With the weather getting warmer (not accounting for the snow that may be covering the ground by the time I post this), I wanted to talk about my preferred method for getting and to and from campus from my house: via bike! The Twin Cities has a vibrant biking community and the University of Minnesota has taken notice, recently making many improvements to campus and the community to encourage more frequent and safer biking. Living off campus in the Como area, I am positioned between both the St. Paul and East Bank campus. While my $97 Metro Transit UPass easily pays itself off every semester, I prefer biking when the weather is decent for many reasons. Check it out below:
1) Biking saves me time - Living off campus on Como Ave, most students take the city bus onto campus. The 3 (the bus that comes down Como) runs every 10-15 minutes during the day, and it's about a 10 minute ride to campus from my house. However, the total time I spend walking to the bus, waiting, and riding is usually around 30 minutes, where biking only takes me 10 minutes to get to East Bank, or 15 minutes to ride the opposite direction on Como to St. Paul Campus and McNeal Hall. If you are making multiple trips during the day, those extra 15 minutes could add up to an extra hour that you could spend on your design work, or whatever else you need to do.
2) Biking keeps you fit - Okay so kind of a no-brainer, but at about the same time that the weather gets nice enough to bike everyday, the amount of design work and other commitments that build towards the end of the semester start to increase rapidly. Unfortunately, the first thing I cut out of my schedule when I don't have enough time in the day (and I can bet I'm not the only one) is exercise. While a 10 or 15 minute bike ride might not seem like a very intense workout to some, doing it 4 times a day amounts to quite a bit of physical activity!
3) Biking gets you free stuff - What!? Yep, free stuff just for biking! Ever see one of these funky antennas on the right around campus or somewhere else in the Twin Cities? These are RFID receivers for the Dero ZAP program that the UMN Bike Center participates in. You can get a chip mounted on your bike that will track when you ride past a receiver and be rewarded with free bike gear or gift cards if you ride enough in one month. I've already gotten several gift cards and bike accessories and it's totally free to participate! Head to the University Bike Center near the Superblock if you would like to check it out.
Are you a fan of biking to campus or class? If not, give it a try! If you have any questions about biking on campus or the ZAP program, let me know in the comments!