Ever have a hard time finding a parking space around town or especially on campus? Ever notice how the bicyclists just pedal up to the front door, strap a lock on in a few secs and walk right in?
Bicycle popularity is growing everywhere. Big cities around the world have bike share programs where riders can pay memberships for a day, week, month or year, making riding more convenient than ever. Gas prices keep going up, no problem, bike and save. Earthquake knocks out the traffic lights in D.C. and snarls traffic, no problem, bike around it. Bicycle enthusiasts make for a greener planet, healthier lifestyle and very often the easiest form of transportation, especially if you live on or near campus.
Choosing the right bike will depend on your riding style. “A mountain bike or hybrid bike (a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike) are typically best for commuting to class” according to Mid-America Regional Council (MARC). “Your bike should fit you. You should be able to stand over the frame with both feet on the ground. The seat should be positioned high enough for your legs to extend fully. Riding with the seat too low makes it harder to pedal.”
Bikes are available for $25 at garage sales, thrift shops and Goodwill. Some practical riders pick a nice high quality used bike and have it tuned up by an expert. The uglier the better, less chance of theft. Serious riders will spend several hundred if not thousands.
The MARC website had these tips for bicycle safety:
- Always wear a helmet.
- Many bicyclists carry a mobile phone for emergencies.
- If you ride 30 minutes before dusk or 30 minutes after sunrise, you should have a white headlight and rear reflector. A taillight, additional reflectors and reflective clothing can also make you more visible.
- Check the weather forecast before riding. Avoid riding in extreme weather conditions. Fenders and waterproof clothing are recommended for wet weather rides, and be especially cautious of breaking distances in slick conditions.
- Inspect your bicycle before and after each ride — tires, gears and brakes need to be in good working order every time you ride.
Get out and discover your options. Save your gas money, get in better physical condition and enjoy riding with your family and friends.
- On the bike for life (zakpegg.com)