I remember working in the cafeteria as a food service worker at UC Davis in California and being amazed by all the college students on bikes. Then it dawned on me that I was at the Bicycle Capital Of America where so many people there ride bikes instead of driving.
Being raised in a car-crazed place such as the Bay Area, I started to think about the reasons why someone should ride their bike in college.
So what are the 11 reasons why you should ride a bike in college?
- Get to class quicker
- Relaxes the mind
- Better on the environment
- Skip The Parking Pass
- Good form of exercise
- Become Smarter
- Makes You Look Better
- Promotes socializing
- Bikes Carry Stuff Better
- Practical For Off-Campus Use
Many colleges in this country are becoming more conscious of the benefits that biking on campus could have not only for the environment but for the students that occupy them as well.
But many students that might feel coerced to travel by bike on campus may be hesitant to ride.
This may be due to physical issues or even a “what’s in it for me” attitude. I’m here to share with you how biking in college can give you an advantage, start your year off to a good start, and be encouraged to choose cycling over driving a car as a primary means of transportation.
1. Get To Class Quicker
Being on time to class is very crucial so you don’t miss vital instructions.
If your time is spent chasing down a parking space or getting stuck at a red light, that’s costing you precious study time, preparing for or getting ready to take that next mid-term.
Although many colleges allow biking on campus, there are still speed limits to adhere too for safety reasons.
One college student stated that if he took a bus to school it would take him 15 minutes.
If you live close to the college, say a mile or 4 miles, then most trips to class could take less than 5 minutes.
On the other hand, if you live more than 15 minutes away from college it may take you longer but when counting traffic lights and congested streets driving, you will still get to class a lot quicker.
Currently, the average cost to attend Universities are at an astonishing amount of 25k -34k a year in tuition. Also, if you include room, and board, food packages and books, you pretty much bought a house if not a downpayment.
If you walk or bike to college, it will cost you virtually nothing.
Riding your bike will save you tremendously from driving a vehicle. You’ll cut out the expenses of owning a car and the cost of keeping it insured. Bikes are also low maintenance and many repairs can be done by yourself.
Trading a car for a bike around college saves you on mileage cost.
The miles you put on a bike would save you 54 cents per mile in gas versus driving a car.
You’ll also save on depreciation wear and tear (maintenance).
Think about how much you’ll save from not having to pay gas! You might have to use some of your “own gas” to pump the pedals out to your next class.
But a little sweat equity developed while riding your bike won’t hurt anyone.
Trading convenience for cost savings can be the best thing when biking in college.
3. Relaxes The Mind
So how is it that riding in college relaxes the mind?
For most people in school, the mind is constantly racing to ensure we retained enough from either studying the night before, being prepared for a test, and or remembering meet a deadline.
That little time spent on the bike, even if it’s only for 10 mins or less between activities, frees your mind.
You will possibly feel more in tune with nature and refreshed from the air you’re breathing. Stress will be reduced.
It gives you a sense of freedom while riding a bike. So while putting the bike in motion, the mind is allowed to take it easy sort-of-speak.
4. Better For The Environment
When was the last time you heard a pedal-powered bicycle polluting the environment?
Most likely the answer is never. Sure you may hear of bicycle tires and rusty old bikes stacking up in some urban places and bikes shops but bikes themselves do not pollute the air.
Even then there are creators that take those bike materials and upcycle them into art or even wearables.
Since bikes are not cars and don’t consume fuel, the use of petroleum consumption and nonrenewable resources become significantly reduced.
Another pollutant that bikes have no part in is when new parking structures or spaces are developed. In order to create those parking spaces land, natural resources, and even animal life have to be cleared.
The productions of cars and parking spaces create pollutants that soil the ground and eventually permeate the air contributing to global warming.
Biking helps minimize animal habitat and reduce global warming.
5. Skip The Parking Pass
Cars can take up precious space on campus and therefore require a parking pass.
Just parking on UC Davis Campus was costing me $9 dollars a day. Purchasing a monthly parking pass amounted to $50 dollars.
Over a course of a semester or more, this can really add up.
Even though bikes are a little easier to park and don’t require a lot of space as cars do, you may still need a permit to have a bike on campus.
Most colleges have bike racks located in convenient spots.
Other colleges have luxury parking spaces just for bikes to protect them from harsh elements.
When you don’t have the cost of a car or need for a parking pass, this will put you at ease and any inconveniences you may have biking around campus far outweigh the cost if you didn’t bike to college.
6. Good Form Of Exercise
Many may know the benefits of riding a bicycle but yet fail to recognize just how beneficial it is for their mind, body, and well being.
If you would like to know about cycling being a good form of exercise, I invite you to read about it here.
There are more college universities that encourage biking as a primary mode of transportation and recreation.
The initiatives of colleges promoting this go beyond receiving accolades from investors and savings from reducing parking structures.
They want students to develop healthy habits. Cycling on campus is one way to encourage this.
Let’s say someone did not have time to go to the gym due to a busy school schedule or other priorities (work, family, financial constraints) and wanted to use cycling as a form of exercise.
Cycling takes very little time to set up and prepare to ride. Also, it’s mobile and eliminates the need for you to carve out time to go to a physical gym.
Another reason it’s a good form of exercise is that once you commit to riding more there is a possibility you will lose weight. I mention a possibility because there are other factors that promote weight loss.
Someone who bikes more vigorously than a causal ride could lose up to 1000 calories/hr in a 3-hour ride. This can equate to losing a pound of fat in a short amount of time!
7. Become Smarter
Now here’s an excellent reason you should ride a bike in college: become smarter
So how does riding a bike make you smarter?
Many would disagree, saying it’s impossible to equate biking with becoming smarter.
Take a moment to think outside the box, even though there are some things that are incalculable, such as health and productivity.
But consider the method to this madness.
Riding your bike to college instead of driving boost your mood and mental state.
I’m a fan of Tony Robbins statement, “change our state, change your mind”.
Engaging in physical activity changes your mind allowing you to work smarter and longer.
Also, the continuous blood flow that circulates, not just through the legs but the brain, helping you reach a level of focus and concentration.
8. Makes You Look Better
In addition to eating right and getting enough exercise, riding your bike outdoors can make you look younger.
Getting an efficient amount of sunlight has its pros and cons, but of the pros, sunlight may help heal some skin disorders. Too much sun, as the case with sunbathers, will be detrimental to your skin.
Another way cycling makes you look better is the effects of how it makes you feel. What you feel inside is sometimes shown on your face.
When cycling or doing any exercise, for that matter, the body releases feel-good hormones. The hormones shape how you feel, whether it’s a sense of happiness, accomplishment or excitement you will feel something.
Those feelings will, in turn, present itself in how you look.
Among looking younger and facial expressions of happiness, biking for exercise will tone your body and build certain muscles.
You may experience tighter abs, stronger thighs and cafe muscles. In women, especially, some may have a more shapely bottom.
All of these things add to looking better and can give someone a feeling of confidence too.
9. Promotes Socializing
Cycling could be a social boost for you provided you develop relationships with the fellow students in your class.
Perhaps you bump into the same person each time on your way to class and you happen to share small talk, that could be a beginning to a friendship. What would be even better is finding a special someone while riding your bike.
Cycling can help improve the bond between partners as long as you participate in the activity in a balanced fashion.
In addition, University of California researchers found that socializing releases the hormone oxytocin which can help balance moods.
Many colleges and advocacy programs provide meetups for bike commuters to ride together to common destinations.
Socializing also helps people live longer and reduces the risk of premature death versus those that don’t socialize or have many friends.
10. Bikes Carry Stuff Better
Wearing backpacks and purses will get old and uncomfortable after a while. Yet they are still a must if you want to carry the necessary books and supplies needed for college.
Here is where having a bike in college can be great for carrying things.
Although most bikes do not come with accessories for carrying stuff, you usually can find very inexpensive baskets or bike racks to attach to your frame.
Some creative minds would be just fine with a DIY basket made from an old milk crate.
Having a bike equipped with a basket or rack makes it even more practical for those grocery runs or taking packages to and from a post office.
11. Practical For Off-Campus Use
Exploring your city by bike is one of the best things you can do in your free time.
One of my favorite things to do is to “go off the beaten path” and discover what’s around me.I’m sure you can find some of the best bike riding destinations in your city off-campus.
Check out new restaurants, visit your local bike shop, find bike trails, and feel completely alive immersed in the moment.
Visiting a local bike shop can be a great resource if you want to find out the best routes and destinations by bike.
Joining a local bike ride would be even better for you to get to know the area and make new friends.
Before heading out, you want to make sure you know some of the laws and regulations in your city.
Since laws and regulations differ from state to state, the easiest way to find out what bicycle laws you need to know is to find the local bike advocacy group. Many of them have websites where you can quickly access information that will cover bike safety and rules of the road cycling in that particular city.
Also, if you are intimidated by cycling on the roads and streets then try to find a bike partner to come along with you. Having someone else along for the ride might put you at ease.
With an adventure ahead of you and new sights to see, biking off-campus will be an exciting endeavor.