Breaking Barriers to Bike Commutes: The Car Problem

Cars can be a multiple-ton security blanket – they offer protection from bad weather and can often be a way to quickly get from point A to point B. However, you still have options to have a productive day and a safe trip home even if you arrived on campus by bike before a bad storm rolls in, you or a family member end up needing a sick day, or you have non-bikeable errands to run during the day.

bicycle on car bike rack

FACT: your car and bicycle will not get jealous of each other. Some people even train their bicycles and cars to happily travel together. (sometoast/Flickr)

Four easy ways to avoid getting stuck:

  • Ride Solutions Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) – open to anyone registered with Ride Solutions, which is 100% free.
  • VT Emergency Ride Home (ERH) available through Parking Services to those registered with Bike, Bus & Walk or VT Carpool parking permits – free ride to your local residence or vehicle. M-F, 8 -5.
  • Blacksburg Transit routes hit all of campus and the CRC (in case you have a suit-and-tie meeting on the opposite side of campus), and head to the edges of town (in case that dentist appointment is keeping you from biking to campus).
  • U Car Share – register once and then pay hourly for using any of the U Car Share vehicles on campus. An annual parking permit costs about the same as registration + ~20 hours of U Car Share driving — and there a few promotional deals each year in which registration fees are reduced or free hours are up for grabs.

Think Flexibly
You don’t have to commute every day by bike to be a bike commuter. If you ride the bike a few times a week or when the weather is more agreeable, that still makes you a bike commuter. Consider joining the Bike, Bus & Walk program if you only need your car occasionally, or even just register with Ride Solutions to get access to GRH.

Too Far Away?
Need to cross a few unfriendly highways or travel for many miles before getting here? Consider biking part of the way. Take a bus, catch a ride, or drive to a closer location and bike the rest of the way in to campus.  If you do choose to drive to a closer location to start your bike commute, make sure your parking place of choice allows all day parking. Some folks store their local bike with a trusted in town friend, or park a “junky”
commuter bike at a distant lot.

Do you have other solutions to this problem? Please share them. Also, we’d like to continue to address other perceived barriers to bike commutes, so let us know if there is something you would like us to discuss.