I had the opportunity to talk with a few students before stepping on campus and one of the things that everyone told me was that I had to get a bike. I set up a friend to leave her bike for me for when I arrived so I would have one ready.
Now I have a bike in Pittsburgh that I use occasionally to go grocery shopping or get to campus, but the biking here is truly a whole different ball game.
Like the other students at Linkoping I bike to class every morning. It is the middle of winter, there is snow on the ground, and it is quite cold outside, but that doesn’t really stop anyone. Here you can bike anywhere at anytime in any conditions. Doesn’t matter if its sub-zero temperatures or if there is 5 inches of snow on the ground, biking is a lifestyle. Not just to class either! We bike to the city center, to our friends’ home, even to the Ikea! It’s quite possible on some days to bike around 15 kilometers.
It takes about 10 minutes of biking from my dorm to the university. It’s a short ride through the neighborhood and just a little stretch of woods. It was quite painful at first because there was never an option for something else. Coming here I was totally out of shape, so biking took a real toll on my legs and there were never any rest days in-between because there is always somewhere to go. However, after a while its just something you get used to. It’s nice to be able to work out without having to set aside any extra time in your day. It’s like having a little car that is powered by you.
It was also a challenge because many of the other European students were used to this kind of biking, so I had to work really hard to get on their levels. I’m happy I got to have this experience because now not only do look forward to biking more in Pittsburgh, but I have learned so much about bikes and how to fix them and its really fun to participate in the lifestyle.
It’s always so cute when we bike somewhere together in a group or when we attempt to bring our bikes in the apartment because they need fixing (which we do ourselves). There are bike lanes everywhere which also makes it much easier. Although I have slipped and fell once, I enjoy getting better and better. It really makes you feel accomplished when you know that you can take yourself places.