Bikes are an essential part of off-campus life

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Joshua Hoffman

For an off-campus commuter, morning chores and day trips into the distance seem a lot less intimidating behind the front wheel of a bicycle.

Picture this: you live in an off-campus apartment in Evanston for the last three weeks of the summer after your freshman year, and your life saver? A bike.

Life is Beautiful. You live with friends, you can blast Nicki Minaj as hard as you want without attracting the attention of your resident assistant, you watch movies until 3 a.m., and Northwestern pays you to be a tour guide.

Everything is fine, as long as you remember to get up early for your 9am tours. Every morning on the day of the tour, you set your alarm clock for 7:00 am so that you have enough time to shower, have breakfast, and be in the office at 8:45 am.

Now imagine this as a situation… a little less hypothetical. Have I woken up at 7 a.m. everyday this summer? Often times I kept pressing snooze and didn’t wake up. When this happened, I only had 15 minutes to return to campus and welcome the incoming families.

But my steadfast bike saved the day.

So, my point. Bikes are essential for a successful off-campus living experience.

Every day of my summer, my bike saved me. I could walk all four blocks from the Carlson Building to the Segal Visitor Center in less than five minutes. I got up late, rode my bike with some time to spare, and even made a quick coffee for the road.

My bike was not only useful in helping me get to work on time; he established a routine. I knew how long it would take me to get from point A to point B, and the speed of access to these points made me continue to cycle every day.

With a limited lunch break it was often not possible to return to the apartment for a quick bite until my next visit. But with my bike this problem could be avoided. I could finish a visit, get back to my apartment in five minutes, have 35 minutes to make a quick lunch, take a nap, and come back with 15 minutes to spare.

Wanted to go to Peet’s Coffee for a quick coffee break, but only had 30 minutes? Bicycle. Need to get from the south campus to the north campus very quickly? Bicycle. I had to find my friends at Davis Street CTA Station to catch a train before it leaves? Bicycle.

Most of my weekends were on bike rides with my friends either to the Bahá’í House of Worship or around Lakefill. These are probably some of the best memories I have had from my time in Evanston this summer, and it really broadened the scope of where I could explore the places I spent the most time. while living on campus.

In fact, buying a bike has been one of the wisest off-campus living decisions I’ve ever made, and has certainly made my life experience so much more enjoyable, accessible and convenient. Now that I’m looking to move off campus for my third year at NU, having a bike is something I already know will make life off campus so much easier.

After all, living off campus is stressful enough, especially for the first time. You’re completely independent, have to pay rent, take care of your landlord, upkeep and food, so why add transportation to the growing list of annoyances?

Just don’t do it. Get a bike!

Diego Ramos Bechara is a second year student at Medill. You can contact him at [email protected]rthwestern.edu. If you would like to respond publicly to this editorial, send a letter to the editor at [email protected]. The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all staff at The Daily Northwestern.


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