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How To Live Your Best Biking Life

I always wanted to be a biker. Especially in high school, when I had a license, but no car to use, biking seemed like a easy, painless way to get around without waiting or asking for rides. However, after biking for nearly a whole school year, I realize how idealistic I had been because, lo and behold, biking is still an exercise and exercise demands energy. 

Some days I feel bad that my bike has met such a careless owner. During my time as a bike owner, I have forced it over multiple curbs, crashed it a couple of times, shoved it through crowded bike lots, pedaled it over precarious dirt paths in the rain – basically everything you probably shouldn’t be doing to your bike if you want it to last for more than a few months. Granted, it was a cheap road bike from Walmart, but still reliable enough for last minute rushes to class or work. Now it squeaks and complains like something ready to die so I am more than ready to put it to rest after this quarter.

Image via The Daily Nexus

Despite my dying bike, however, I do not hate biking. It is convenient and faster than walking, skateboarding, or waiting for the bus. Biking in the 10 to 15 minutes of traffic before the hour or half-hour on campus can be exciting, anxiety-provoking or both – however you choose to look at a situation created by streams of people flooding out of class at the same time. Of course, there are a plethora of rules to be followed, such as staying to the far right of the lane if you’re going slow, signaling to let people around you know you’re about to be turning left or right, yielding to other bikers who are already in a lane or roundabout, stopping if you crash into someone, etc. While it seems chaotic on the outside, it all becomes second nature after a while. 

A major piece of advice would be to get a decent, if not good bike (probably not a random one from Walmart), especially if you live somewhere as far away from campus as Santa Catalina Hall. Bikes do get stolen, but a decent bike is worth the investment compared to a cheap one that will literally fall apart in a few months. A decent bike makes the commute from Santa Catalina to campus less painful, but still, decent bike or not, at least you’ll have some enviable quads to show off afterwards.

Dede Ahn

UCSB '20

Dede is a first year English major at UCSB. 
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