Walking to class, you can see the always-full parking lots and Circle Road traffic, and bikers and skateboarders swiftly riding by. Now, would you rather have to pay thousands of dollars to lease a car and pay for gas weekly, or buy a bike for a few hundred dollars?
By riding a bike, you’re not emitting fossil fuels and carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. Scientists claim that the greenhouse effect is one of the direct causes of global warming. Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is a direct contributor to negatively affecting the atmosphere. Riding your car from your dorm to the Student Activity Center releases carbon dioxide. Even if you commute by car, or dorm and have your car on campus, consider renting a bike for a few hours to get from class to class. Ride a bike — it’s a little step that counts toward the big picture.
Owning or renting a bike on campus is pretty affordable. I bought my bike in October 2017 for $300 and it hasn’t needed any maintenance so far. If you go home for the summer or to another state, you don’t have to worry about dragging your bike on an airplane or a cramped car ride. The university offers bike lockers by the SAC or the LIRR stop that cost $60 with a $40 refundable key deposit for the whole year. My locker saved my bike from the snow over winter break and spring rainstorms. The lockers are first-come first-serve, so make sure to grab one immediately. If you don’t want to pay for a locker, there are bike racks all over campus to park and lock your bike.
If you don’t want to worry about your own bike, you can rent a campus bike through the Wolf Ride Bike Share program. Students can rent one of 78 bikes for free for an hour from any of the 12 bike stations across campus with their student ID. If you rent the bike for over an hour, there is a $2 fee and then for every additional hour, the fee doubles itself (three hours would cost four extra dollars and four hours would cost eight extra dollars). Faculty and visitors can also use the bikes by having the option of paying a fee annually, monthly or weekly to take unlimited one hour trips on the bikes.
Besides costs, riding your bike to class saves the atmosphere from being damaged and gets you to class quicker. Walking is a solution too, but it is not as efficient. I live in Roosevelt Quad, and it normally takes me five to six minutes to walk to the SAC. When riding my bike, I get there in two to three minutes. I can leave my dorm later, giving me a few extra minutes to sleep or write the last few sentences of my homework.
Every person is recommended a minimum of two and a half hours of physical activity per week, which is about 21.4 minutes of exercise per day. Biking to class, the library, your dorm and even to your car at South P brings you closer to this recommended amount. As students, we also minimize our contribution to carbon emissions if we ride our bikes more. Riding a bike causes no pollution and does not release fossil fuels or greenhouse gases. Meanwhile, a typical passenger car releases 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Bikes may require manual labor to power them, but they are less likely to be involved in accidents. Besides safety features, cars can have costly mechanical and electrical issues. The only issues you may run into with a bike are rusting and with the bike chains. With proper care, these issues can be avoided for years, and are not too expensive to fix. Having a bike on campus to travel short distances would be better than owning a car. Substituting driving with riding a bike is a small yet significant step in protecting our environment.