This year, I no longer live on campus, meaning no more rolling out of bed 5 minutes before class to walk right next door to my classroom. However, not sharing a bathroom with an entire hall is worth waking up a little bit early. I still live walking distance from campus but it would be quite a lengthy walk so, i started riding my bike to school. I did much better at it in the first half of the semester but, once it started to get cold I chickened out and took the bus. I grew up riding my bike around my neighborhood and on fairly deserted back roads so it didn’t take me long to learn a few lessons about sharing the road with cars, busses, trucks, people and 18-wheelers. Most of this was learned from kind strangers offering their advice to me by shouting at me.
1. Wear a helmet:
I know i know, this is biking 101 but, i’m serious. Despite the fact that it is illegal in my town to ride your bike without a helmet and wearing a helmet can protect your from serious injuries if you don’t wear a helmet people will yell at you to put one on and it will be embarrassing. About 2 weeks ago a guy, in a car full of a bunch of people, rolled down his window and proceeded to lecture me on why i should be wearing a helmet. It was humiliating, needless to say I wear my helmet every time i ride my bike now.
2. Stop signs and stoplights are not optional:
I am not sure what the official biking etiquette is for this but, luckily I made the decision that when in doubt just follow standard driving laws. I made the right decision. One time I went through a stop sign and the driver coming from the other direction was not a happy camper about it. I didn’t cause him to stop or anything but i might have made it a little too close for comfort. If we want drivers to respect us bikers on the road we have to respect the drivers also. Also, try and stay off sidewalks. Especially on a college campus.
3. It’s a simple Math equation:
If getting to class on time is dependent on the amount of physical effort i have to put forth ( like riding uphill) i am going to be late….and i was late. At the beginning of the semester i did p90x for a few days…oh my goodness…I could barely walk down my stairs much less ride my bike at a decent speed. Also, if the way I am going to look for class is dependant on if i am riding my bike to school that day I am not going to look that good. I cannot ride my bike very efficiently in jeans so this semester i probably had a high percentage of wearing workout shorts and yoga pants. I am not complaining abou that. Okay thats enough math
4. Be confident:
Bikers own the road just as much as drivers do so don’t feel bad about making cars go around you. It is going to be a little awkward when drivers get annoyed with you, honk at you, try and talk to you or your friends wave at you from the bus and they are obviously giggling at you but, OWN IT! Your mode of transportation is wayyy cooler than riding the applecart (yes, that is the name of my towns public transportation).
5. It had Rewards:
Mostly it saves a bundle on gas and paying for parking which is always a reward but it was also rewarding receiving applause from my friends. I would pass my friends as they were walking around campus and they would seem so surprised by be riding my bike to school. One girl said, “wow you rode your bike all the way from your apartment?” It is really not that far but it feels good to have people acknowledge and encourage your efforts. I got a lot of “You Go Girl.” Sometimes it rained, sometimes it snowed and sometimes i left my bike on campus because it was just too darn cold to ride it home but, looking back i have loved every second of it. Way in my future I want my children to have the opportunity to ride their bikes to school because…well…why not?
Love ya always! Peace Out, HayUp