To bike or not to bike?
The pros and cons of alternative transportation on campus.
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 12:10
Did you know as many as 730,000 Americans ride a bicycle to work? In Rochester, an estimated 846 of nearly 211,000 people bike to work. By the year’s end, there should be close to 17 miles of sharrows (bike lanes) in the city of Rochester.
Many students here at Brockport have chosen biking as an alternative to walking to class. Riding a bike can get you to class faster, work your leg muscles and is environmentally friendly. However, with the benefits of biking, there are also many negatives.
With the increase in the number of bikers, finding a spot to leave your bike is getting increasingly difficult. This is due to the fact that not all buildings have bike racks, forcing some students to lock their bikes to various light poles, railings, etc.
Alternative routes are often necessary, due to obstacles on campus bike riders must avoid. For example, stairs prohibit the use of bikes. As a result, bikers must use another route, which has the potential to increase travel time.
A major con of riding a bike is weaving through all the pedestrian traffic on campus. Throughout the day, the sidewalks are covered with pedestrians.
Also, as the seasons change, riders will need to make adjustments to conform to the weather. Students who bike have to deal with wet bike seats after it rains, which is a very common form of precipation in Brockport. Snow will soon fall, and sidewalks will ice over, which increases the dangers of riding a bike to class.
If proper safety measures are not taken, such as wearing a helmet, serious injury could result. On average, 240 bicyclists were injured on roadways in Monroe County between the years of 2006-10.
Another challenge bike riding presents is actually owning a bike. If you don’t already have a bike, they can be expensive to buy.
For students who can’t afford to buy a bike, the fast TRAX bike borrowing program is available April through October. Bikes can be signed out with an Eagle One ID card and a bike rental agreement and are available at the Conrad Welcome Center, Union, McFarlane Hall, Benedict Hall and Mortimer Hall. Each bike is issued with a lock and helmets can be rented as well.
Transporting bikes to school from home and vice versa can also present a challenge to riders. A bike rack would also be a necessary purchase in this case.
Despite the numerous downfalls to riding a bike, there are also many positives. One example is the health benefit.
Riding a bike can build and tone legs and glutes, as well as raise your heart rate, giving the rider a cardio workout.
Riding a bike to class may also influence students’ decisions later in life to be more environmentally friendly.
Freshman Emma Wisotzke said she thought riding a bicycle on campus is beneficial.
“I can get to class much faster and get much more of a workout than walking would give me,” Wisotzke said.
She said finding a place to park her bike is only a problem if she doesn’t leave for class early.
She also said she feels like she is helping the environment by choosing to start biking now, creating healthy habits which she will continue to do in the future.
“I feel like because I bike now, I won’t need a car on campus in future years here,” she said.
Overall, biking can be both beneficial and challenging. If bikers are willing to deal with a few minor complications here and there, and they are looking to improve their health through biking, then it’s worth their time and effort.