A Beginner’s Guide: 3 Warnings for College Bicycle Commuters

It’s the first rain of the season. You have to go to class but you don’t have a car. The majority of college students find themselves in this situation, but some are more prepared than others. There are a few necessary things that every student should have handy in case of bad weather.

Watch Your Back!

For those of you who plan on attending a Bicycle Friendly campus, I’m talking to you! If you haven’t heard of the freshman stripe, the chance of you being the next recipient of it is highly likely! For those of you who don’t know, the freshman stripe is a line of water, mud and miscellaneous debris that splashes up from your back bicycle tire onto your back when it’s raining or snowing outside. Not only is the stripe wet and cold, but it usually isn’t the best addition to your wardrobe either. This can easily be avoided.

Fend off the Freshman Stripe

Some bikes come with fenders, most beach cruiser bicycles have metal ones built in; but for students like me, who enjoy waiting until the last possible minute to leave for class and need a faster form of transportation, we use the road bike and most road bikes don’t come with a fender. So, for those speed racers out there, hop on over to any sporting goods store or bike shop and invest ten to twenty dollars on a fender. It will save you the embarrassment of wearing around your Freshman Stripe, which is basically the College “Kick Me” sign.

An equally, if not more, embarrassing accessory to the Freshman Stripe is the Wet Seat. Not only does the Wet Seat look weird, it’s obscenely uncomfortable. You might be thinking “How do people even get the wet seat? Why don’t they just wipe off their bike seat?” Guess what, we did!! Inspect your bike seat. If it’s one of those plastic-ish covered seats public that weren’t sewn on, then you’re probably good. But a lot of seats have seams sewn into them, meaning that when rain starts to fall, water will seep into those little seams. So even when we wipe our seats off, the second we put pressure on it the water is going to be pushed up and will soak into your pants.

You have two options. You can buy yourself a plastic seat cover, it looks like a little shower cap for your bike seat, which technically it is. Or, if you’re already over that piece of advice since it involves buying something, you can go the cheap way and just cover your bike seat with a plastic grocery bag. It’ll do the job, and it looks real cute.

Take advantage of public transportation

For those of you out there that do not know how to ride a bike, or are perhaps afraid of ruining your hair, you can always ride the bus. Most college campuses have their own bus system and many of them are free for students. Even if your college doesn’t have its own bus system, most cities offer free public transportation for students. So look into it! My advice for this is, don’t sleep in! Yes, it’s embarrassing to be walking around wearing the Freshman Stripe and the Wet Seat, but it’s even more embarrassing and definitely more exhausting to be that person sprinting after a bus.

It Could Happen to Anyone

Go ahead and write this off as useless advice, but don’t say I didn’t warn you when the first rain comes and you aren’t prepared. Just go the safe route! Invest in fender and a seat cover, because if you don’t get them now, wearing around the stripe or the wet seat like a scarlet letter or a “Kick Me” sign will definitely encourage you to get them later. I’m just saving you from the embarrassment! Remember though, you can always take the bus!

Related Posts

The following two tabs change content below.
Bryanna Maty

Bryanna Maty

Bryanna Maty is a Senior at the University of California, Davis. After graduating in June she hopes to find or invent a career that will utilize her love for writing, spending money and making people laugh. In her spare time you can find her crafting things off of Pinterest, swimming, line-dancing or watching re-runs of “Friends.”