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10 Biking Tips For A College Student 

Freshman year in college may seem like a challenging time, but biking is a fun and easy way to explore campus and a great method of transportation. Biking is popular on college campuses, especially in small college towns, like the University of California, Davis.

I spent my freshman year in college relying on my bike to travel around campus. It was really convenient and I could explore so many more places just with my bike.

Here are 10 biking tips for college students.

1. Buy a bike lock

Don’t want to get your bike stolen, then remember to buy a bike lock. When there are lots of bikes around, then there tend to be lots of bike thefts around. To keep your bike safe from theft, a sturdy U-lock is necessary. Knowing how to use it is also very important. 

Locking your bike on the bike rack is also a skill that is very important to prevent bike theft. Remember to lock the frame of your bike and your wheels to the bike rack. If only the wheels of your bike are locked to the bike rack, the bike thief will steal the frame and leave the wheel behind. (Trust me, there are bike thieves who will do that.)

On a college campus, there are a lot of bikes, but thieves will target the bikes that seem easy to steal or worth a lot of money. Therefore, you should get a bike that is not too expensive so just with a simple u-lock, the bike would not get stolen. Using a u-lock has kept my bike from getting stolen during college.  

2. Learn to ride your bike before the school year starts 

Learning to ride your bike in a less populated environment is very important. Becoming comfortable with your bike makes it a lot easier to adapt to a bigger environment, the college campus. 

I learned how to ride my bike when I was younger and became really familiar with riding it because I rode it every day to school in high school. This really helped me when I started college. I was used to riding in open streets, so I adapted really well to the college campus because I was already familiar and comfortable with riding my bike. 

Get comfortable while riding your bike too. Don’t get shaky and lose your balance while riding your bike in a crowd of bikers. If you suddenly fall in a street full of bikers, there is a high chance that the bikers behind you will also fall. One of the ways to prevent this is to be comfortable riding your bike. Know how to balance yourself and the speed of biking that suits you. 

3. Be familiar with the gears and everything on your bike 

Even if you are comfortable with riding your bike, you also need to be familiar with the basic structure of your bike. Don’t ride around when your brakes are broken or have a flat tire. Know how to pump your bike when there’s a flat tire.

Knowing simple methods to fix bike problems is convenient so you don’t have to go to a bike mechanic whenever your bike breaks down. 

Keeping your brakes working is very important. Having functional brakes is very important for your safety, especially in an environment where there are a lot of people and a lot of occasions where you have to suddenly stop. 

know how your brakes work
Know your bike and how the gears work

4. Be familiar with your college campus before classes start 

A couple of days before the start of classes, you should explore your college campus and be familiar with the different routes to buildings and lecture halls. From my own experience, it really helped me when I went on foot to explore the campus and have a basic idea of where the different buildings are. 

Then, go around campus with your bike and plan a route you can use to get to classes. You should do this when the campus is empty and has fewer people on the streets so you can look at Google Maps and bike at the same time. Using Google Maps helped me a lot to find my way around campus and I relied on it a lot in my first year.

clemson university bike track
university bike track

5. Don’t ‘drive’ and text 

The same rules as driving a car on the streets. Don’t text or use your phone at the same time as riding your bike. There are a lot of people on the streets who are also riding their bikes, so for others’ safety and your own, you should be aware of your surroundings while riding your bike. Don’t multitask.

Also, remember to not use both earphones while riding your bike. With both earphones in, you become unaware and distracted from the environment around you. Especially when you are riding beside cars, you need to be aware of your surroundings and be able to listen to the commotion around you. If you listen to music while riding your bike, just plug one earphone in and leave the other ear-free.

biking and texting
biking and texting

6. Remember to wear a helmet 

Wearing a helmet is very uncomfortable but it saves lives and lessens injury. The brain is an important part of your body. It controls your actions, feelings, emotions, and thoughts. According to the studies that are done, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury when riding a bike by 85 percent.

wear a helmet while biking
wear a helmet while biking

7. Health benefits of bike riding  

After school starts, you will become very busy and have no time to go to the gym or go running on a daily basis. You will be swarmed with school work, club activities, and making new friends. Therefore, bike riding is an easy and convenient way to exercise. 

Studies have shown that there are many health benefits while bike riding. Bike riding is also an exercise that gets the heart pumping. It is also a cardio workout that uses works out your legs and core muscles without stressing the joints. 

I enjoy bike riding as an exercise better than going to the gym. While bike riding, you can enjoy the scenery around you, and exercising becomes more enjoyable and interesting. On the other hand, if you exercise in a gym, you are trapped inside a building without being able to enjoy sightseeing. 

8. Remember the rules of the road 

A lot of times if there are a lot of bikes on campus, the roads will be dominated by bikes. The rules of the road for biking are just like driving a car. Stay on the right side of the road if you know you will be riding slow and stay on the left side if you are going at a faster speed. Yield to pedestrians crossing the road. You can also signal to the bikers behind if you are planning to turn right or left. 

Remembering the rules of the road is very important because it protects yourself and others from getting into bike accidents. 

bike sign
Biking is no different from driving. image source: pixabay

9. Go explore campus with your friends 

Biking around campus with your friends is a very fun thing to do. Being familiar with your surroundings and biking together with others is something to do over the weekend in the early evenings to enjoy the sunset or other beautiful sights on campus. 

Getting familiar with the campus with a couple of friends is also a really good activity to do. Not only will you remember where the buildings for your classes are, but you will also be able to recognize other buildings on campus too. Remember that you are going to spend the next four years of your education on this campus, so getting to know it better will really help you in the future. 

For my college campus, I started to recognize more buildings and bike routes because I would go on occasional bike rides with my friends during weekends and breaks. Sometimes, you have to go outside yourself to find out the good places that are not on maps. I found a lot of my favorite places on campus like this. 

go biking with friends to see beautiful sights
Don’t go alone to enjoy beautiful sights, bring a friend! image source: pixabay

10. Remember that you are not the only one who’s new to biking 

Don’t be afraid that you will fall while biking or not know the roads of the campus. You are not the only one. Be confident in yourself. Everyone is always helpful and open to answering your questions about biking on campus. Don’t freak out before college starts and give up on learning how to ride a bike. Biking is not an easy task, but once you learn how, it becomes easier and fun. 

If you are able to use all these tips while biking on a college campus, then I can assure you that your experience will be exceptional!

By Chris Ruan

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