On the fence about bringing a bike to campus? Considering commuting to work via bike?

Biking in Blacksburg and on the Virginia Tech campus is one of the most convenient and fun ways to get around.

The Virginia Tech Alternative Transportation Department shares seven reasons to bring a bike back to campus, commute on one to school or work, or ride one for fun.

1. Boost your health by biking.

There are countless health benefits when it comes to biking. Whether it is getting your heart rate up, socializing with a friend while riding, or letting off some stress, biking is tops when it comes to a health-friendly activity or mode of transportation. Not to mention biking is highly conducive to physical distancing.

2. There are lots of places to bike on the Virginia Tech campus.

“The total mileage of paved trails at Virginia Tech is greater than the total mileage of campus roads, helping to ensure bicyclists have a path to wherever they need to go,” says Nick Quint, transportation network manager.

The handy Campus Bike Map is another great resource for plotting a ride across campus.

Campus Bike Map resting on a bike spoke
Campus Bike Map. Sarah Myers for Virginia Tech.

3. Biking is sustainable.

It's simple. Biking reduces the emission of greenhouse gases, noise and air pollution, and much more.

4. Bike parking on campus is stress-free.

Virginia Tech has more than 350 bike racks, with a capacity of more than 5,200 bikes. There are racks at every major building on campus. Additionally, students are allowed to store their bikes in their residence hall room with the permission of their roommate. The Campus Bike Map with parking locations can be found here. Additionally, all Blacksburg Transit buses are outfitted with bike racks on the front of the buses and can hold two or three bikes.

Bike rack on BT bus
Students loading bikes onto a bike rack on the front of the BT. Photo courtesy of BT.

5. Biking is a great excuse to explore new spots in the New River Valley.

Here are 10 locations for prime outdoor recreation easily accessible from the Blacksburg campus. Many of which have trails great for biking. The Huckleberry Trail bordering campus is one of the region’s greatest assets. The trail runs from Gateway Park at the base of Brush Mountain to the Montgomery County Public Library in downtown Blacksburg, and continues all the way to the Christiansburg Recreation Center.

6. Hokie Bike Hub can help with bike maintenance without ever leaving campus.

The Hokie Bike Hub is the free on-campus bike workshop dedicated to hands-on learning and empowering Virginia Tech bicyclists through a variety of maintenance resources. Customers have access to a variety of tools for self-service bike maintenance and repair. Additionally, staff are available for one-on-one help and attention. The Hokie Bike Hub is located in the Alternative Transportation Center on the ground floor of the Perry Street Parking Garage (1330 Perry Street). Assistance is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Can’t get to the Hokie Bike Hub or need to work on your bike outside of the Hokie Bike Hub’s hours? Fix-It Stations carry all the tools necessary for basic bike repair and maintenance and even include an air pump. There are five Fix-It Stations located across campus, all of which are marked on the Campus Bike Map

Hokie Bike Hub
Hokie Bike Hub

7. Save money by biking.

Biking is a highly affordable mode of transport with significantly lower maintenance costs than cars, without the need to purchase gas.

Headed out for a ride? Don't forget your Hokie hand signals!

Hokie bird doing hand signals for biking
Do you know your Hokie hand signals?

The basics of biking on campus

All bicycles on campus must be registered with Transportation Services. Failure to register a bicycle can result in fines or impoundment of the bicycle. Registration is free and can be accessed through the parking services portal. Instructions for registering your bike can be found here.

Bicyclists and motorists generally have the same rights and duties, and the laws governing traffic regulation apply equally to both.

  • Obey all traffic signs, signals, lights, and markings.
  • Ride with the flow of traffic. This is a big issue on the Drillfield where streets are one way.
  • Use proper signaling when stopping or turning.
  • When riding at night, bicycles must have a front headlight and a rear red reflector. A red light is recommended for additional safety.
  • Riding with headphones/earbuds on is illegal. 

Wear a helmet. While helmet usage isn’t required in Virginia, the Alternative Transportation Department strongly encourages it. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, 70 percent of bike crash fatalities in the U.S. are due to head injuries. A properly fitted helmet can minimize the effect of crash impact by up to 88 percent. There are three things to check when fitting your helmet:

  • Two fingers width between eyebrows and helmet.
  • Side straps make a “Y” below the ear.
  • Less than 1/2” between your chin and the strap (no more than two fingers should fit).

The Alternative Transportation Department recommends the use of a U-lock for securing your bike. The best practice is locking your frame and one wheel to the rack, or using a combination of a U-lock and cable to secure both the wheels and frame. 

The Hokie Bike Hub is the free on-campus bike workshop dedicated to hands-on learning and empowering Virginia Tech bicyclists through a variety of maintenance resources. Customers have access to a variety of tools for self-service bike maintenance and repair. Additionally, staff are available for one-on-one help and attention. The Hokie Bike Hub is located in the Alternative Transportation Center on the ground floor of the Perry Street Parking Garage (1330 Perry Street). Assistance is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Fix-It Stations carry all the tools necessary for basic bike repair and maintenance and even include an air pump. There are five Fix-It Stations located across campus, all of which are marked on the Campus Bike Map

The Alternative Transportation Department has recently implemented a summer bike storage option for students. Permits are $20 and can be purchased through the Virginia Tech parking permit portal. You may then email gettingaround@vt.edu to schedule a time to drop off your bike at the Hokie Bike Hub for secure storage. This is an easy way to make sure your bike is safe and to avoid impoundment during the summer, which costs $30 to retrieve your bike. 

For more information on biking, Campus Bike Maps, or for any questions, please contact the Alternative Transportation Department at gettingaround@vt.edu.


Written by Christy Myers