I’ve found myself grunting this phrase far too often during these first two weeks of school, and I know why.
Frosh. On. Bikes.
When you live on the Upper Row, Manz or out in the boondocks and leave yourself five minutes to bike to class, the last thing you want is a run in with an inexperienced bicyclist trying to text and bike for the first time. This can get real messy, real fast.
Navigating the intense bikeways at Stanford requires a certain level of expertise only acquired after a solid quarter of commuting. To help facilitate this learning process and alleviate collective road-rage, I’ve compiled the following tips to help all you froshies survive the rest of your Stanford career (relatively) unscathed.
1) Ride on the Right: If you travel on wheels, keep to the right. There is a divider line for a reason, and it should not be crossed. Also, keep to the RIGHT of bollards (the metal/wooden poles that stick out of the ground and prevent cars from getting through). But if you walk around campus, keep on the LEFT so you can easily dodge traffic and nobody has to swerve around you. Also, GO AROUND TRAFFIC CIRCLES COUNTER CLOCKWISE. The extra .5 seconds that it takes you to go around the proper way will save everyone a lot of frustration and potential injury.
2) Signal for Safety: As nerdy as they may seem, using bike signals is an excellent way to avoid rider catastrophe. Signal your turns by lifting your hand on the side to which you are turning. Add some John Travolta swag to feel extra cool.
3) Ring that Thing: Use your bike bell! It just isn’t that rude. When you’re entering a major bikeway from a blind corner, give a quick ding-a-ling. Ring that thing when foreign tourists walk in rows of 5 on the wrong side of the bikeway and you can’t slow down any more or you’ll fall off.
4) All Hands on Deck: Multitasking on a bike is a high level skill that should only be exercised by true biking savants. I’ve seen it all: biking while texting, reading the Daily, fixing makeup with a compact, eating cereal, even brushing one’s teeth. But these are ADVANCED techniques that should not be tested by amateurs. Practice your multitasking and hands free biking on your own time and not while biking around the Quad during rush hour when I’m hurrying to lunch.
5) SWERVE, Don’t Slow: The easiest way to spot frosh bikers is to watch them deal with collision. New riders, when confronted with an oncoming accident, slow down instead of swerving or just stopping. This simply delays the imminent crash instead of avoiding it. DO NOT SLOW DOWN. It makes no sense. On that note, the Marguerite WILL NOT HIT YOU. If she comes up behind you in front of the Quad, keep doing your thang. Don’t swerve and mess with oncoming traffic.
6) Practice Makes Perfect: Biking around Stanford takes a lot of getting used to, and it definitely gets easier over time. If you’re a new biker who still gets the jitters when you’re about bike through bollards or by tablers in White Plaza, get some practice! Bike around the Wilbur parking lot or practice your daily routes over the weekend. Avoid dense traffic locations such as the Circle of Death, Engineering Quad, White Plaza and Arrillaga Dining during popular passing times around 9:50 AM, 10:50 AM , 12:00 PM and 1:05 PM.