A study by Scientific American in 1973 concluded that while humans sit quite low on the spectrum of most energy efficient animals, a human on a bicycle is more efficient at transporting itself than any other animal on earth.
If only said human on a bicycle did not keep running into other humans on bicycles. And arriving to class 30 minutes late because it thought “oh sure, Clark is like a stone’s throw away. I have time to catch up on South Park.”
For those who have already explored all extraneous routes around campus, the following might be a little redundant. Still getting the hang of it all? Habitually late? Please continue.
From the North Side
For those living in the north side dorms from Parmelee to Westfall, the morning commute can be quite a drag. At peak times, all those bikers and pedestrians funneling down from Plum Street onto the sidewalk cause some serious congestion. The worst problems occur at the four way intersection west of the lagoon, where bikers are left guessing who has the right of way while weaving between everyone else.
But, these problems can avoided all together. Westfall resident Travis Bever recommended that bikers “get on the trail that goes past the Rec Center and then continue up that” to get to the center of campus. From there, you can get to the LSC, Morgan Library and Clark building. The road runs between the Rec and Moby arena and can shave precious minutes off your commute.
When headed to the Oval, stay off the road and take the bike path parallel to the Transit Center. Go down the ramp and the path continues after the school store the rest of the way, running north of the Engineering building.
From the South Side
Bikers up on the north side of campus have the advantage of being slightly uphill. For the residents of the dorms from Edwards to Braiden, the many four way stops trafficked by cars just add to the morning stress.
Ingersoll resident Adam Hooker recommended cutting across the Intramural Fields to get to the Engineering building faster. Instead of taking the sidewalk all the way up to the Rec, just cut through the grass. The same can be done when the destination is the LSC or Morgan Library.
When making a class at the Micro, Chem and Behavioral Sciences buildings, it is always faster to take West Pitkin Street, according to Kyle Knibbe from Edwards Hall.
Avoiding dismount zones often adds time to a commute rather than saving it for south campus travelers. The fastest way to the oval is by crossing Center Avenue Mall, then slipping between the Comp. Sci. and Glover buildings.
General Tips & Safety
Like at the IM fields, cutting corners saves time. Watch for beaten down tracks in the grass like at the park north of the Education building or in the treeline west of the lagoon. If confronted with a staircase, look around. This is the age of equal opportunity; a ramp must not be far away.
Equally important to your ETA is making sure you do not fracture your skull, or someone else’s. Pedestrians cannot be expected to keep track of their surroundings on a bike path the same way they are when crossing a street. “I’m from Texas and we don’t ride bikes there,” said Newsom resident Emily Stewart. Remember that bikes are silent and fast, and can come up on people unexpectedly.
Some students have taken to using hand signals as a stand in for blinkers. While this system works in some instances, it can cause further confusion in others. “I think its helpful to the people who recognize them, but the problem is I don’t know if everybody even knows what they mean,” Knibb said. Use hand signals with caution. One person’s left is another’s “please cut me off.”
The most dangerous time of day is nighttime, and without a light you are practically invisible until mere feet away. On the subject of lights, Stewart urges to “get creative!” With the holidays closing in fast, break out the decorations. “If everyone had lit up bikes, we’d be a lot happier,” Stewart said.
And isn’t happiness all that matters?