Transportation troubles: getting around campus

Somehow, no matter how hard you try, you find yourself 15 minutes away from a class with only the feeble 10 Berkeley time-granted minutes to get there. You wish you had a bike, scooter or person to carry you to where you need to be. But you don’t: You’re walking — you’re walking with the fury of 1,000 power-walking soccer moms — and you’re starting to get shin splints. You dream of having a bike, which could get stolen within the first 10 days of your titanium-loving ownership (only for you to find it listed locally on Craigslist a few weeks later), and you’re even willing to risk looking like a very agitated 12 year old and adopt the comically collegiate scooter to push your way around campus. You’re desperate and need guidance, and, as usual, the Clog is here for you.

1. Get a bike.

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Since its advent, the bike has always been the coolest way to get around on two wheels. Maybe that’s why bikes get stolen so often, or why it’s hard to maintain hope that you can own a bike here at all. It’s sort of like Zipcar but with bikes, only you aren’t voluntarily letting strangers share time on the same vehicle as yours: They just so happen to have lock cutters that overpower your bike lock. Maybe communism is well and alive in Berkeley after all, like outsiders think, but in the form of you distributing your ultralight-titanium-reinforced wealth with everyone around you.

2. Try scootering around.

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If you’re not particularly worried about self-image, then this is the mode of transportation for you. It’s probably going to knock a few points off how cool people think you are, but at least scooters are really convenient. They’re pretty fast, ecofriendly and fold up to maximize portability. On paper, scooters seem like an outstanding choice, but it’s tough to justify your scooter lifestyle when you’re trying to stand out as a mature collegiate student and you’re rocking those flashy, red, spinning rims.

3. Shred on a skateboard.

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The allure of looking really cool on a skateboard is worth all the risk. (Please wear a helmet.) Either way, skateboards are a great way to weave in and out of the plebeian walking populace and get to class ever-so-slightly faster — just in time for you to pick up your board with pizzazz, take off your sunglasses and proudly walk in, with your wheels by your side. See Avril Lavigne circa 2002.

4. Use some DIY transportation: walking.

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It’s not as stylish as the rest of the options, but walking has been working for thousands of years now — probably more, but, like, we’re not scientists — and it’s a pretty decent option. Sometimes, it’s not very fun, and going up hills will get you tired and stuff, but at least you can count it as the cardio you’re not doing at the Recreational Sports Facility like you promised yourself you would. Also, walking is free and doesn’t pose many safety risks (unless you’re a klutz), and it’s also incredibly ecofriendly. Sometimes, it can be a bit time-consuming, but sometimes, it’s nice to slow down and smell the roses, get relentlessly barraged with fliers on Sproul and get swept up in the mobs of protesters around campus.

So really, it’s a matter of preference. If you want to own a bike (before it gets stolen), you should own a bike. If you’re more of a sk8boarder, then roll on, you stylish and dangerous Bear. Don’t let the juvenile appearance of a scooter stop you from pushing yourself along. And most definitely don’t ever stop taking the long way — walking — because if you don’t do your part and take it slow while going to class, then to whom will the people handing out fliers on Sproul obstruct and give papers that will undoubtedly be momentarily recycled? Do your part, Bears.

Image Sources: Sonny AbesamisKyle Saric, Emily Chang, Steffen Ramsaier, Moyan Brenn under Creative Commons

Contact Uday Suresh at [email protected].