Keeping College Campuses Green…and Beautiful
By Tara R. McKee
Across America, college campuses are getting frustrated with morning traffic jams and overcrowded parking issues. Many universities are coming up with a solution in the form of a bicycle. When a college encourages students to cycle on campus by providing safe and secure bicycle parking as well as improved bicycle routes through campus, the numbers of students cycling to class goes up: a rather simple solution for a university’s traffic headaches.
There are so many reasons to leave the car behind and use a bike to commute to your college classes. I’ll give you six good ones:
1. You’ll save money and that’s always a good thing! (Add up the cost of gas, the cost of parking, wear and tear on your car, and take into account reduced insurance costs with lower yearly miles.)
2. You just might get to class faster depending on the local conditions if you take into account not having to park in the outer edges of student parking and then having to walk a good quarter mile or more to class. A cyclist can often find a bike rack right near her class and be spared a long walk across campus.
3. You’ll burn more calories riding your bike than driving a car. Your heart and lungs will also become stronger and healthier. Okay, those may seem a bit obvious, but becoming more fit is a nice perk!
4. Your carbon footprint with this environmentally friendly form of transportation is a nice round zero! Contrary to what Kermit the Frog said, it can be easy to be green!
5. You can enjoy the outdoors and your surroundings more. Notice the beautiful changing leaves of autumn, the first daffodils in the spring and other subtle changes in your neighborhood. You can relax and unwind from your day on the route home—enjoy some Zen moments.
6. During your morning commute you can wake up with the exercise of your ride and clear your mind –a definite plus before your classes. Research has demonstrated that exercise increases mental sharpness. Hey, if you do better in classes as a result, it is totally worth it!
The question is, can a girl dress up and still get there by bicycle? We can answer that with a resounding “yes!” Look for a bicycle with a chain guard and fenders to protect your clothing. Dress for the changing weather and should the weather forecast be a little iffy, pack a jacket, just in case! (Your mother would be proud!)
Does your college or university have a great campus with a burgeoning or established bicycle culture? Tell us about it and send us pictures of coeds on your campus dressing for school and having fun on their bicycles. We’d love to feature and focus on one college or university each month. Look for future articles with more tips and advice for commuting by bike.