By: Mia Myklebust
Many schools today are encouraging students to bike rather than drive. Bikes are a great way to get to and from campus as well from class to class once you are there. Almost all campuses have bike racks where you can lock your ride, and some schools, like San Diego State University, have even created bike lanes on campus specifically for students on wheels.
Your first step when thinking about biking at college is to choose a bike friendly campus. The League of American Bicyclists puts together a list each year of the most bike friendly campuses in the county. The list is determined by a panel of national bicycle experts and gives schools a rating of Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze or Honorable mention. According to the League’s website, the colleges are evaluated based on engineering, encouragement, education, enforcement and evaluation/planning.
Below are the top 12 schools on the Bicycle Friendly Universities Master Awards List for 2012!
1. Stanford University
2. University of California, Davis
3. University of California, Santa Barbara
4. Boise State University
5. California State Long Beach
6. Colorado State University
7. Georgia Institute of Technology
8. Northern Arizona University
9. Oregon State University
10. Portland State University
11. University of Arizona, Tuscon
12. University of California, Irvine
Road bikes are best for going fast on paved roads. This is the type of bike you would most likely find Lance Armstrong riding, so if you’re serious about biking, consider getting yourself one of these light framed bikes. Mountain bikes are another great choice. They are not as fast as road bikes but provide a more comfortable ride. They are normally used for off-road biking, but can also be ridden in urban settings.
Hybrid bikes are a marriage between road and mountain bikes. They are best for city riding and are most often recommended for college campuses. However, if your school is by the beach, a cruiser might be for you. These bikes have a classic style frame and were extremely popular in the 1930’s to the 1950’s. They have seen a revival in recent years and are a more inexpensive alternative to mountain and road bikes. If you’re feeling adventurous you could try out the trendy fixed gear bike. But beware, these puppies often times do not have brakes and are only one speed.
Always remember to practice good bike safety!
One of the most important things to remember when biking is to lock up your bike. Use a strong U-lock, combine a cable and a U-lock, or even use two U-locks, when securing your bicycle. Don’t use a cable lock; bike theft is very common with these type of locks because they are so easy to cut. Remember to always lock your bike when at home, according to the National Bike Registry. Although it might seem unlikely, most bikes are actually stolen right from people’s homes.
More bike safety tips include:
-Wear a helmet every time!
-Use reflectors if riding at night.
-Give pedestrians the right of way.
-Learn and use traffic safety signals.
-Bike with traffic, not against it.
-Be careful at intersections. Make sure you slow down and look out for oncoming and turning cars.
– Take care of your bike by taking it for regular service visits at your local bike shop.
-Carry a mobile phone for emergencies and make sure you know where the emergency stations are throughout your campus.
Check out our Colleges pages for photos and information about specific colleges. Happy biking!