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Back to the Books—and Bikes—in Monterey County: Tips for College Students

For tips for elementary middle, and high school students, click here.

Free up time for studies and fun!

Save yourself research by reviewing the tips below for Monterey County college students of all ages. Many of these tips will also be of interest to any young adult who bikes. Questions? Contact Bicycling Monterey.
Share a mini-fier to help others find these resources:
4-to-a-pg mini fliers – BikeMontereyDOTorg

Do you bike-and-ride using Monterey-Salinas Transit /

Starting with Fall 2022 semester, Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) College Ecosmart Pass Program is set to begin with Hartnell College, Monterey Peninsula College, and CSUMB. Details:

For more MST bike-and-ride tips, see

This info below was first published in

summer 2010 and has been partially updated. 

Are you passionate about bicycling? Or do you just need community service hours? Are you a student focusing on public health, urban planning, environmental studies, technology, Spanish, economic development, eco-recreation—or just love supporting more people biking? Volunteer to help with Bicycling Monterey’s bicycle advocacy projects, whether a few hours or more, one-time or ongoing. Check out this summary of projects. Your help is needed with tasks ranging from providing Spanish translation to IT tasks to outreach to businesses and organizations, and much more. Contact us to chat about your interests.

Okay, on for some tips.

Can’t I just load my bicycle on the Monterey Airbus as is? Nope, gotta box it. See the detailed bike-and-ride tips. On Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) buses and trolleys though, you can load your bicycle aboard, unboxed, of course! See Bicycling Monterey’s most popular MST tips.

The MIIS students below know biking is great here even in winter.
CSUMB, Hartnell, MIIS, NPS, and many other schools make an extra effort to help students bike.  Examples:
  • CSUMB January 2024:
  • Hartnell College encourages Alternative Transportation, including biking, with many convenient bicycle racks near campus buildings, and at the main parking area as well. (1) Bike lockers were installed on both Hartnell’s Main and Alisal/East campuses in 2015. Bike locker use is free at Hartnell campuses. Lockers are available on first-come, first-served basis, and they’re not for overnight use. No key deposit required. Instead, bring your own lock. These bike lockers are designed for one bike only. However, they are large enough to hold two bikes if you and a friend want to share use of a bike locker. Remember to bring your own lock, and of course, to share your lock combination or key with that friend. See this site’s Bicycle Parking section for related info. (2) Do you take Monterey-Salinas Transit bus between Hartnell Main and East campuses? If an MST trolley is operating and has no bicycle rack on the trolley, at the trolley driver’s discretion— just as with any MST large or small bus that has a full bicycle rack—you may take your bicycle inside a trolley too. Here are Bicycling Monterey’s most popular MST bike-and-ride tips. For more details, see Bicycling Monterey’s bike-and-ride section.
    A current CSUMB bicycling portal page as of 4/13/23:

    Otter Cycle Center:  CSUMB’s Otter Cycle Center is a campus bike center with bike rentals for students as well as maintenance/repair and other support, including organized rides. Contact the Otter Cycle Center to learn more:

    (1)  CSUMB Bike Map includes hot spots and Spanish, as well as English text. bike_map_2012_final_print_spanish_1 [English and en espanol] (2) There are bicycle boulevards on campus.  (3) A handcycle is one of many bike resources at CSUMB; see more below. (4) CSUMB has bike lockers as well as an indoor Bike Bunker (scroll down for more info). [Update: Otter Pedal 2014 – 10/28/14 Pedal Perks.]


  • MIIS website highlights cycling resources, including at their annual information fairs. Check with MIIS student services for the next date.
  • NPS Foundation Cycling Club brochure is shared with new students at the NPS clubs fair held at the school each quarter. Download it here:  NPS Tri-Fold Info Flyer v5 NPS students will want to visit their website to learn more; click here.
  • Monterey Peninsula College has nearby bike lanes along Camino Aguajito leading directly to the coastal trail, a Class I bike/multi-use route.
Below, note MPC’s advisory about sidewalk riding rules on campus. For more about sidewalk riding throughout Monterey County, listen to a 90-second audio and read local ordinances and other tips in Bicycling on Sidewalks: Misconceptions and Advisories. Also: Crosswalks, and “What Pedestrians and Bicyclists Want Each Other to Know”


You’ll see that MPC sign next to the bicycle parking rack by Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing.


Most info in this post is for students of all local colleges. For Hartnell and CSUMB, also see:
  • Hartnell students, and others wanting to explore our county seat, will find “What to do in Salinas” of further interest.
  • CSUMB students will find a CSUMB section at the end of this post.
What about high schools and elementary schools?

The focus in this post is college students, although much of the info applies to high school students as well.  To learn about about elementary, middle, and and high schools, see “Kids biking to school.”

For all students

California State University at Monterey Bay, the Defense Language Institute, Hartnell College, Monterey College of Law, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey Peninsula Collegethe Naval Postgraduate School, Robert Louis Stevenson School, and Santa Catalina School are among the local educational institutions bringing more welcome cyclists to Monterey County every year.

New friends await….


Why bike

I mean, why bike when you can drive, right?  Check  reasons here.  And of course there’s also the matter of being….


Students are often well aware of the benefits of bicycling on the environment, and how biking helps keep the Monterey Bay—and beyond— beautiful.

Besides, pedal-power is fun

Watch the new People for Bikes video, then tell me they aren’t having a good time!

Don’t have a bike?

Bike rentals are available at numerous locations.

Ready to purchase a bike? These tips on selecting a bike from San Francisco’s are geared to those biking to work, and the tips are a helpful overview for people biking to school as well.

New bike

Monterey County has plenty of local bike shops where you can check out the latest options.

Investing in a new bicycle from a local shop–where clerks are knowledgeable and can find and even fit the right bike for your body and your needs–is first choice if it doesn’t break your budget.

Used bike

Maybe you just don’t have much money to  spend on a bike right now. Or maybe you have plenty of money but  aren’t  sure if you’ll bike much. In either case, consider buying a used bike.

Best place to buy used? A local bike shop. Yes, some do have used bikes for sale, as well as new bikes. Click here for starters.

See more tips on purchasing a used bike in section 7 (“Bicycle Shops”) of the 20-section Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide.

Bike library inspiration

Could a bike library be part of Monterey County’s transportation options for students?  If you are a sustainable transportation or bike advocate, consider the cool bicycle library that our Monterey Bay neighbors at UC Santa Cruz offer.  Maybe that will be happening this side of the bay someday too, because of the first steps taken by….you?

Hartnell College Main Campus

Photo courtesy of Frank Henderson

Your campus seems a little far from the action?

Don’t let that stop you!  Check out bike-and-ride options, including tips for using the MST bus, Amtrak train, and more, including bike racks on personal vehicles.

Gotta haul

a bunch of books and other heavy stuff? Consider a cargo bike, trailer, or panniers.

Not sure where to ride?

See Where to Bike in Monterey County.  Included are short rides, long rides, rides for all levels of stamina and ability.

Are you serious?

See these tips for MTB, Road, Touring, and other serious cyclists.

Bike maps

Check out “Bicycle maps / Mapas de bicicletas – en español and English for Monterey County, plus other bike maps.” The CSUMB map mentioned below along with other bike maps for the county and elsewhere in California are in Bicycling Monterey’s bike maps section, with some in Spanish too.

Spanish and other languages

For more Spanish-language bike resources (and a bit in other languages), look under the Los Recursos tab for en espanol–and other languages.

More direx resources

These and similar resources can be very helpful. Understandably, these will sometimes provide mistaken directions.   Use locally prepared bike maps and tips as available, and ask questions at local bike shops and from local cycling club members.

(Photo courtesy of Leo Kodl)

An 18-mile coastal trail awaits you–including a super new “bike freeway” (yup, that’s it above) alongside Fort Ord Dunes State Park.  That’s a two-lane bikeway you see, with a pedestrian path alongside it.  No cars!

Weekends are meant for camping

Get in some more summer before the study load builds up—or let your new roommate have some space while you go sleep in the Great Outdoors.  Go camping in Monterey County.

Hot entertainment tips

Rolling Stone named Britt Govea “hottest new promoter” last year, and Britt puts on some great shows in Big Sur, including at Henry Miller Library. But how to get there?  Zimride!  See “Greening Up Live Music.” Going to the Monterey Jazz Fest? Free bike valet and pure water stations.

Live music, and other entertainment, can be found in the Monterey County Weekly or the Go! magazine of the Monterey County Herald, as well as the entertainment section of the Salinas Californian. The Californian also publishes a Spanish paper, El Sol.

Alcohol and biking

Even if that tough-looking dude is in a skirt–uh,  kilt–local bouncers will check ID and sobriety on entering their establishment. Don’t try to tell this guy his establishment doesn’t mean business! 

What about when you leave? See “Safe biking and drinking” in “Wine-ding your way along Monterey County bikeways.”  Among things you’ll learn is that if you bike intoxicated, you are subject to a BUI fine.  Ouch!

Don’t see a police car anywhere and think you can tip another one in the parking lot? Don’t be so sure–cops can cruise up quietly on bikes.

Bike church

Well, there is a bike church in our neighboring county of Santa Cruz, which makes a fun weekend bike trip.  Biking from my former hometown of Santa Cruz to Monterey was my first experience of biking Monterey County, and the bikeways have only gotten better!  Check out these Santa Cruz neighbors biking to Monterey now.

But if you’re looking for bike to church–or to mosque, satsang, synagogue, or other place of worship, see Bike to Worship for just a sampling of bike-friendly spots.

MIIS Student Sue Kim wasted no time in getting acquainted with her new community–
she got right out on the bikeways where she could experience life here up close and personal.

Wouldn’t be caught dead in spandex?

Okay, racers and long-distance cyclists swear by it, but it’s not hot with everyone!

Hipster, preppy, whatever….express your own style on the bikeways. See “Dress-Up Challenge gallery” for the wide variety of ways people dress on local bikeways.  See “Cycling Chic a la Monterey County” for more inspiration.

Wouldn’t be caught dead?

Good.  Your ma will be glad to hear that.

How to stay safe on the road while two-wheeling–and avoid tickets too:   Riding Skillls, Safety Tips, and CA Bike Laws section on this site.

Here are summaries of some CA bike laws: Bike law summary – Spanish and English.

Hey, where’s your bike?

Keep your bike safe when you’re not on it; see bike security section.

Below:  At the Monterey Institute of International Studies, an ever-vigilant electronic eye is kept on bike parking areas.

Ya gotta eat!

Student budgets make it tough sometimes.  Thankfully, access to healthy food is easier in Monterey County than in most places, since the Salinas Valley is the Salad Bowl of America.

If you’re doing your own food prep, or just want to stock up on some healthy snacks, shop the Farmers Markets–which include many organic growers.  The availability of fresh, local, and even organically grown is a sure thing here. 

Bike shops, services, infrastructure contacts, and more

Find local bike and bike-powered resources on the Bicycle Shops, Services, Clubs, and Resources page.

Car-free life

No wheels–of the four-wheeled variety? You’re not alone in Monterey County.  Why do you think so many people ride bikes here!  See car-free lifestyle.

Shopping by bike

Traffic snarls and parking hassles aren’t part of the shopping experience when you shop by bike.

Local bike activities and events, including bike clubs and organized rides, and much more

Check the master calendar for Bicycling Monterey County activities and events, along with the leads on group rides in Serious Cyclists.

There are no-drop rides, no-mercy rides, no-real-job rides, ladies rides, and more with local bike clubs.

Monterey Off Road Cycling Association (MORCA), Velo Club Monterey, and the Naval Postgraduate School have organized rides and occasional social gatherings, besides doing bike advocacy work.  See membership info on their websites.  (The NPS club is open to military officers attending NPS or the Defense Language Institute, as well as instructors, support personnel, and spouses; download PDF of club brochure at top of this post.)

Thank you to Joe Strunk for providing photo of one of the NPS bike corrals.  For more, see “NPS provides inspiration for bike parking–and biking!”

Already met someone new?

And want to blow them away with a date like they’ve never had before? Do it by bike!  Get some inspiration from Bicycling Monterey’s Bike Date video.

Check out the bike valet parking section too. And if that date goes late, be ready by being Biking in the Dark savvy.

Don’t feel alone:  Plug in by volunteering

Need community service hours or volunteer internships? Or just want to feel more connected to your local community?  Contact us. There are a wide variety of tasks needing helping hands, heads, and hearts.

Refer to the Acknowledgments and Opportunities page.  Posted there are  some of the active supporters of bicycling in Monterey County, along with examples of ways to get involved, including in the HER Helmet Thursdays project.

Whether with this project or another, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities in MoCo where you can make new friends and play an immediate role in the local scene.  For additional ways to get involved, you may want to check out the organizations named in the Bicycling and Ecotourism section.  More can be found in the plastics section of Bike to the Beach.

Express yourself

Guests posts for Bicycling Monterey are welcome.  Please contact us if you might like to contribute articles, essays, poems, stories, or photos that have to do with biking in Monterey County.

Under 18?

Students under age 18 will find tips on helmets and more in  “Bicycle Culture and Youth” on this site.  Hey, over 18s may want that helmet info too!  BTW, why do you think some girls stop biking? See the “Beauty and the Bike” video in that “Youth” post.

Annabelle Bull, a native of England, now lives in Monterey County and loves bicycling here!

(Photo courtesy of Joanna Bull.)

Your new home…

…is on its way to becoming one of the most bike-friendly places in America, and the signs are everywhere!

Besides the evident bicycling infrastructure, look for this evidence too:

Save money on Thursdays

That HER Helmet Thursdays logo is another sign that you’re in a very bike-friendly place.

On a limited budget while in school?  Or just mindful of ops to save money?  Thanks to the HER Helmet Thursdays ecology-economy sustainability project,  bicycling will get you discounts in Monterey County every Thursday.

Where to get discounts?  See HER Helmet Thursdays listings of participating businesses and organizations.  Many include bike-there tips prepared by knowledgeable local cyclists who have traveled those routes.

Bike racks await your use!

(Photo above of CSUMB racks provided courtesy of Leo Kodl)

At CSUMB:  Wise Biker

A current CSUMB bicycling portal page as of 4/13/23:

When we last checked, CSUMB had 40 bike lockers as well as an indoor Bike Bunker that accommodates 36 bikes. These numbers reflected capacity as of 6/15/13; check with CSUMB transportation planner for any capacity updates.

The Bike Bunker was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting on 2/11/13 as announced on this site.  BikeBunker_Ribbon Cutting flyer2 021113

Why the celebration? Because the CSUMB community is excited to have this secure indoor bicycle parking/storage option. You apply for your package (semester, year, or other seasonal, with or without bike maintenance service). You get special electronic-card access, 24-hour video surveillance, and your very own reserved space. Check with CSUMB for any updates.

CSUMB also added on 2/11/13 something for other people-powered transportation:  A new skateboard rack  for secure skateboard parking, located at the Library Cafe. Way to go, Otters!

BikeBunker_Ribbon Cutting flyer2 021113

California State University-Monterey Bay (CSUMB)  Transportation Planner Megan Tolbert helped CSUMB become a more bike friendly campus.

Check out the Wise Biker resources for the CSUMB community, including group rides, on-campus bike rentals (for CSUMB students and staff; and guests, when accompanied by CSUMBer), mechanics,  guided tours, and more.  See the Otter Cycle Center section of the CSUMB website for more info

CSUMB has a CSUMB-specific bikeways map, and it now includes both Spanish and English text.  It also has a “Hot Destinations” guide, to help guide you to popular points of interest.

bike_map_2012_final_print_spanish_1 [English y en espanol]

Check out CSUMB Tripwise on the web, and ask Megan Tolbert if you have questions.

Handcycling:  CSUMB has a handcycle available, too. While handcycling is especially celebrated by people experiencing lower-body disabilities, handcycling is popular with others too.  Check out  Sea Otter Classic (which takes place in Monterey County every spring)  featured its first SOC handcycling competition in 2011.

Think lower-mobility impairment has to keep you off the bikeways?  Not so for handcyclists like Ed.

You’ll see the bright smile of this local cyclist and web designer out on the bikeways regularly.

Miles of trails just outside your door

Located on the former Army base at Fort Ord, CSUMB has easy access to the Fort Ord bike trails.  In addition to CSUMB’s Wise Biker resources, see Monterey Off Road Cycling Association (MORCA) for all the latest news about biking those Fort Ord trails.

Need added motivation?

The May 2011 Monterey County Weekly special bike issue pointed out many pedal perks!

Want still more tips?

Check out the 20-section guide Tips for Bicycling in Monterey County on this site, along with hundreds of other posts (click on the category names above the site banner, or refer to the archives).

See you on the bikeways….


Short link to this post:

This post was first published in summer 2010, with some subsequent revisions on various dates.

This post was published on 17 August 2022. One or more changes last made to this post on 13 January 2024.

  1. marilynch says:

    Glad to help, and welcome to MoCo, Mark!

  2. mark daniels says:

    not a student but an avid cyclist relocating to Monterey soon. great site! thanks for all the news and resources.