If you have never been on our campus you might not know that Saint Benedict's Monastery is made up of many buildings: Main Building, Walburg's, Rosamond, Marmion, Lourdes, to name just a few. All these buildings are residences for the Sisters which can mean quite a bit of walking between buildings several times a day. So someone coming from Evin Hall, for example, for prayers, meals and Eucharist will need to walk the equivalent of approximately two city blocks. And if that person is at the last minute like I often am, then a bike comes in very handy. We also share a campus with the College of Saint Benedict which means more walking from one area to another. It is good to have something with two wheels that can move around in places where cars cannot go.
For the most part our bikes are called clunkers. Most of them are old, second hand bikes that we have inherited from a family member or friend. Some of them have speeds and hand brakes and some just have pedal brakes. But they all stay outside from May through October - or until the first significant snow fall. We don't lock them because we trust that if someone borrows a bike, that person will return the bike some time to the rack they took it from. There are, however, situations that arise that leave a person scratching their head. Like the time my bike ended up on the tennis court at St. John's University, 6 miles up the road. Obviously someone was in a rush to get home and could not wait for the bus that goes back and forth between Saint John's and Saint Benedict's. Or, they missed the last bus back to Saint John's.
The next time you come to our campus you might find yourself driving behind a person of a certain age on a bike, with her knees going out from side to side as she pedals because the seat is not high enough for her; she does not appear to be heading to a specific destination but simply enjoying a spring evening.