Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bikes Come Out of Hibernation

The alarm clock strikes 8:00am and the last sound you want to hear permeates
throughout the room. You reach over, hit the snooze button and fall back
asleep. A few minutes later the scene plays itself out once again, then again
and then again. Finally it is 8:25 and you jump out of bed as you realize class
starts in ten minutes. There’s no way you can make it on time. Just have to go
back to sleep and take that point deduction off of your attendance grade, right?
Wrong. You have an option, a form of transportation that can save the day, the
closest form to the yet to be invented transportation pad. Yes, the bicycle.

“Having a bike lets me sleep later because I can get to class in five minutes,”
said Alex Levine, a UMass student. This is just one of the many benefits that
bicycles provide its users with.

As springtime arrives and the snow disappears, more and more bikes make their
way out onto the roads and pathways of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Bikes can be seen lined up by the dozens at bike racks scattered all over
campus and bike riders whiz past pedestrians on their way to their final
destinations. It is as if the bikes have come out of hibernation.

The bicycle seems to be a perfect option for getting around campus. Some
students, such as senior Andy Billups, live off campus, too far to walk yet too
close to drive. The bicycle solves that problem. While time plays a large role
in people’s choice to use a bicycle, the form of transportation serves many
other purposes.

Bike riding provides many health benefits. It is a very good form of exercise.
According to The Better Health Channel, bike riding can help protect you from
strokes, heart attacks, obesity and diabetes. Bike riding is low impact, a good
muscle workout, easy, as intense as you want, and most of all it is fun. “I
just feel better when I ride my bike,” Billups went on to say. “It wakes me up
and gives me an extra boost before I get to class.”

Bike riding is also friendly to the environment. According to ecobridge.org,
33% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions come from cars. Riding bikes causes no
carbon dioxide emissions. Riding bikes also aide in alleviating congestion on
streets caused by numerous cars on the road, and they also lessen noise

College students also see the advantage of bike riding in terms of their wallet.
With ever increasing gas prices bicycles are a good means of saving some money.
They are also significantly cheaper than purchasing a car.

Yet another benefit of riding bicycles deals with safety. The campus can be a
dangerous place for an individual walking at night from the library. “Riding a
bike at night is definitely safer than walking because you can just speed away
from anyone that tries to confront you,” said Jen Daluz, a sophomore at UMass.
“I feel less vulnerable on a bike compared to walking. And I think this is
especially true for females.”

So whether you are looking to get in shape, get to class on time, stay safe or
save the world from global warming, the bicycle is a prime option and should be

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