The beginning of school is one of my favorite times of the year for many reasons: fresh starts, excellent potential and bike commuting. I notice when a new academic year begins, there are hundreds of people commuting to UNC by bicycle. It is so exciting for me to see so many people engaging in one of my favorite things! However, as we get further into the school year I start to notice that there are fewer and fewer bike commuters than started out in August and September. So here are some tips to keep bike commuting fun and easy.
1. Make sure you have the tools you need: a bike that works, a lock, bike lights. UNC requires that all bicycles on campus are registered through the Department of Public Safety Parking Services. You can register your bike online here.
When you register your bicycle, DPS will send you a coupon for 50% off a U-lock (which is pretty cool, if you ask me). Also, North Carolina law requires that cyclists equip their bicycles with a front lamp visible from 300 feet and a rear reflector that is visible from a distance of 200 feet when riding at night. Having a bike light will help people see you at night so you can feel more confident and safe on your ride. So get a bike light for the front of your bike!
2. Helmet! Wearing a helmet can save your life. This is probably not news to you, but I say it because it is so important. Now, I also understand that North Carolina is a humid place and humidity plus a helmet equals helmet hair. But this can be ameliorated! If you have longer hair, try pulling it back and temporarily pinning it in place. And if you have shorter hair, bring a little hair product with you to tame that mane when you get to campus.
3. Get a bike bag you like. When it is easier to carry your things with you, it’s easier to bike. I use a pannier when I bike. But you can also use a messenger back or backpack to make sure you are unencumbered when riding.
Those are some ideas I have about having fun and staying safe! See you in the bike lane!