USF students love to complain about parking. Common complaints are that there aren’t enough spaces and that permits cost too much. The irony is that the solution lies withn many students. If those who live close to campus would ride a bicycle to class, there would be no parking problem.
When time spent looking for a parking place is considered, driving is more time consuming than biking for students who live nearby. Biking is the ideal form of transportation for students.
For many, the idea of biking to class when a car is available is ridiculous. The rationales are many: “Florida is simply too hot for biking.”
This is not necessarily true. If you live in an apartment geared toward students, you’ll be in class before heat becomes an issue. When biking, you create your own breeze that will cool you off. If you are extremely out of shape, you may have to wait until the dog days of September are over. But soon the weather will cool down, and you too will be able to ride.
“But I’ll be all sweaty.”
This too is easily overcome. There are restrooms in every classroom building. A quick wipe down with a wet cloth will take care of most sweat issues. If you sweat profusely or care to look your best, add a little soap and a fresh shirt, and you’ll look at least as good as the people who walk from a distant parking lot to their classes.
“But I’m not in good enough shape to bike to class.”
Nonsense. Only a small percentage of students are not in good enough shape for bicycling. Biking to class may seem like a difficult task, but it is one that will become easy with time.
“But I have too many books and other supplies.”
People bike across the country with enough gear to sustain themselves for months. You can make it the two to four miles to class. If your pack is too heavy for your back, area bike shops sell a variety of racks and baskets designed specifically for the needs of commuters. Only the most expensive of these items costs more than a tank of gasoline.
“It looks like it might rain.”
Wear rain gear. I don’t know of anywhere on campus where one can park a car and walk to class without being exposed to the elements. Driving won’t keep you much drier. In times of severe weather, of course, using your car makes sense.
Enough with the negative comments. There are many good reasons for choosing a bike as your primary mode of to-school transportation.
Biking is great exercise. According to the Web site for the Centers for Disease Control, “Adults should engage in moderate-intensity physical activities for at least 30 minutes on five or more days of the week.” Biking to class is a great way to get a portion of this activity without taking time away from your other duties. According to the CDC, being active reduces the risks for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, colon cancer and high blood pressure.
Biking is enjoyable. You may scoff at this, but try it. Even if you don’t like the actual act of biking at first, you’ll love the feeling of pedaling past all the cars lined up trying to leave campus.
You will even get a rush out of parking right in front of your classroom and skip the stress of circling a parking lot until you’re dizzy.
Josh Corban is a senior majoring in Anthropology