‘I would bike 500 miles’

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Imagine studying in the library and feeling the sudden urge to treat yourself to some Chickfil-A (because the struggle is real). You reach for your keys only to realize you don’t have them with you. In fact, you never had them with you. In fact, you never even had a car with you on the LCU campus.

The Duster recently embarked on a citywide search to get the truth behind what it is like to live this way in Lubbock, Texas.

The scoop: No car, little independence

The LCU student body at is full of those who have cars. A recent informal survey of many LCU students revealed it is mostly freshmen who fall in the category of those without cars.  

When asked about the trials of not having a vehicle, the most common response was that you rely on your friends quite a bit. One respondent said, “It’s awkward at times to ask for rides. You become dependent on other people and it makes you feel like a beggar at times.”

The common theme was that not having a vehicle means not having independence. For instance, going to the store is harder. If you want to go by yourself, you have to walk to the Food King by campus for it to even be a possibility. 

Bikers, beware

The lack of bike safety and convenience in Lubbock offers is also a problem. Lubbock is a fairly substantial town, with a lot to offer and incredibly convenient roads, such as Marsha Sharp and the Loop, If you are driving, you can pretty much get anywhere in Lubbock in about 10 minutes.

A biker, on the other hand, has a far more challenging commute ahead of them.

The first step is actually getting a bike to ride. The average bike for a commuter can be about $100 starting off. If you purchase one nicer than about $300, you run the risk of parts or even the whole bike being stolen because of its worth.

Lubbock: The Windy City

The next obstacle is unfriendly roads. Unless you’re biking through only neighborhoods to your destination, you’ll have to cross some type of highway at least once on your ride. These roads can cause added mileage and time onto your ride that would not be present if you had a car.

Wind can also be a big factor. If it’s blowing with you the ride is a breeze and can be easily handled. But spring in Lubbock is not always that easy. The dust storms and wind make it much more difficult to move.

Even the pros struggle

To get a better idea of what it is like to ride under these conditions, the Duster attended the Texas Tech Cycling race recently, which was held on one of the highest-wind days of the year so far. The Tech cyclists couldn’t come close to race pace. The average speed for a pro cyclist is at least 27 miles an hour. The average for the cyclists in this race was 14 miles an hour.  Every participant struggled with the wind — many were blown over and nearly half gave up without finishing.

Texas Tech Cycling Club President Garret Settles said the wind is always a struggle.

“Wind accounts for over 70 percent of the forces that slow you down on the bike. When a normal race averages 22 miles per hour, wind conditions are typically calm and the most severe wind you will feel is around 20 miles per hour. But when the wind is already blowing more than 35 miles per hour, it’s a struggle to simply move forward. It can completely change the dynamics of the race,” he said.

But it’s not impossible

Being a college student who relies on biking as transportation can be tough, especially in a city like Lubbock. But with a dependable bike it can be done. 

The charge to all college students in Lubbock with a car is to help a brother out. You never know when giving someone a ride could make their day much easier and be the greatest help.

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