For the next month, thirsty pedestrians at UCSB that buy themselves a Coca-Cola can possibly ride away with a free beach cruiser bicycle.

Three winners were drawn Friday in the free beach cruiser bike giveaway, sponsored by UCen Dining Services and Coca-Cola. Jenny Magruder, Melissa Ruiz and a third person, whom UCen Dining Services has been unable to contact, received certificates for Micargi beach cruiser bicycles redeemable at Varsity Bike Shop on Pardall Road. Friday was the first drawing for the contest, which is open to everyone and runs through May 2.

Customers at the Corner Store, the store at Buchanan and the temporary Arbor store are eligible to win one of the nine remaining bikes, each worth $130, with the purchase of a Coca-Cola product. These products include Coca-Cola sodas, Minute Maid juices, Dasani water and Powerade. After purchasing one of these items, cashiers give customers one card per Coca-Cola product on which to write their names and phone numbers. Three winners, one from each store, will be drawn every Friday.

Coca-Cola and the UCen Dining Services contacted George Misbeek, owner of Varsity Bike Shop, to participate in the giveaway. Misbeek supplied 12 beach cruisers for this quarter.

“It’s the best bike for students,” Misbeek said. “Most students here just want cruisers anyway because [the terrain] is so flat. It’s a low-maintenance bike.”

Misbeek said the certificates for the $130 bikes can also be used toward the purchase of a more expensive model.

This is the third giveaway contest sponsored by UCen Dining Services and Coca-Cola this year. During the fall, 15 bikes, also supplied by Varsity Bike Shop, were given away. At the same time, redeemable certificates wrapped around bottles were won through vending machines. Near the end of Winter Quarter, several 15GB iPods (worth $300 each), digital cameras and personal digital assistants were prizes. Lance Heather, UCen Dining Services convenience store manager, said the giveaways are meant to be a show of customer appreciation, not a marketing ploy.

“We don’t want it to be a marketing thing for Coke,” Heather said. “I want it to be something where students win cool things for shopping in our stores.”

Heather said he did not think the promotion itself was increasing Coca-Cola sales. The Corner Store received about 560 entries during the first week of the contest, but the temporary Arbor store and the store at Buchanan received significantly fewer sales.

“Only a few people will fill out the card – about two out of 10,” said Kamryn Hafer, a senior sociology major who works at the store at Buchanan.

Heather said this was also the case for the electronics giveaway during winter quarter. He said that the Corner Store only received about 60 to 100 entries per day.

Heather said the contest was successful because it drew a positive student response.

“It’s been a great program because I get to hand these certificates to these kids that win,” Heather said. “It’s not ‘you’ve won a million dollars,’ but every one of them are still stoked. It’s always nice to get something for free.”

Many students around campus are excited about the contest.

“If you’re gonna buy a Coke, you might as well get something in return,” senior sociology major Spencer Fraley said.

Misbeek agreed that the contest was appealing.

“For a buck and a quarter you can get a $130 bike,” Misbeek said.

UCen Dining Services is hoping to hold a fourth giveaway contest later this quarter. Heather said another bike giveaway is possible.

“We got a very good response, especially during fall,” Heather said. “We’re gonna probably keep doing it.”