Editor’s Note: Views expressed in guest columns and letters to the editor reflect the views of the author, not the views of The State News.
Downtown East Lansing isn’t nearly the same during the summer as it is during the fall, spring and winter.
There are fewer students, more families and, oh yeah, orange barricades and construction signs everywhere you turn. During my first summer on campus, all I wanted to do was turn my 1998 Honda CR-V down Farm Lane so that I could get to the Natural Science Building for class.
But no, it doesn’t work like that.
You have to go three minutes out of your way so you can pay $5 for a place to park. It’s ridiculous. East Lansing isn’t suited for vehicles during May, June and most of July, and it’s one of the more frustrating places to be with a car during that time.
It took me two summers to realize if I want to get somewhere efficiently and cheaply, biking is the way to go. Not only do gas prices rise to an ungodly amount each summer, but there aren’t many places to park near your destination where you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg.
Biking will save you hundreds of dollars during the summer months, and as a college student, I know there isn’t one person who wouldn’t mind saving some money.
Construction in downtown East Lansing has seemed to come to a halt and traffic has been more fluent as of late, but riding a bike still is the best way to get to where you need to be in a timely fashion and allow you to enjoy the wonderful landscape that makes up Michigan State University.
This campus is one of the more elegant universities in the country, and because it is either cold or snowing for nine months of the year, why would you not want to utilize the summer weather? In the same sense, I’m sure there are more people who would rather walk than ride a bike, and I don’t blame them, but biking still allows you to get somewhere much faster than walking while still enjoying the campus scenery.
Ever since trading in my car keys for Lucile — my old-school red mountain bike — I’ve been able to navigate through campus much easier while spending the money I would use on gas to get unhealthy food and have more spending money for nights on the town with my friends. In addition to that, I’ve noticed I’ve been in a little better shape as well — much better shape than when I used to lay around all day and then hop in my car so I could sit in a seat for another two hours to drive home.
Bicycling has numerous benefits — economically, physically and strategically. However, not as many people ride bikes as I think they should for MSU having such a big campus.
If I had to choose between walking a mile on a hot summer day or riding a bike a mile, I would pick the bike with no hesitation. You can’t have thousands of students riding bikes everywhere, otherwise you would have traffic jams on the sidewalks, but far more people ride the bus and drive than they should.
I’m not sure if that has to do with them being “too cool for school” and thinking they are too old for bikes, but that shouldn’t be the case at all. MSU is as diverse as they come, meaning there are thousands of different people with thousands of different backgrounds and thousands of different styles, so if you think that you’re out of the age range for riding a bike, just ask one of your bicycling friends how much money they save during the summer by not driving or how much time they save by not walking, and I bet you at least consider it.
If you have at least one more summer in E.L., I highly suggest you finish out this summer cruising around campus on your bike. That way, if you start to realize some of the benefits I’ve pointed out, at least you can have another full summer of saving money and time while still enjoying the campus.
Even if this is your last summer on campus, go ahead and cruise around so you can savor the natural beauty MSU has to offer before you step into the real world.