by Evee Rynish
This summer, Fairbanks is experiencing what it is like to have 5 major roads under construction at the same time. Farmers loop, Geist, Johansen, University, and Phillips field are all being worked on. Due to this, traffic has increased on College and Airport. It leaves me questioning, why be in a car?
Fairbanks is one of multiple Alaskan cities where midnight sun celebrations happen. The sun never sets, the temperatures stay warm, and there is an arid climate. These conditions make summer biking ideal. Another perk of biking this summer, you will have access through the construction. Farmers Loop, and the Johansen/Geist/University construction both have pathways for pedestrians to get through. With the current road construction, you may find getting around town on bike equally as efficient as getting around in a car.
There are many perks of bike commuting. Saving on gas, getting a little work out in, and breathing the fresh air. If the idea of ending up at a workplace a little sweaty is unappealing, remember you can take it slow, and bring a change of clothes. A quick sink- shower can go a long way. What about rain? Pack a jacket into your bag for just incase, or if you are uncomfortable riding in the rain, only ride on sunny days.
How to get started bike commuting? Plan your route, and get a practice ride in if possible. Check and ensure you have a safe space to lock your bike, and bring a bike lock. If you are planning to change clothes and freshen up, give yourself an extra 15 minutes time on your way into work. Pack what you need in a backpack for starters. If you aren’t sure you are going to bike commute, no need to buy saddlebags right away. Then don a helmet, maybe a taillight, and be alert to traffic.
For bike maps and other route planning help, check out FMATS, go to Projects and Programing, Non- Motorized Transportation, and Click on the bike-ways map. Googling bike commuting won’t turn much up for Fairbanks. Some general rules would be to stick to the roads with sidewalks, ride on the right side of the road, if the road looks narrow, don’t use it, and be prepared to say “on your left” or “bike behind” as you are passing someone.