Cycling at Warwick
I’ve spent two of my three years at Warwick using my bike to get around and, basically, it’s been great. Here’s a summary of my experience and everything I think you need to know about cycling at Warwick.
I’ve cycled while living in two places at uni and that means I’ve had two very different cycling experiences. Last academic year, I lived in Kenilworth and was on campus six days every fortnight. Without my bike, I’d have had to take the bus or drive in. Currently, a single bus ticket costs £2.20 or £132 per term and a student bus pass is £125 a term, and parking costs even more. I’ve just had my bike serviced for about £50, which is all it’s cost me for two years. It would have taken about 20 minutes to get the bus to Gibbet Hill campus from Kenilworth while it took about 40 minutes to cycle – a little bit longer, but worth it in my opinion.
This year I live in Coventry, close to campus. However (as I found out after accidentally deflating my own tyre for a week) it still takes about 45 minutes to walk all the way up to the Medical School. It takes 15 minutes to cycle, meaning I save half an hour of precious sleep/work/rest time with every trip! Also, cycling with paniers makes it much quicker and easier to carry my weekly shop back from Tesco.
And, of course, cycling is good for you – especially the climb up Gibbet Hill, which I’m sure will eventually give me the legs of peak 80s Arnold Schwarzenegger.
As well as physical benefits, I think the longer, peaceful bike rides to and from campus last year were really good for me mentally. They provided a nice buffer between university and free time.
Between Kenilworth and campus, there is the Connect2Kenilworth route which is lovely to cycle. It’s mostly off-road, well-kept and scenic. Coventry is less peaceful, but a lot of the pavements are for bikes and pedestrians, with clearly signposted cycle routes. The university campus itself is also pretty bike friendly, with designated cycle routes connecting most areas.
The campus has plenty of bike shelters, many of which are covered; there’s a map here, which also has the campus cycle routes. Although I haven’t used them, there have been regular Dr Bike sessions where your bike can be serviced or repaired at a reduced price. I also haven’t used the West Midlands Cycle Hire bikes, which are dotted around campus and a couple of other locations including Coventry train station. I wish I’d got more use out of these in my first year, when I didn’t have a bike or car with me.
The one negative experience I’ve had is with the free bike pump next to the humanities building. My tyre was a bit deflated, so I decided to use the pump. It didn’t work and I fully deflated my tyre in the process. The moral of that story is: don’t trust free pumps and bring your own instead.
The essentials I have for cycling at uni are:
- proper cycling gloves, waterproof cycling jacket, and neckwarmer/snood/balaclava as I’m prone to achy cold ears.
- A decent rucksack with a waist strap, and I have a very good hi-vis waterproof rucksack cover which keeps me safe and protects my stuff. I also got some panniers this year which have made carrying shopping so much easier.
- Good rechargeable bike lights. These have been worth investing in, as in winter I have cycled home in the pitch dark.
- A bike multitool, and I should probably have a puncture repair kit too.
- A bike lock – I’ve never had anything stolen off my bike and I think campus is pretty safe. However, I do tend to take my bike lights with me as they’re detachable.
And that’s everything I can tell you about cycling at Warwick uni!