At Pacific, we seem to be not so much a “bike culture,” but a “culture of bikes.” As freshman, we eagerly haul our bike from home or purchase one off of Craigslist. We see the gentle landscape of Washington County and dream of wandering the backroads of Forest Grove on sunny afternoons, taking a break from the textbooks.

Sadly, this is often not the reality of most students with bikes at Pacific.  Once we’re here, we find other activities to occupy our time and energy.  Who needs a bike ride when you can go on an evening indoor rock climbing adventure with Outback or make a quick visit to the Stoller Center or the Aquatic Center just across the street from campus?

As you enjoy the recreational opportunities here at Pacific, your bike collects dust in the crowded basements of the residence halls.  Weeks then months go by without a bike ride.  Maybe you’ve even managed to ignore your bike for a whole fall semester, but you can ignore it no longer:  it’s spring.

With birds chirping, flowers popping up and blue-skied afternoons, spring is definitely the season for a bike ride in Forest Grove.  We have some great routes, both long and short, that are scenic and safe for beginners and pros.  I know there may still be some trepidation for dusting the cobwebs off of your steed… but for your sake, read on.  Below is the retort to (almost) every excuse for ignoring one’s bike any longer:

“My bike’s broken” – The easiest thing is to take the bike to the Outback, where the staff will be happy to help.  They won’t repair the bike for you, but they can give you all the advice, tools, encouragement and the space to do it yourself.  To learn more about bike repair than a one-time fix will allow, sign up for Outback’s Bike Maintenance Workshop. The event will take place April 10 in the Milky Way, with some of the best bike experts on campus.

“I forgot my combination/lost my key” – This is classic!  It can be embarrassing to admit having forgotten how to operate the bike lock, but don’t put it off any longer.  The bike is taking up valuable space on the bike racks, and it shouldn’t be chained there for eternity just because of forgetfulness.  You’ll have to kiss that lock goodbye, but at least it means getting your bike back.  Call up CPS, and ask them if they would be willing to cut the lock.  Keep in mind that they will want proof that the bike is yours:  photos of you riding it, receipt or credit card statement from having purchased the bike, another person’s testimony, etc.  Once you’ve proven the bike is truly yours, they should be able to cut the lock and set your bike free at last!

“I don’t know where to ride” – Visit the Outback for bike route recommendations.  My personal favorite is Stringtown Road loop with narrow, low-traffic winding country roads and a beautiful view of Mt. Hood on a clear day.  Riding around the Fern Hill Wetland is a pleasant short trip, with plenty of ducks and other wetland birds for company.  For the adventurous, take highway 47 bike lane out to Hagg Lake and enjoy the view (warning:  there are some butt-busting hills on the way, but the scenery is worth it).  For better directions and mileage estimates, just type any of these place names into Google Maps.

“There aren’t enough bike racks” – It’s true:  bike parking is limited, especially in the residence halls.  One only has to peek into the depths of Walter or Clark to see the basements overflowing with tangled metal and tires.  Some students, faculty and staff have rallied around this issue and are meeting to do something about it.  The Campus Betterment Committee, lead by Blaise Holden, meets on some Thursdays at noon to discuss plans for expanding bike parking on campus.  If you’d like to be part of the discussion, don’t hesitate to contact Blaise at hold5762@pacificu.edu.  The goal is to have more racks in more efficient places.  Join and have your opinions heard!

Spring is here and it’s time to leave the comfort of indoor gyms and head outside.  Rekindle your relationship with the bike and discover new places.  Do it yourself!

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