Maybe you’ve seen them carrying their riders at high speeds across the quad, tied up to a rack in front of a building, or lashed to the fence outside Gilbert Residence Hall.

Or, maybe you see one each day as you ride it to class, trying to minimize the time spent in the harsh Rochester winter. In either case, bikes are very common on campus.

The benefits of owning a bike are numerous – you can sleep for five more minutes since it takes less time to get to class, you can visit friends in Graduate Living Center without waiting for a bus and you spend less time outside when the temperature drops below zero.

For all these benefits, however, there is one huge problem – where do you keep it? While there are numerous bike racks on campus, which work well in the summer and in the early fall, only a select few are covered racks and suitable for storing bikes during the long, harsh winter season.

My bike, which I took through 800 miles of the Maine coastline with nary a scratch, is already attaining a rust-orange hue on its exposed parts. Although I try to keep my bike indoors when possible, my dorm room is small enough without my bike. Furthermore, living on the third floor, I have to carry it through three, very narrow, flights of stairs

In past years, living on the Residential Quad, I used my bike primarily for exercise and enjoyment – only occasionally dashing off to class trying not to be late.

This year, however, I use my bike everyday to shorten the trip from Hill Court to the rest of campus, something I hope to continue to do when the temperature plunges even further. These few precious minutes that I save might prevent me from impending frostbite.

So, while last year I was lucky enough to snag one of the few spots outside Information Technology Services to park my bike for the winter, that is a bit far from home this semester. Talking to my suitemate and fellow biker, we tried to think up ways to keep our bikes accessible, yet safe over the winter.

Some ideas, such as a pulley system to our balcony were quickly thrown out, while others – such as trying to find a discrete place to lock them up on the first floor were thought out more thoroughly. We ended up realizing that the best solution would be some sort of outdoor bike shelter – a small wood and plastic enclosure where students could leave their bikes and keep them out of the soon to be constant snow.

If UR were to provide such shelters outside the dorms – or even better, a room inside – I’m sure the biking community would appreciate not having to constantly worry about their bike, nor ride to class on a wet seat during those rainy days.

Freidman can be reached at jfreidman@campustimes.org.



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