Rolling into Summer: A Week of Getting Back to Bike Riding

Although I love to bike, winter riding isn’t super easy for me with my bike’s tires, the streets I need to traverse, and having to store my bike in my third floor apartment over break. That’s why I get super excited when March rolls around! In Michigan, the month doesn’t translate to warm temperatures by any means, but with less salt and ice on the roads, I’m ready to break out my bike for some spring riding!

Monday

Since my bike’s been sitting around all winter, I was planning to take it to Common Cycle for their open bike maintenance hours on Sunday. Unfortunately, I had a club event that morning between 11am-3pm, so I decided to head to the library on Monday instead! The downtown public library offers free bicycle repair toolkits for check out. I wanted to help my roommate repair her bicycle, so I strapped it on the back of my bike to ride home with. I won’t recommend this though. It was difficult to ride with, and although I felt comfortable taking breaks and readjusting, I ended up driving it back to avoid the hassle. Next time, I would just complete my repairs at the library’s fix-up stand located on the side of the building.

Once I got home, I used the kit’s air pump to inflate my tires, the oil to lubricate my chain, and its miscellaneous wrenches and screwdrivers to adjust my brakes and seat height. I followed the Planet Blue Winter Bike Maintenance Guide to complete an ABC-Quick check. It walked me through these steps and why they’re important for safe riding! After these small adjustments, I felt ready to ride!

Tuesday

With 8:30s every day, I love to sleep in as much as I can, and that’s why I love biking to class! I usually make the commute from my apartment to campus in 6 minutes (compared to a 15 minute walk). I don’t love to bike across the Diag with all the students, so I typically lock my bike up at my first class and then come grab it at the end of the day. I have a meal pass, so sometimes I end up using it to ride to the dining halls and then park it at my next class. 

I knew that I wouldn’t be on campus for too long today and would only be riding in daylight, so I only brought my helmet to wear as I rode.

Bikes locked up at racks outside the North University Building.

Wednesday

Today I had an exam and a long day of classes and meetings ahead of me. I brought my bike light with me today so I could attach it to my bike before riding home. I always take my light off my bike when I park it since it’s easily detachable making it easy to steal. I also always lock up my bike with a simple wire and lock combo on campus, but if I’m ever leaving it somewhere overnight, I use my U-Lock (which I otherwise leave at home).

Locking up my bike!

Thursday

When I woke up today, it was pouring. I had planned to bike to Kerrytown for lunch, but abandoned that plan. It’s difficult for me to see and break properly in these conditions so I decided to leave my bike at home and walk to class today. 

The rain cleared up by the afternoon, and after spending some time at my apartment after class, I decided I wanted to go see a movie! After wiping off my seat, I hopped on my bike and rode downtown. I use basic hand signals and am always on defense when biking through residential and city areas of Ann Arbor. 

I will say: drivers in Ann Arbor generally do not care about your safety. They only want to get where they’re going as fast as they can—often disregarding bikes and neglecting to slow down when they pass you. This can get super frustrating, not to mention dangerous. My biggest piece of advice is to use protected bike lanes as much as possible and always assume a driver does not see you. Wearing my helmet and reflective gear makes me feel more safe, but you never know!

Friday

After a long week of classes, I went on a bike ride with my friend to blow off some steam. It was great! I got to explore some new parts of Ann Arbor I would have never otherwise seen and checked out a new restaurant—Culantro. We enjoyed some great Peruvian food before biking home!

Mirror selfie at the restaurant where I jokingly put on my helmet—I don’t typically wear it indoors…

Biking in Ann Arbor is a great way to get to class, see more parts of the city, and enjoy the outdoors! As a sustainable transit option, consider how you can ride more this spring and summer. Access the resources found throughout this blog to find community repair resources, trail maps, and safety guides. If you need additional support with your bike, please head to Common Cycle during their open hours from 11-3pm on Sundays to learn more about bike repair.

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