UnicycleI’m sure everyone is tired of seeing all these gas prices fluctuating at such high prices, and what better alternative than strapping on that helmet and riding that bicycle around from point A to point B. Okay, maybe it might sound cooler or at least more convenient to have a car, but as a freshmen, unless you’ve received special treatment, we can’t have our own car here in JMU. Therefore, a freshman’s sources of transportation other than by foot are the buses, long boards, skateboard, bicycles, or even a unicycle. Yes, surprisingly you might be able catch that one guy on the quad riding around with his unicycle. As a person who is starting to take an interest on cycling due to my experience last spring of purchasing a fixed-geared bicycle which is a bike that doesn’t contain a freewheel in which requires constant pedaling, I would like to bring to your attention the experience of biking, not only in JMU, but the city of Harrisonburg.

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The number one thing I would like to point out is since we are in the city of Harrisonburg; there are a lot of hills even in campus. Biking around campus might be one of the greatest ways for a person to burn some calories and work out that quadriceps. It is especially a killer for me since a fixed geared bicycle requires the rider to constantly pedal, and the only way to break is to pedal backwards. When deciding whether you’d like to start biking around campus to get from class to class, I’d advise you to acquaint yourself with the campus hills. Other than your own free time in campus, FROG week, CHOICES, or any campus tours would be the best way for you to examine the campus. As you take a stroll through campus pay close attention to the steepness of which side walk or street you are crossing. The elevation is exhausting, and I cannot stress that enough.  Admittedly, since I live in Bluestone I avoid biking towards east campus because Carrier Dr. is not avoidable and that street is real steep. Going down Carrier Dr. heading towards West Campus, however, is exhilarating because you are going practically 20-30 mph down the street.However be careful because at the end of that slope there is a light intersection, so have your brake ready. The hyperlink below shows me biking up and down that road.

Through Carrier Drive

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If you are worried where to place your bike once you’ve arrived to the building, it shouldn’t be very hard to spot a bike rack right in front of the building, if not, then right around the corner.  JMU has a great number of bike racks around campus and the most bikes you’ll see on a rack would be in front of Carrier Library and The Commons. Is your wheel feeling a little flat? Then just stop by the side of Warren because near the bike racks you will be able to find a machine that provides free air in order to pump your flat tire. If you didn’t bring your bike to campus and would like to try out biking around, then on The Commons you can rent a bike for as long as two weeks, and they are available every other Wednesday.  This is made possible thanks to the JMU E.A.R.T.H club who are providing this incentive in order to promote a healthy life style and to “go green”.  There is another club that is more focused on biking, and it is the Cycling team at JMU. The Cycling team participates in ride events which is all they ask for, for being part of the club. They take in casual and competitive bike riders who are interested in mountain biking, road biking, and cyclocross, and there are no tryouts required to join the club.

A floor mate of mine had brought to my awareness that if you are a member of the Cycling team, then you will be able to have discount from a certain bike shop called Rocktown Bicycles. However, Chris my floor mate said that there are plenty more found around Harrisonburg especially since Harrisonburg is a cycling friendly community. In the 8 months I’ve been here, so far, I have seen 2-3 bike shops in Harrisonburg. I’m sure there are more, but I have not yet visited any of these shops. As I have checked online, most of these shops provide parts for both mountain and road bikes for reasonable prices.

Although biking around campus is exhausting, it is a pretty small venue to bike around in. Biking on trails would be the most effective way to go see what is out there in Harrisonburg. For those who like to mountain bike, the most popular trail in Harrisonburg would be Rocktown Trails, which is located at Hillandale Park.  What’s interesting about this trail is that there are certain routes that are set by difficulty from easiest (Go) to Most Difficult (Buck Jam). Also, a great resource for finding routes to cycle in would be Bike the Valley (http://www.cspdc.org/bikeva/) this website provides off-road and on-road routes that connect Harrisonburg with other neighboring counties.

Also, don’t forget safety first. I wouldn’t blame you if you wouldn’t want to wear a helmet in campus because I certainly don’t. However, I should probably buy one soon because after interviewing David, a worker in Shenandoah Bicycle Company, he had said that “being under educated” with biking is the main danger for biking in Harrisonburg. Unlike, Washington D.C where the roads are busier and cars don’t go above 35 mph which I am used to, Harrisonburg has cars that are much faster. Maybe it is the locals or the young drivers found in Harrisonburg, but I’m not sure what makes the difference. A few big policies one should know before deciding to bike around JMU or Harrisonburg would be to first register your bicycle either though the campus or the city. Then, know how you are able to store your bicycle. If you are storing or locking your bike illegally around campus, then they are able to confiscate your bicycle. There are plenty more rules found in the JMU Student Handbook Safety Plan. Have a safe ride

Works Cited

“Central Shenandoah Valley – Bike/Ped.” Central Shenandoah Valley – Bike/Ped. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2014.

“Meet the Clubs.” James Madison University. University Recreation, n.d. Web. 05 May 2014.

“Rocktown Trails at Hillandale Park.” City of Harrisonburg, VA. HarrisonburgVA.gov, 25 Apr. 2014. Web. 05 May 2014.

 

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