Posted on by Keelin Burke

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO COMMUTING TO CAMPUS BY BIKE 

CONGRATULATIONS SOON-TO-BE COMMUTER.

You’ve made the fiscally responsible decision that many money conscious students and locals fortunate enough to live nearby have made for years before you. Commuting isn’t for the faint-hearted, and unlike residents who can crawl comfortably into their dorm beds between classes, commuters need to find the best library corners to squeeze in a midday nap, where to score the best free food - “yeah...I really do think there should be federal changes to commercial birdseed...100p my thing...so like, are these subs free? ”, and the best way to score a good spot in the college parking lots, a noble feat in and of itself. With everything college students need to keep track of, it helps to secure a surefire form of transportation to help haul what you need on a daily basis.

Issues regarding parking are the some of the most common complaints college administrators face. College enrollment has steadily risen in the last 20 years, and with that larger numbers of commuting, car driving students have flooded college and university parking lots. Students will camp out in lots hours before their classes to score an empty spot. The thought of getting up early to idle in a car, wait for some unsuspecting student leave, hastily score their empty spot, and then walk 20 minutes to class doesn’t sound appealing. To bypass this nightmarish scenario, many students have turned to bicycles as their main, or supplementary form of transportation to and around campuses.

Using a bike to commute isn’t limited to students who live within a few miles of campus. Most bikes can either fit in a car or on a bike rack for easy transportation. Finding a nearby off-campus parking lot to leave your car and then biking the rest of the way to school can save tons of time, gas, and the frustration of finding a place to park. Before hopping on, there are a few factors to consider in choosing the right bike for your commute, how to prepare for the unexpected, and how to get the most out of your new two-wheeled companion - all while balancing a stack of books.

COMMUTING MACHINES

Finding the right bike involves more than just what looks best. Commuter bikes are equipped with features that make traveling long distances while transporting items a breeze. Look for sturdy steel back racks to help transport books, bags, and other bulky items without tangling up your hands. Proper posture is emphasized as a feature on many city bikes. Comfortable saddles and high handlebars encourage upright riding to reduce strain on a riders back. Whether you’re heading a few miles or just a few blocks, the proper riding position can make a world of difference.

Reliable tires should never be an afterthought. Tires with enhanced gripping capabilities and shock absorption are ideal for use on a daily basis. Kenda Kwest tires include grooves specifically designed for water dispersion, so your bike is always making contact with the ground - even in wet conditions. Features that are often overlooked can change a riding experience when bike riding turns from a hobby into a necessity.

Our line of commuting bikes includes both step-thru and classic diamond frames in multiple speeds and colors to fit your style. Choose between Beaumont-7 for a stylish, no-frills ride onto campus, or elevate your ride with Venus and Mars with top componentry for an even smoother ride.

PACKING FOR THE DAY

College schedules are rarely perfect. There will often be long gaps in between classes. Leaving and coming back isn’t always feasible, so commuters have to pack particularly well to ensure that they’re prepared for anything that comes up during the day. Packing course materials, necessary textbooks, food, and other items can quickly become cumbersome. For starters, many colleges offer lockers for commuters to rent out each semester to avoid having to carry around a hefty amount of books all day. If this isn’t an option, choosing bike accessories that can help assist carry these items can make a huge difference to your day-to-day on campus. 

 Most campuses have multiple bike racks around campus. So many, in fact, that your bike could be locked up just feet away from where your class is located. Stashing your books in a basket or on a back rack for easy access once you get to your building. Our Apollo basket is a perfect addition to any college student’s bike. Apollo is designed to serve your bike, but also double as a basket to carry with you to the grocery store, library, and anywhere else life takes you. It easily lifts off your bike and can just as easily be secured back on.

DRESS ACCORDINGLY

You know the drill, if it gets cold - throw on a coat, if it’s hot, subtract a layer. Snow? Gloves. Rain? Umbrella. You’ve got it down pat to dress to what the climate in your area throws at you, but is your bike prepared for the weather? For many college students, the prospect of rain can throw a wrench into a day of classes. Dodging from one building to another to avoid getting drenched provides its own set of ninja-like skills. Rain doesn’t stop you from going to class (well...it shouldn’t), to keep it riding, your bike needs the same TLC you give to yourself on rainy days.

Fenders are a must in particularly rainy areas like the Northwest. When the streets are laden with water, fenders prevent you from dirty water splashing up at your back. Plus, your chain becomes significantly less exposed to dirt and water thrown from the front wheel. Its own individual chainguard can also help it stay lubricated longer, cleaner, and in better shape overall. Beaumont, Venus, and Mars all come built with fenders and chainguards to prevent a bad patch of road from contributing to any damage on your bike. 

UPKEEP

There will be times in college when you find yourself eating only ramen and Little Debbie snacks for days on end. While it would be great if our bikes could sustain themselves on the same empty calorie foods you’re about to eat for the next 4 years, they cannot. Get to know the folks at your neighborhood bike shop and make room to take your bike for a tuneup once a semester. Basic tuneups cost around $65-$75, but they can save you a lot of money in the long run. The technician at a shop will ensure your bike running in tip-top shape, and recommend any additional changes you may need to extend the life of your bike.

Get ready for some of the best years of your life, with the proper style and upkeep, your bike will be with you for many years after you walk across that stage.

START THE JOURNEY

Your life is about to make a 180°, cover all your bases with products to get you through it.

MARS

Nostalgia personified – Ride upright, ride in style.

VENUS

A mid-century city cycle with evolved simplicity.

HARPER

Designed for your city street adventures, and everything in between.

BEAUMONT

This city-dweller has something for every type of rider, riding on any type of urban terrain.

APOLLO

You’ll love this basket to the moon and back.

KENDA KWEST

Smooth tread and specialized water dispersal grooves make for one chill ride.