While I respect Rutgers’ well intentioned efforts in maintaining a transportation system that attempts to unify the four sub-campuses as best as possible, most undergrads would agree that the bus system is a constant source of headache and struggle for the daily commute to class.
While for most the buses are a necessary evil, I present a solution to minimize your bus trouble, at least for some portion of the school year, and perhaps even enhance your intracampus travels. No, I’m not suggesting the helicopter oft seen leaving Johnson and Johnson headquarters (like the REXL, that also doesn’t stop at the Quads). Rather, my solution is as simple as riding a bike. Literally.
Allow me to detail my own experience getting around campus on two wheels to present the case for this timeless means of transportation. I admit my own motivation for bringing a set of wheels to campus was not for class, but rather to get myself from my dorm on College Avenue to the Class of 1914 Boathouse, located at the base of Cook Campus, each morning. It was barely a week before my old bike, which had lost its luster since I received it on my twelfth birthday, proved ill-equipped to handle the commute. So I did some research, and found a beauty of modern engineering with a frame large enough to support my own oversized build. Limited by my undergraduate budget, I settled for a used, 1970s Schwinn road bike. Because of her brilliant, candy apple paint job, she was deemed “Big Red.” Freddy Mercury perfectly captured my feelings at this point in time.
That investment paid dividends above and beyond what I could ever imagine. Despite some early rough patches, Big Red proved reliably through my first two years at Rutgers, taking me to and from practice with United States Postal Service-like dependability–through rain, snow, sleet, and heat. As the semester wore on, I came to appreciate her functionality beyond those early morning commutes. With many of my classes stationed on Busch campus, I found the bike ride to be far more enjoyable than packing into an H bus with the rest of my undergraduates. Additionally, a bike ride to the Sonny Werblin Center proved the perfect warm-up to swim practice.
Big Red served admirably before sacrificing her life in a battle against a Philadelphia taxicab in the summer of 2014. (Disclaimer: wear a helmet. Seriously. If you’re reading this, your brain is valuable enough to justify wearing a helmet). Fortunately, I was able to find acquire a worthy replacement in Big Black, who is still kicking to this day.
So in the spirit of the American Independence holiday, I invite those of you reading this to join me and find some transportation freedom this upcoming semester. Look at some of the pros.
- Avoid the buses.
- The wait for your bike is always 0 minutes. No need to worry about nextBus or if you can squeeze onto the LX. Your bike is your own personal chauffeur.
- Get in a workout.
- Taking a bike to class is a perfect way to get in some exercise throughout the day. You’ll feel more awake when you get to class.
- Save time.
- Turning a 10-minute walk to Alexander Library into a two-minute bike ride doesn’t seem like much, but when you add up those minutes over the course of a semester that’s substantial time to study, sleep, or just relax.
There’s no need to invest in a brand new bike. You ought to be able to find a reliable, used bike for a reasonable price. I promise you it’ll be worth your time and money.