Cycling down the path of life

Bicycling Back To College Town

College Town Header


With advancing age, yet undiminished ideals the couterurbanization movement is underway. From Baby Boomers to Millennials, and the Generation X in between, it seems that more of us are heading back to our college towns all across America – because they’re better places to bicycle.

The appeal of the college town is unmistakable and powerfully alluring. It was the first home away from Mom and Dad where everything was new: dorms, classes, friends, independence, endless pizza, and sex, lots and lots of sex. Oh, and for many college freshman the bicycle was the obvious choice for moving around this new world.

This sensory overload has a major impact on us as it is indelibly stamped in our memories. Perhaps most profound are the possibilities that the future holds as we’re pulling all-nighters to get those assignments in on time. You’re on the launching pad for the rest of your life and just want to leap into it. Years after these positive formative experiences it’s tempting to look back and want to recapture those magic times.

Is this the mid-life crisis?

Now, you might drive a mini van, be drowning in debt, and be frustrated by having to drive everywhere to do anything from the confines of your designer subdivision with those great schools. Whichever life station you are at it’s completely normal to want to do better and improve. Often, taking a move to a better location is a great way to proceed. Even if that means giving up some income. You might just give up a lot of stress too, and stand to benefit a whole lot more.

The college town renaissance is happening, and for lots of great reasons. Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by people who read, think, and also want a better future? The diversity of a college campus is second to none. You can catch an off-beat movie or get away to enjoy the county fair, and so much more. It’s not for everyone, but the influx of people speaks volumes.

Of course, the best part is that college towns allow you to give up that second car, and ride a bike more often. There’s so much more to life than an hour-long commute in a gas guzzler from your cul-de-sac.

I had the privilege of attending Indiana University, Bloomington. It is arguably the quintessential small college town experience, and my enthusiasm has never diminished. I have a ten-year plan to un-hitch from my current life and relocate back in Hoosier country. Just planning for this transition gives me the same optimistic glow that I had during those college years.

I’m happy to share a few pictures of campus here today. Plus, Dale Andrews has produced Bloomington Bikey Cam.



College Town Signs



College Town Chapel



Bloomington Bikey Cam

Bloomington Bikey Cam from Dale Andrews on Vimeo.


Have you made the leap back to your college town?



  1. I went to college just down the street from where I live now. It’s really not a college town, so I don’t think that counts. However, of true college towns that I’ve visited (especially on the East coast) the allure is definitely there. I recently visited Davis, and though it was super bike friendly, I was a little disappointed by the town itself. I guess I have to find another college town closer to me instead. ;)

    • You just reminded me of another important issue – reverse culture shock. I believe about two years is the tipping point where going back would be too overwhelming because everything has changed from the way you thought it was.

      You’re well connected to your college roots, so not an issue. Thankfully I have family around Bloomington so we return often and stay in touch with much of the development.

      Going back to Australia would be another story. I’m sure it’s totally different from what I recall.