Bike More, Bee More

One of the great joys of bike riding is being able to load up on French fries while also losing weight.

One of the great pains of bike riding is finding a place to park without losing your bike to the ravages of rain — especially on a longterm basis.

With a new sheltered bike rack installed inside the Maryland Avenue Garage (MAG), UB students who live in midtown now have a new option for bicycle parking.

MAG bike parking is free.

“We want to see if there’s demand for covered bike parking for people who live in the neighborhood,” said UB Sustainability Planner Jeff La Noue.

The rack is mainly geared toward students who reside near UB but it’s open to UB bicycle commuters, as well.

Six bikes can be locked at the rack, with protection from the elements. There is room for expansion if the new bike rack proves popular.

The MAG is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. Bee card access is available all other times through the Biddle Street entrance.

Residents of the Varsity have a special room for bicycle storage. The Varsity, an apartment building for UB students at 30 W. Biddle St., is two blocks from campus. Up to 323 students can live in the Varsity.

But how many students live near UB without access to a bike room?

239 UB students live in the 21201 zip code, the same zip code as UB.

205 UB students live in 21202, the zip code next door. 

Christine Wertz, who lives ten blocks from UB, rents a fourth floor walk-up with no elevator and no room for storage.

UB students Scott Thomsen and Christine Wertz check out the bike room that provides longterm and overnight bicycle storage for residents of the Varsity, near campus. How many students living in midtown don’t have access to a bike room? Photo Credit: Laura Melamed

UB students Scott Thomsen and Christine Wertz check out the bike room that provides longterm and overnight bicycle storage for residents of the Varsity, near campus. How many students living in midtown don’t have access to a bike room?
Photo Credit: Laura Melamed

Even if there were room for bike storage in her apartment, getting a bike up and down the stairs would be impossible.

“It’s so annoying!” said Wertz, who is majoring in history at UB. “Literally, the top flight of stairs is just wide enough for me to get through.”

How many UB students are in Wertz’s situation?

When Alexis Jeter lived in Bolton Hill, she kept her bike in her living room. Jeter, an English major at UB, said bike parking in the MAG might have helped her out.

It’s challenging to get around a bike parked in the middle of your living space. My bike is now leaning against my dresser. I make sure I keep most of my work clothes elsewhere, but when I need something out of that dresser, it requires wheeling the bike halfway around the room.

I have access to storage space but it’s down a flight stairs and through heavy doors. I have to hold those heavy doors open while bike pedals scape mercilessly against my legs as I try to squeeze my transportation through a tiny space and keep it from crashing to dangerous depths at the same time.

I would definitely experiment with bike parking in the MAG if I lived close to UB.

Even bike commuters were excited to hear about the new sheltered racks.

“Absolutely,” said UB student Timothy Kleiner when I asked him if he would use the new bicycle parking in the MAG. Kleiner has a fifteen minute bicycle commute to campus.

For extra protection but no extra cost, students can register their bikes with the UB police, as well.

Please see comments below for updates on how to register your bike with campus security.

Bicycle registration, like bicycle parking, is free.

Free + free sounds like a good deal to me.

Of course you have to pay for bicycle fuel, but what’s a few extra french fries?