Biking best form of transportation

A surge in the number of students riding bicycles on campus this semester has sent pedestrians diving for the nearest patch of grass.

If the rising popularity of the bicycle is any indication, there are good reasons to consider an alternative means of transportation to walking or driving on campus.

The panic when you wake up and realize you have class in 10 minutes is a good place to start.

With a bike, a 10-minute walk can turn into a three-minute ride.

True, you’ll still look like your mug shot when you get to class, but at least you’ll be on time.

Riding a bike is simply convenient, especially for students who don’t have a car. A trip to the grocery store is not a hassle anymore when it takes you only five minutes to get there.

The dorky basket provides space for a reasonable amount of goods, and it’s comforting to know you won’t have to rely on arm muscle to take those groceries home.

The bicycle is an excellent alternative to the University Recreation Center as a source of exercise. Your disheveled, sweaty peers at the Rec Center do not promise to be as engaging a sight as the natural scenery flanking 30-miles worth of biking and hiking trails at nearby Trinity Park.

If you don’t want to leave school grounds for your exercise, a ride around the campus perimeter should be enough to let out some steam.

And, of course, the bicycle is environmentally friendly.

It was concern for the environment that inspired the Purple Bike Program, according to Keith Whitworth, sociology professor and founder of the program. The Purple Bike Program allows students to check out a bicycle for free.

There are no time limits – a student might request a bike for a day or for the entire semester. The program also provides accessories – a lock, helmet and basket – and free maintenance.

To complement this initiative, the administration should look into making campus more bike-friendly.

More bike racks are needed to match the increase in bicycle users. A shortage of bike racks has prompted students to lock their bikes to railings outside the Student Center and residence halls. Other buildings on campus do not have adequate space for students to park their bicycles.

Crowded walkways make bicycle transportation difficult. Pedestrians and cyclists have to awkwardly negotiate their share of narrow space. Bike lanes or pathways should be installed to make bike transport more practical.

Don’t be the one scrambling out of a flower bed. Give the bicycle a shot. Oh, and keep the basket. You don’t know when E.T. might hitch a ride.

Julieta Chiquillo is a sophomore news-editorial journalism major from San Salvador, El Salvador.