NSights Blog

A University thing to do: Bike to work, May 14-20

Bike Week, May 14-20, will provide the campus an opportunity to cycle to and from work

By the time you get to work, you're refreshed, mentally sharp and ready to start your day. You settle into your desk chair happily, knowing that you've already gotten a workout in. Your coworker invites you out for coffee, and you agree without hesitation - you've had a little more cash floating around recently so you can enjoy a latte without a side of stress.

Sounds great, doesn't it? This breezy morning doesn't have to be a fantasy - it's just another day at the office when you choose to commute to work by bicycle.

You've probably already heard about the benefits of utility cycling (biking to get from A to B, as opposed to cycling purely for sport), but let's just run through the highlights. Biking is good for you. In addition to benefitting your waistline, regular cycling has been linked to improvements in mental health, focus and mood and reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Biking saves you time by combining your exercise and commuting routines, leaving you with precious extra minutes to sleep in, chat with your kids, read a good book or stare deeply into your cat's eyes. Biking is good for your wallet, too. When you factor in gasoline and vehicle wear-and-tear, it costs a little more than $0.50 on average to drive your car a mile. So each time you bike two miles, you've put a little more than a dollar in your pocket. Finally, you know that leaving the car at home is one of the best choices you can make for the environment.

As surprising as it may sound to the uninitiated, Reno is truly an ideal town for bicycle commuting. Our famed 300 days of sunshine per year mean that you rarely have to mess with rain gear or special equipment if you don't want to. Our bowl-shaped metro area means that riders are always surrounded by gorgeous mountain views while many routes through town are relatively flat. We have well-maintained bike lanes on several key through and connector streets, and there are an abundance of wide, quiet, low-traffic side streets that can be pieced together to form a thoroughly pleasant ride to work. We have the Reno Bike Project, that gem of an institution that can set you up with a great set of wheels or show you how to repair your bike at a very low cost. Best of all, we have an existing base of dedicated, diverse, enthusiastic cyclists who are working every day to make this town an even better place to live and work for everyone.

I know that for many of my colleagues, biking to and from work every day isn't feasible, or even desirable. But so many of us that work for the University live right here in town, and drive fewer than five miles to get here. For those colleagues: what about one day a week? What about once a month? What about once a season, just to mix things up and experience the four sides of Truckee Meadows weather on two wheels?

If you've considered biking to work but haven't yet made the leap, Bike Week 2016 is an excellent opportunity to get started. From May 14 - 20, the Truckee Meadows Bicycle Alliance has put together a great calendar of events to encourage individuals, families and whole communities to get out on their bikes for fun and fitness. For many, the highlight of the week is the morning commute Coffee Shop Stop and Pancake Feed Friday, May 20. Riders from the north, south, east and west neighborhoods will meet at designated coffee shops and will then ride en masse to the Reno Bike Project for pancakes and camaraderie. Since the Reno Bike Project is only a few blocks south of the University, this is a perfect opportunity for new cyclists to enjoy the safety of group riding and discover their ideal route to work. For meet up locations, times and routes, see the Bike Week Events page at www.bikewashoe.org. If you do plan to bike to work during Bike Week, be sure to join the University of Nevada, Reno's Commuter Challenge Team so we can rack up miles together!

Our campus and community are excellent places to bike, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. The Campus Bicycle Committee is working hard to improve facilities, incentives and outreach for cyclists (and other users of alternative transit) in order to bring the University of Nevada, Reno up to the high standard of other progressive universities of our size and caliber. For more information about biking on campus, visit the Bicycling on Campus page and be sure to check out the Campus Bicycle & Walking Map. If you're a cyclist on campus with suggestions, concerns or a desire to get involved, contact Campus Bicycle Committee Chair Amy Fitch at 775-682-7092. In the meantime, get out there and enjoy that springtime riding!

Joanna Trieger is a writer in Development and Alumni Relations and a member of the Campus Bicycle Committee. She bikes to work every day and she likes the snow days best. Ask her anything at jtrieger@unr.edu.

Joanna Trieger