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Biking at Stanford: A freshman’s perspective

Stanford Daily file photo.

With regards to biking, I have one major problem: I suck at turning.

“It’s just like driving. Literally just turn the handle bars.”

Biking is nothing like driving. First, you have to balance. Starting off is the hardest, but it gets easier as long as you don’t hit any potholes. Unfortunately, Stanford has a ton of potholes. And roundabouts.

“Avoid the Circle of Death, and you’ll be fine.”

Despite heeding my RA’s one piece of biking-related advice, I still managed to crash into a bush, a pole and a skateboarder during Week 1. My dormmates didn’t fare any better, hitting both cars and other bikers. So from a mediocre biker to a probably-more-than-mediocre biker, here are some crucial frosh tips for survival:

  1. Set aside 10 extra minutes before any commitments to lock and unlock your bike. I know it sounds dumb and a bit exaggerated, but trust me: U-locks always seem to get stuck when you’re in a hurry. By that logic, just never be in a hurry. You should (hopefully) be fine!
  2. Cars can be very scary when you share the street with them. Always look behind and to the side when turning, and try to signal. Believe me, I can certainly attest to the difficulties of biking one-handed to alert that you’re turning. But the alternative is much worse.
  3. We love tourists and Profros; try not to play pinball with them, and allow a wide berth for these groups to roam the Farm.
  4. If you don’t know your way around campus just yet, it is probably a good idea to walk to your classes the first time around. It is surprisingly hard to listen to a muffled, back-pocketed Siri shout Google Maps directions on a busy intersection. With tourists.
  5. And lastly, PROTECT YOUR STANFORD BRAIN! Don’t listen to anyone who tells you helmets aren’t classy.

 

For more frosh biking tips, contact Lauren Fishman at lfishman ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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