Riding a bike

A Virginia Tech student rides their bike across the Drillfield, Oct. 1, 2019.

Although it may seem like a downgrade, the transition of switching from a car to a bicycle may be one of the best decisions you can make in your time at Tech. It can take some time to find a transportation method that works for you, but here’s why bicycling is the best way of commuting to campus.

The Tech campus itself is gigantic and it can be a chore to get from one side to another. It’s even more of a hassle to commute there daily. This creates a unique problem for students in which method they choose to get to and around campus. Many choose to drive or take the bus, some even take to walking the whole way. There are some however, that choose compact personal transportation such as bicycles, skateboards or electric scooters. Many of these people are taking full advantage of Blacksburg's biking infrastructure.

Blacksburg is a bike-friendly town to begin with. There are plenty of roads that have separate or shared bike lanes. This makes it so much easier to get around as you are not having to constantly lookout for pedestrians on the sidewalk. There are also plenty of cyclists on the road so our presence is well known, meaning that a driver won’t be caught off guard when they see a cyclist on the road, since they know to keep an eye out for them. Unfortunately it’s not always the same case for pedestrians and even other cyclists sometimes.

“I am an overall safe and experienced cyclist. I’ve spent copious hours cycling thousands of miles, and in that time, I have picked up general modicums of common sense –– watch where you’re going, maintain overall alertness, etc. –– all of which seem to be flouted by a majority of the cyclists surrounding Virginia Tech,” said senior business information technology major Brenna Rodgers.

In terms of campus itself, there are bike lanes on almost every street. Another added convenience are the bike racks found all throughout campus; many of them are even covered so your ride stays dry during the rain. Even the buses have bike racks which you can use if you feel too tired to bike.

These conveniences make it easier to ditch the car, and in many ways, the bus as well. The hassle of parking is gone. You no longer have to get to the bus stop way ahead of time. No waiting for the bus to pick up others, traffic or time checks.

With cycling, your transportation is under your control. As time goes on and you become more experienced, you’ll get used to the bike seat, and the soreness you’ll initially feel will go away. You may even notice that your sleep might improve as well, because you’ll get two workouts each day biking to and from campus.

Not everything is perfect, though. There are some annoyances you will encounter sooner or later. You will end up sweaty in general, and there isn’t much protecting you from the elements so you'll end up drenched in the rain from time to time. Hills are also brutal on bikes and you’ll learn to hate and avoid them when possible. 

At the end of the day, it may be physically demanding and uncomfortable at times, but every moment is spent on moving toward your destination, and there is no waiting or relying on others to get to where you need to go. If you’re in a similar boat and want to take matters into your own hands, time to start pedaling.

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