entry to a bike-rack competition held by Dover’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Subcommittee, was selected as the contest’s winner.

His design, along with his classmates’ input, helped the winning project receive a $3,700 small grant from Restoring Central Dover, which made it a reality as well as a permanent fixture in front of the library.

Dover officials are hoping to put more bike racks designed just like it throughout key locations in the city.

Dover High School senior Andrew Glasser, who developed the main design for the new bike rack at the Dover Public Library, talks to some of his classmates prior to Wednesday morning’s ribbon-cutting. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

One ‘cool’ project

“It’s awesome,” said Andrew, a senior at DHS. “It’s pretty cool to see something that we worked on and we all put a pretty good amount of time on it and it’s actually here in physical form.

“It’s cool because you sit there and you do stuff for your school and everything and it’s kind of more like an assignment, and then it turns into something for the community. I think it’s really awesome.”

Francis Cutrona, who teaches Computer-Aided Drafting classes at Dover High School, tipped his hat to Capital School District Superintendent Dan Shelton for steering his students into the competition.

The new bike rack that sits outside the front of the Dover Public Library was a collaboration amonng teacher Francis Cutrona’s Autocad class at Dover High School.

“We looked at it and the kids got together and said, ‘Yeah, that’s a good thing we ought to try,’ because AutoCAD 3 students have special projects to work on and this is one that they choose to do,” Mr. Cutrona said.

He added, “The way we worked it is each one of them put in their own design and then each of them critiqued the design and we narrowed it down to two. Then, they (voted) again and they narrowed it down to one and we took that one and modified it to fit the standards that the city wanted.”

What they got was a 16-foot-wide bike rack topped with a canopy painted in Arno blue and golden beige. Naturally, it features a colonial figure in its design, paying homage to the Senators, Dover High’s mascot.

There were 11 students involved in the bike rack design project and they worked on it periodically for at least a semester, along with all of their other school work.

“It feels amazing,” said Raj Patel, a member of Dover’s CAD team. “It was actually Andrew’s design and then as a group we put some more stuff together. Now, whenever we pass by the library, we’re going to see that Senator bike rack.”

Taking it to the streets

The Bike to Work event drew quite a few visitors to the Dover Public Library for some refreshments on a perfect Wednesday morning.

Carolyn Courtney, of the city’s Parks & Recreation Bicycle/Pedestrian Subcommittee, said Wednesday morning’s perfect 70-degree temperatures and sunny skies were a welcome sight for its fifth annual Bike to Work social Wednesday.

“Our first year we had about 20 riders and the second year we increased to about 32, but then we had a couple of years of rain,” Ms. Courtney said. “This has definitely been our best year between the weather, the riders and the ribbon-cutting for the bike rack. It was a good time.”

There were free T-shirts, bike-related information and light refreshments included for all of the cyclists that took part in the event, which is a part of National Bike to Work Month.

The city hosted a pair of group rides to the library, one from the old Dover High School location on Pat Lynn Drive and another from the Delaware Department of Transportation.

John Fiori, bicycle coordinator for DelDOT, took the ride from his work complex with around a dozen of his co-workers to the library.

“It’s a fun event to promote healthy bike riding for work, just healthy fun and safe bike riding,” Mr. Fiori said. “It’s just fun to get out with the co-workers and friends and just have a nice time.

“It’s nice to get outside, but make sure you know the rules of the road, are alert and aware of your surroundings. Just follow the rules of the road and you’ll be safe.”

That was the primary message of Wednesday’s event, according to Ms. Courtney, to let people know that they can take to the roads in Dover on the bicycles and be safe.

Sometimes just getting back on that bicycle for the first time in a while is all it takes to begin a healthier lifestyle, she said.

“You can just get on your bike and ride to work, or ride to the supermarket for a couple of items, or ride with a group of friends just for an evening exercise to get out and do something,” said Ms. Courtney. “Plus, once you buy your bike there’s not a lot of cost involved — so that’s also a good thing.

“We’re just trying to bring more awareness overall between the biking and pedestrian issues in the city of Dover and we’re trying to promote it more and getting more people involved.”

The Computer-Assisted Design students at Dover High School definitely did their part.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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