As a college freshman, I don't have a car with me at school. Back at home, my two sisters and I shared a car, so it wasn't going to be fair if somebody got to bring the car to school with them. I haven't driven a car in over a month, and I haven't missed it, although, I was never a fan of driving.
It's not as if I need a car. Campus is very navigable, and everything I need is right here on campus. The downtown area is in walking distance if I want to escape campus to eat out, go shopping, or take in a movie.
Although I don't mind walking, I'd much rather bike. I'm so so so glad my dad convinced me to bring my bike with me. It's such a timesaver! I can leave my dorm 10 minutes before class instead of 20 if I ride my bike. I can be on time for tightly scheduled classes with my bike. I can make it to the library (my second home) in 3 minutes on my bike. I can bike to the Walgreens downtown in 90 degree heat in pursuit of Tollhouse cookie dough on my bike (Yes, that happened.) I LOVE MY BIKE!
I'm so lucky that Mizzou, and the city of Columbia as a whole, is so bike friendly. There's an abundance of bike racks around campus, so finding a place to lock up your bike is easy. There's also several bike "service stations" around campus that provide access to bike tools and air for bike tires. Most of the roads on campus are extra wide so that bike traffic can ride along the sides. Many of the streets in Columbia have individual bike lines, especially on extremely busy stretches of road.
Back at home, I really only viewed my bike as a way to get exercise. I would go on bike rides almost every morning, but never used my bike as a form of transportation. Now that I've used my bike as my primary form of transportation, I definitely prefer it over traveling in a car (at least for short distances).
I think I was also inspired by my trip to The Netherlands and Belgium this summer. In The Netherlands, there are more bikes than there are people. In the cities, there are bike lanes everywhere. In cities such as Amsterdam, it is easier (and more economically) to navigate the city by bike.
Besides using my bike to get around campus, I'm also planning on using it to take recreational rides. My mom visited last weekend, and we took a bike ride to a nearby trail at a park. We had a great ride!
The only downside is that a lot of my friends don't have bikes, so they can't go on rides with me. However, I think that's changing at the end of the month when my roommate Erin and my friend Kelsie are both getting bikes.
Mizzou has done a great job of providing a safe environment for bike riders, including safety education, bike registration, and free bike repairs. I wouldn't want to navigate campus any other way!
P.S.- Speaking of safety, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE wear a helmet when you bike. It doesn't matter how fast or slow you are going or where you are riding, or how skilled of a rider you are. It only takes a matter of seconds to catch the edge of a curb, hit gravel, or be involved in a traffic accident. Wearing a helmet might not be the most attractive, but it can save you from a serious head injury. I fell off my bike in Belgium this summer, and I'm so lucky I was wearing a helmet when it happened. I hit a brick wall and could have suffered a serious head injury.
In the spirit of my love for biking, I've compiled some cute bike-inspired items:
Do you bike a lot? Did you bike a lot in college? If you're a current student, do you have a bike with you on campus?
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