Although going up the infamous University of Rhode Island hill can be a daunting task, some students and professors around campus have found a way to make it easier–without waiting in line for a shuttle. Regardless of the fact that they still require a concerted effort from the operator, bikes can be a great method of self-transportation, particularly when navigating the campus. The smooth pathways and sidewalks that this campus has to offer are not just suitable for those who wish to cruise on a longboard, but unlike a longboard, bikes work well both ways on the hill.
Like the famous Alpe d’huez, a mountain that has been a staple in the Tour de France for decades, riders around URI can become intimidated by the hill. “Sure, it’s great riding down, but riding up is a different story,” remarked one anonymous cyclist around campus. While this may be true, for professionals, the Alpe d’huez is unavoidable–just like the hill that the University is built on.
For example, imagine this scenario: a commuter student arrives on campus at 10:35 a.m., and the only place they can park is the Plains Road Lot. Dreadful! It takes them only two minutes to unpack their bike from the back seat of their car, and that includes putting the front tire back on the frame. Class starts at 11 a.m…. in Swan Hall. If they were to wait for the shuttle, perhaps they would arrive to class on time–but as we all know, the shuttles can be a bit inconsistent, and this student might end up cutting it close. However, with a bike, the journey to class can become both leisurely and timely. It may be a bit difficult in the wintertime, especially with snow on the ground, but for now, students should seize the opportunity to cycle up our Alpe d’huez.
This year’s Tour de France includes a summit finish on the steep mountain, the first since the 2015 edition of the Grand Tour. It will take place on July 19: Stage 12 (of the total 21) within the famous old race. Undoubtedly, it will be an important stage within the race–all riders will be hard-pressed to perform on the incline.
A race like the Tour de France is all about time–how fast can you, as a professional rider, burst up the climbs to the finish? Well, getting around campus is also all about time (as is college in general), and saving precious time can be valuable to all students. “I’m just trying to get to class on time,” shouted one sweaty rider, in passing. In a blur, they sped off in the direction of Chaffee; as a cycling fan myself, I understood. Life is all about time.