When I first came to Dickinson, I made the mistake of leaving my bike at home. I quickly realized how much I missed and needed my bike, and was lucky enough to have my parents bring it up to campus the next time they visited. Now I’m going into my final year at Dickinson, and couldn’t imagine not bringing at least one of my bikes to campus. Bikes have become an important part of my life.
Biking has become extremely popular on Dickinson’s campus, especially in the past few years. Most students now have bikes campus, and the biking resources have expanded exponentially. So now that you’re on your way to campus, what are my top 10 reasons to bring a bike to campus? Let’s take a look!
1. Easy Access to Carlisle
I would say that the most useful part of having a bike on campus is the easy access to various places in Carlisle – especially for those of us who don’t have a car! If I need to run to CVS to grab a prescription, speed over to Walmart, Giant, or the Appalachian Whole Foods Market to pick up snacks, take a ride to Target, or want to get to the movie theater extra fast (when my friends and I decide last minute to catch a show), I can just jump on my bike. While I could walk to most of these places, biking is typically much faster and way more convenient – and you don’t get nearly as sweaty riding your bike as walking in the heat!
2. Running Late to Class? Bike It!
I’ll admit that for the most part, I don’t bike to class since my classes are so close together. However, this summer I found that there’s something fantastic about biking from Denny to Kaufman in 2 minutes, as opposed to spending 10-15 minutes walking between the two. I also have a couple vivid memories of waking up late my freshman year, and jumping on my bike to dash from Adams to Tome so that I wasn’t late for my 8:30am calculus class. It’s always nice to know that you have a quick mode of transportation when you’re trying to dash to class.
3. Kick the Freshman 15
Unfortunately, the Freshman 15 – or at least the weight gain during your first year of college – is real. Between caf-sitting for hours, stress eating, and the lack of motivation towards exercise, many students do indeed gain some weight. However, adding in an enjoyable form of exercise is a fantastic way to kick the Freshman 15 to the curb. Cycling burns hundreds of calories an hour, but is enjoyable, so it doesn’t necessarily feel like work. Additionally, the change in scenery of the outdoors can be more engaging than riding a machine in the Kline. This leads me to…
4. Stress Relief
If I’m ever having a stressful day (which happens often when you’re taking upper-level classes and working multiple jobs), I look forward to jumping on my bike to take a break. Cycling gives me the mental reprieve that I so desperately need when I’m overloading my brain with studying and homework. Riding through Central PA is cathartic, and allows my mind to go blank – no stressing about that test tomorrow, how much more research I need to do, what grad school work I haven’t done, etc. Studies have shown that people who exercise are smarter and are able to process more information. In addition to being exercise, cycling gets you into the great outdoors, where you get positive benefits from the sun and fresh air.
5. The LeTort Trail
One of my favorite outdoor activities in Carlisle is walking or biking the LeTort Trail. It’s a 2-ish mile long trail, where I’ve seen herons, beavers, brown snakes, Rainbow Trout, ducks, swans, and more. On really hot days, I’ll stop down there to dip my feet in the cool spring water, or lie in the shade on one of the small wooden bridges. It’s the perfect place to go for a break in the afternoon!
6. The Cycling Club
If you’re looking for more than just simple pleasure riding, then the newly formed and funded Dickinson Cycling Club is for you! This year, the club has been granted money for equipment and travel to races, so it is finally getting off the ground! We have both avid road and mountain bikers in the club, and fantastic riding conditions for both. Mountain bikers from the area go out a few times a week, and us road bikers make sure to hit the long country roads as much as we can when the weather’s permitting. Email cycling at dickinson.edu for more information!
7. Bike to the Farm Potluck
The most popular biking event on campus each semester is the Bike to the Farm Potluck. This semesterly event involves biking the 7 miles out to the Dickinson College Farm, where everyone’s potluck dish is taken by van. Once at the Farm, everyone is given a couple hours to mill about, socialize, and eat delicious dishes made by other students, faculty, and staff. Typically, a bonfire is involved, too. This coming semester, we have a special surprise announcement about the Bike to the Farm Potluck, so stay tuned for the exciting details!
8. The Handlebar
A unique feature that Dickinson has to offer is The Handlebar, which is a bike shop in the basement of Davidson-Wilson that aims to have student, faculty, and staff volunteers help other students, faculty, and staff learn how to do bike repairs and maintenance. Because all of the workers in The Handlebar are volunteers, labor costs for repairs are free, as well as the majority of parts (all secondhand parts are free, while new parts are sold “at cost”). I know from experience that working on bikes, especially one that is your own, will give you so much pride and accomplishment – you fixed something with your own two hands! Additionally, the community that is built within The Handlebar is extremely strong, and you’ll always have a good laugh when you come in.
9. All The Cool Kids Are Doing It
More and more Millennials are ditching cars and are instead opting for other forms of transportation – busses, trains, skateboards, bikes, you name it, we use it! This shift has been seen both as an environmentally conscious (a person that bikes to work instead of driving saves an average of 26 lbs of CO2, depending on the distance of their commute) and health-concious choice. While you might not be really “commuting” on campus, using your bike to get around from place to place is becoming more trendy every day!
Let’s be honest – the best reason to bring your bike to campus is because of all the fun you can get from it. Whether it’s riding your bike down the LeTort trail, coming on a Bike to the Farm Potluck, or just riding through the country roads of Central PA, you’ll always have a good time on your bike!