Why having too many bikes is a good thing

It was a beautiful spring day in late April, and one of the warmest days so far this year. The flowers were blooming and the birds were singing, and if any day were to be one to walk, bike, or RipStik to school, this day seemed perfect.

And so, like any other day, I rode my bike to school. Because I live only a half mile away from the school, biking is the fastest mode of transportation for me. Biking allows me to avoid the infuriatingly long line of traffic that inches along 57th street, and it takes me less than four minutes to get from my garage to the bike racks at the pool doors.

However, when I arrived at the bike racks near the pool doors, I saw something that I hadn’t seen before—all of the slots in the rack were taken. Although I was slightly shocked, this was a pretty good problem to have. If more people are biking to school, that’s great! In light of this fact, I chained my bike to a fence a few feet away from the racks, where two bikes were already stationed. No problem, right?


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What a waste of paper.

When I walked out of the school at the end of a day, a small rolled-up note was waiting for me, held to the handle of my bike by a rubber band. “Bicycle Parking Notice #1” it read at the top. Following a short description of where I should properly station my bike was a handwritten note, saying “Please use the rack, not the fence.”

I hadn’t gotten in any real trouble, but this “warning” still annoyed me. Why does it matter that I parked my bike on a fence that had no purpose other than protecting a tree? There was no possible way that I could’ve locked up my bike when the number of bikes already on the compact rack was in the double digits. I could have pedaled across campus to the more spacious racks near the science wing, but that would have been an inconvenient waste of time for me.

Additionally, I wasn’t hurting anybody by using the fence near the pool doors that are only there to protect a single tree. My bike, along with the two others that were parked before me, was parallel to the fence, not obstructing any walking path. If there was any reason for me not to park here, it would only have to do with a slight distortion of the campus aesthetic, in which case the necessity for students to safely store their transportation would surpass this in importance.

The location in question.
The location in question.

Besides, I was doing the world a favor by biking in the first place. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, driving a car to get around is the “single most polluting activity” in most of our daily lives, and I was helping reduce carbon emissions by abstaining from using a car to get to school. It seems a bit counterintuitive to condemn overflowing bike racks right after the school participated in Earth Week. Having this many people ride their bikes instead of drive to school is a good sign, not something worth wasting paper for.

If I had gotten a warning for parking my bike in a more crazy place, I would’ve accepted the fact that I was at fault. But my bike was parked mere footsteps away from an overflowing rack. It is ridiculous that I got in slight trouble for what should be praised in the first place, and I’m not the only one in this situation. For the sake of the students, the school, and the environment, let’s embrace having too many bikes, and perhaps, add another rack near the pool doors.