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  1. #1
    uke
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    The College Commuter Thread

    Are there any commuters out there in college or grad school? I figured we could use a thread for ourselves. How long is your commute? How often do you do it? Which other options do you have (car, bus, foot, scooter, etc)? Is theft a problem at your campus? Let's see if we can get a discussion going...alumni are welcome!

    Finally, what's your favorite part of riding your bike in college/grad school?
    Last edited by uke; 08-18-08 at 03:51 PM.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member YOJiMBO20's Avatar
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    My commutes to the two different colleges I go to are both 5 miles. I can drive, but I don't feel like paying for parking and it takes just as long to ride there (~25 min all uphill with lights) as it does to drive and try to find parking as there are ~1000 spots for all ~3000 students (community college).

    As for theft, I don't give it a chance. I bring my bike into class with me. I see a few other road bikes on campus, but I don't feel safe locking mine up, unless absolutely necessary, as it is probably the best one.

  3. #3
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    I haven't started commuting yet, but will when the semester starts. The commute is just under 5 miles each way. My other mode of transportation is walking or catching a ride with one of my roommates. I don't think theft is a problem on campus, but not too many people ride bikes on campus. I will be using two strong locks though (Onguard Beast and Onguard Pitbull Mini.

    Will post back after I commute a few times.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Chromavita's Avatar
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    I started biking over the summer, so I haven't actually commuted to school yet, but I plan to commute a couple days out of the week. It's a little more than 10 miles to the school, so I'll probably bike 4 miles to the bus stop, and take the bus to the school, then bike home. I'll probably drive most days though. The 1.75 for the bus fare, and the Florida heat make it too much to bike every day.

  5. #5
    Teacher
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    PhD student here. I ride about 7 miles each way. In foul weather I'll ride a beater; if it's really bad I'll dejectedly take the subway. Riding's faster than the subway and ridiculously more fun, so it takes a lot to keep me off the bike. I don't know if theft is a problem on my campus but I'm not willing to take chances: I rotate parking in one of three racks near my building and use a cable and u-lock combo. There are also way more flash bikes around than my racked and crated and anonymous looking Crosscheck, so I'm probably more worried than I need to be.

    Something new my school's doing to promote biking is to pay the town police registration fee for students and staff. It's only a buck or two, but a nice way to support riding. Last year I bought a lock from the campus police at cost. What are some things that your school does to encourage cyclists?
    "There's more to life than books, you know
    but not much more." -The Smiths

  6. #6
    uke
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    In undergrad, I kind of wanted a bike, but never followed through. So I decided to change that in grad school. It's a 4 mile round trip commute, just about, and I'd much rather ride than take the car, search for parking, etc. Today, I had to go back and forth three times, which resulted in about 12 miles of cycling. Tiring, but fun. I have a U-lock and a cable lock, but I'll probably only use the U-lock in the day time, and use both during my night class.

    I love listening to my iPod when riding. I listened to it when walking everywhere as an undergrad, so it's neat to be able to do the same now, but on a bike. I've got a tape deck set up to allow me to do the same in my car, but so far, I haven't driven the car anywhere. Still waiting for bad weather. I also use the bike on trips to the grocery store, which is about 5 miles round trip. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied. I see lots of riders, and the racks by my campus building were pretty full the three times I came by to park.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  7. #7
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uke View Post
    Finally, what's your favorite part of riding your bike in college/grad school?
    Favorite part: the ease of cruising around campus to various activities or just to pass the time.

    Least favorite part: the grocery stores all being on the main highway outside of town.
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  8. #8
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    My commute is about 6 miles each way, and while I haven't commuted to classes yet, I have commuted to work (which is on campus) since mid-May. Usually I ride 2-3 days a week, but I'm trying to do more, just gotta get my rear out of bed a touch earlier. As far as other options, I could drive myself or hitch a ride with one of the three other guys living at my place.

    As far as I know, theft isn't a widespread problem. I see tons of bikes locked up with cable locks (and just around the top tube or front wheel at that) that I could probably break with my hands, or at the most a pair of wire cutters. But, bikes that aren't locked get taken. Some people (an ex-coworker for example) would take unlocked bikes just to get around and then put them in the rack where he was going.

    My favorite part of riding my bike to campus is that its actually faster than going by car because the parking area I use (because its free) is on the edge of campus and even if I drove in and then biked - its still faster to get where I'm going by bike.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonpraxis View Post
    ... Riding's faster than the subway and ridiculously more fun, so it takes a lot to keep me off the bike.
    Good way to put it.

    Next week I'll be starting back to school as a non-traditional undergrad. I already have a graduate degree and full time job. One day a week I will have to go to school, then to work. I am currently planning to use a bike but haven't gone to campus to check out the racks. Typical for most colleges parking is at a premium and far away from the desired destination.

    The school of Business I think has some kind of dress code so I may be riding my bike more in street clothes so to speak, than now (more like golf attire).

  10. #10
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    I'm well past my college years, but bike commuted all through my years at UGA-Athens. I quickly found out that a bike was the quickest and easiest way to get around campus, and I continued commuting after I moved out of the dorms. In fact, I had a motorcycle when I started college, but sold it during my freshman year because it wasn't that practical.

    I used a cheap cable lock and never had a bike stolen, but my bikes were not very high quality. Carried my books in a backpack most of the time, although I also had a rear rack. Funny thing was that I rarely ever rode for fun or fitness, it was just basic transportation for me back then.

  11. #11
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    My current commute to grad school is about 6 miles RT (or 12 RT depending on the location)...I've been doing that for 5 years. I usually don't bike in the winter, as it is cold, snows a lot, and they do a terrible job clearing snow here (especially on my side of town). Instead, I either walk, take the bus, or drive during the winter months. I've thought of getting a beater bike for winter, but really, I don't mind walking or taking the bus; even that small amount of exercise in the morning helps me get focused and makes me substantially more productive during my day.

    In undergrad I biked around everywhere as well, which depending on where I was living or had to go to varied from 2 to 16 miles RT.

    I've always found it was a nice excuse to get on a bike when I didn't necessarily have time to go out for a long road bike ride.

  12. #12
    1. get on 2. pedal
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    Not a student but I teach at the University of Wisconsin and commute to campus, three miles each way. Best biking town in America (according to Bicycling magazine), miles of beautiful maintained trails, I hardly have to touch an actual road to get to school and there's paths to awesome lakes and countryside in all directions. Much faster and cheaper than driving due to typical big-school traffic and parking issues. That's the good part. Smorgasbord for thieves though. It's the sheer number of bikes that provides the opportunity. Among the thousands you can always spot expensive bikes with flimsy locks, lashed to moveable/breakable objects, locked to themselves or even left unlocked altogether. But the thieves aren't picky either. Until recently my commuting bike was a cheap Mongoose hybrid and someone tried to bash my lock for it in the middle of the day in the middle of campus. All they got was a gouge out of the lock but that was the last time I left a bike outside and out of sight at school. Now I keep my bike in my office and apartment, I try to hang out at places where I can keep it with me, and when I have to leave it outside and out of sight I cross-lock, in places with an audience if at all possible.

    In the sheer audacity department, yesterday in the bikes section of Madison Craigslist someone was offering a bolt cutter for sale. Ad got flagged and deleted, but jeez.

  13. #13
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    I biked during my undergrad for a while, around 10 miles each way, but moved my last 2 years, ending my commute because I could walk.

    I'm 3.3 miles from my current grad school, and I will begin riding when the quarter starts next month. I don't think theft is a problem, it's a small catholic school, but I'll see. I have a solid lock system.

  14. #14
    Peace, Love, Bikes
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    It's a little over 3 miles to the community college. When I finish there, it's walking distance to the state college.
    Andrew

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  15. #15
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    Temple University CS student, commute 30 miles RT, four or five times a week and sometimes weekends for mealplan food. Don't particularly like it, to be honest. But 100+ miles a week is good exercise and it makes for good "me" time.

  16. #16
    pothole dodger dr_bovine's Avatar
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    I'm a postdoc, which means I'm not technically a student, but I am essentially a glorified grad student who didn't get enough punishment the first time around. I commute to campus about 8 mi RT year round in all weather. My option is to take the MBTA, which was actually my impetus to start riding as it is horribly slow, expensive, and unreliable. I'm lucky enough that I can stash my bike in the lab and nobody complains. Otherwise, it would go in a locked bike room on campus. One of my labmates locks her bike up outside and has never had a problem (but theft and vandalism are big problems).

    My favorite part is not having to take the bloody T. Plus it is nice to be faster than just about any other form of transportation during rush hour along with the exercise and saving tons of money.

  17. #17
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    Professor... 16 miles each way. No kids helps a lot. It's really a matter of enjoying the time spent biking rather than thinking of it as a "cost". If that extra time has considerable value to you, biking probably wont last.

  18. #18
    Que CERA, CERA jefferee's Avatar
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    PhD student, 6.5 miles each way. The ride is typically 25-30 minutes door-to-door. My other option is the bus which takes about an hour including the walks to and from the stops.

    My summer commuter is a reasonably nice 'cross bike, which gets parked inside the lab. My winter commuter is an X-mart MTB which gets locked outside unless I need to bring it in to thaw cables or something. It's easier to get the bike into the lab than it is to get it into my basement. Last winter saw record snowfall and in the period from Jan.-March I probably took the bus almost as often as I rode. When I listen to the traffic report and it's clear that drivers are incapable of avoiding each other, I don't take chances--I ride the bus.
    Quote Originally Posted by MajorMantra View Post
    Cycling (taken to the typical roadie extreme) causes you to cough up your own soul as every fibre of your worthless being sings in choral agony. Once you embrace the pain everything is dandy.

  19. #19
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    I'm A Penn State student with a 2 mile commute. I'm gonna have to make the commute every day starting this semester. I won't take my car because parking is a pain, it cost's too much and my car will pry get beat up. I could also walk but riding's so much more fun and far quicker. I don't think i'll have to worry about theft on campus, plus I bought a good U lock.

  20. #20
    Senior Member thebarerider's Avatar
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    As an undergrad I walked year round because my commute was only a mile. Now, starting law school next week, I will be commuting five days a week year round. My commute is 8 miles r/t and is entirely residential. It takes about 20 minutes. We don't have all that much nasty weather here in central OK during the winter (now that I've said that, this winter will be the one the locals talk about for years to come) so my main problem is the cold. My job is also on campus

  21. #21
    Peace, Love, Bikes
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebarerider View Post
    As an undergrad I walked year round because my commute was only a mile. Now, starting law school next week, I will be commuting five days a week year round. My commute is 8 miles r/t and is entirely residential. It takes about 20 minutes. We don't have all that much nasty weather here in central OK during the winter (now that I've said that, this winter will be the one the locals talk about for years to come) so my main problem is the cold. My job is also on campus
    I'm changing jobs here in the next month. One place I'm looking at is less than a mile from my new place. The other is a little under 2. Decisions, Decisions...
    Andrew

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  22. #22
    Senior Member thebarerider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by politicalgeek View Post
    I'm changing jobs here in the next month. One place I'm looking at is less than a mile from my new place. The other is a little under 2. Decisions, Decisions...
    Go with the job farther away. It's more fun to bike than walk

  23. #23
    Senior Member pirate's Avatar
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    I used to have a 13 mile round trip commute. It was all uphill on the way in and all descent on the way home. I would ride up almost every day, but if was running late or feeling under the weather I would put my bike on the bus and then ride home.

    I would get soaked with sweat by the time I made it up the hill, so I would almost always bring an extra shirt and a little towel, unless I was too hungover, stoned or stressed out to remember.

    Riding during busy times, like when classes were getting out, could be suicidal at times because of the masses of oblivious pedestrians, frustrated drivers and overloaded metro buses all vying for the same space on the road.

    I never had a bike stolen, because I was obsessive about properly locking up my ****ty fixed gear with a burly u-lock next to $800 road bikes locked with pencil thin cable locks wrapped around the fork. Theft wasn't really that common anyway, but it did happen to a couple people I knew.

    The main thing I miss about it is riding down this bike path everyday, especially on a clear day or at night: (not my pic)

    edit: sorry I didn't realize that pic was going to be so big
    “When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark,
    When work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having,
    Just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road,
    Without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”
    -Arthur Conan Doyle


  24. #24
    Senior Member amckimmey's Avatar
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    I just started this semester Monday.

    I have a 12mile one ways commute on MWF. 20min car ride on interstate, turned in to 45min bike ride, half on a bike path, one huge hill. I go to a Community Collage that is really small. So there are no other students riding there bike.

    One kid riding a Kona mountain bike(he does not know where the bike rack is & lock it in the court yard, kind of odd)
    One teacher riding an older Bianchi Commuter bike(I have not seen it sense last fall, so I don't know if he still does)


    That's all at my school. It's really a pretty small place. One main building I rode quite a few times last year, but got held up for stupid reason like carrying supplies. This year that is not going to stop me. The only thing that might is weather, but I'm thinking of getting a 29er just for winter.

    I do want more people to start riding to school, so I'm thinking of trying to get people more aware of it. First starting with posting a sign pointing out the bike rack, either the proper way throw the school, or just post them up my self with signs I made. Witch ever way. I will have it by the end of this week hopefully. Theft is not a problem, because know one knows even.

    I also want to try get my old High school to promote Biking a lot with the grade school in town. I live in a community of soccer moms driving there SUVs to drop of there kids 2 blocks away at school(that's not a joke)



    It would be awesome to get a "Sub-Forum" for school related commuters(students are different then other commuter, we are poor) "ADMINISTRATORS HOW ABOUT IT"

  25. #25
    Senior Member Freakin'Chickin's Avatar
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    I commute for a 15 miles round trip between home and school. I'm a grad student in Forest engineering who is thinking about doing a certificate in creative litterature, you know, the nerdy and distracted one kind of student! But I am also a player on the university rugby team (and I try to run an occasional cross-country with the U Club aslo), so my commute always mean in fall that I have a lot of stuff to bring: gym clothes, rugby clothes, riding clothes, my books, papers, rugby ball, lunches..... Yes, I like to wear my bike clothes 'cause I sweat profusely, and it rains often, so getting wet is usual business. Usually I commute from early April to late November. Too much traffic causing bad riding conditions when it snows lots (i.e. slushy and mushy rather than fluffy and powdery), which is one of the reasons why I don't commute in winter. Takes me around 25 minutes by bike, 40 by bus, so not a big deal.

    I usually carry my books and mice clothes in my messenger bag, usually my snacks/water/coffee mug in there also. The other clothes/big lunches go in the rackpack bag or the panniers. I have an old (1996) steel mountain bike with Tom Slicks tires, rolls fast enough for me and plenty of gears to move around the hills with 10-20 kg of stuff on me/my bike. One of the most enjoyable part of my commute is getting in the Campus: it's green eveywhere, not much cars, lots of bike and people on foot means I can go fast in every direction. Mostly one way automotive traffic around and very very large roads. And I can slack my pace, making a little cool down to get to my faculty.

    Bike thefts have been quite a problem lately in the Laval University Campus, but thieves are dumb and lazy: they pick the easiest bikes to grab (i.e. poor cable lock) and get along almost only when the weather is good. That is when you park in the 3-4 most used buildings overnight. My faculty is one of the farthest buildings, so we don't worry much around. Since there is a lot of foreign students, they roll on beater bikes, another good solution for short trips. Anyway, after 3 years of parking my bike outside (my 96' RM Whistler), no quick release and just a U-Lock, I had no problems. I even left if 2 days overnight when I sprained my ankle and it wa fine (I was stressed though)......

    What else could I say? We are a big University (30 000 students, 28 000 on campus), and lots of people live close to it. Parking permits costs are awful, so lots of commuter and buses around. I love to commute by bike and I'm lucky enough to have 2 accesible showers in the basement of our building. Or else, I would shower at the Sports building, which is 2 min from my office/classes. Now I just can't wait for the beginning of our training camp on next Friday!!!!
    "Cyclistes, fortifiez vos jambes en mangeant des oeufs mollets" - Pierre Dac

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