Biking has long been known as an easy and fun option for alternative transportation and with the Center for Sustainable Development relaunching the bike share program in the fall semester, now may be the perfect time to reserve a bike for yourself and hit the city streets. However, if the idea of zipping through Charleston traffic on nothing more than two wheels seems intimidating, one student says his experience has been easier than you might think.
Rowan Emerson, a biology major and rising senior at the College of Charleston, has been biking the streets of Charleston for about three years since first scoring a bike at a bike fair hosted by MUSC.
“I just really like getting to places quickly,” Emerson says. He says he opted for a bike as his preferred mode of transportation because “It was just so easy to use. Charleston also has bike racks everywhere. It saves me a lot of time.”
Instead of being stuck in rush hour traffic, Emerson enjoys the fresh air, views of the city, and some exercise while getting to his destination.
“I feel more connected to the city biking as opposed to driving,” Emerson says. “It’s a beautiful day and I can basically see all the sights and I feel like I’m more in the city than I would be in a car. I’m paying attention to everything.”
However, to some, Charleston’s lack of bike lanes may be intimidating. Emerson says sometimes it makes him feel a bit on edge, but that he’s actually never had problems with cars. “So far, so good,” he says.
“You just have to be wary. Take all the necessary precautions– bike lights, always wear a helmet. So as long as you’re taking the necessary precautions and making sure you’re vigilant while you’re biking, I’d say there’s no problem biking in Charleston for the most part.”
Emerson urges people who may be concerned about biking on busy streets to opt for an alternate route. Charleston’s city structure allows for many side streets to stretch along the same routes that many of the major streets do.
“Sometimes if I don’t want to bike down King, Saint Phillips is a little bit slower, a little less traffic, and a lot less distraction, and it goes the same place pretty much,” Emerson says.
As far as tips for beginners, Emerson says: “Just enjoy yourself while biking. I know I always do.”
More information on the CSD’s bike share relaunch will be available closer to the start of fall semester. If you would like to rent a bike out for summer, please contact the Center for Sustainable Development.