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Cornell University

PE 1665: Bike Commuting Basics

Man riding bike in parking lot practicing weaving maneuvers



Do you ride a bicycle around campus but have concerns about safety on the roads? Bike Commuting Basics is everything you need to know to develop the skills to be a smarter, safer, more confident bike rider. This class includes lectures about the rules of the road, commuting with other road users, and riding in traffic. We will practice riding skills including quick turns, obstacle dodging, proper lane positioning, safety checks and quick stops. The final day of the course includes a 10-mile bike ride, skills assessment and written exam. This course uses the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) curriculum and upon completion, you have the opportunity to earn a Smart Cycling Certificate from the LAB. Rental bikes are available for a $60 fee.


Course Fee

Students: $215
Community: $245
CU Faculty/Staff: $230

Fee Notes

Fee does not include bike rental ($60.) Helmets are available for no charge.

Fill out the Fee Waiver Application to apply for a free or reduced PE course. 


First class is mandatory.
Students can miss one class and still receive PE credit.


You must already know how to ride a bicycle.  We will be riding on streets with cars/buses and practicing evasive maneuvers, signaling, communication skills and other essentials for commuting around town.

Drop Deadline


Enroll through Student Center or by contacting COE at 607-255-6183 or






Tuesday  4:45pm to 7:45pm
Tuesday  4:45pm to 7:45pm
Tuesday  4:45pm to 7:45pm
Saturday  10:00am to 4:00pm
Tuesday  4:45pm to 7:45pm
What to Wear to Class

   This clothing list is intentionally specific because we want you to be safe and enjoy the out of doors. Comfort is a must when learning about the outdoor environment! Our biking courses will frequently have different weather than the Cornell campus. Expect it to be cooler.

   It is better to dress with layers so that you can regulate your temperature based on your activity level and changes in weather. We strongly recommend wool or polypropylene because these materials retain their insulated qualities when damp whereas cotton does not. Dressing according to this concept will increase the quality and enjoyment of your outdoor experience.

Upper Body

  • Synthetic shirt or bike jerseys

  • 1 insulating layers (fleece, wool or synthetic insulated jacket) if it’s a cold day. should fit easily in your backpack
  • 1 raincoat or shell (must be waterproof) (available to rent for additional fee)
  • Elbow pads (optional)

Lower Body

  • 1 pair biking shorts (padded preferred) or athletic shorts 

  • 1 pair insulated pants (bike or running tights. Must be tapered) (for if its cold out)
  • underwear as needed
  • Knee pads (optional)

Head and Hands

  • Biking Helmet in good condition (free if you need to borrow one)

  • Sun Glasses and clear lens glasses (helpful later in the evening)
  • 1 pair cycling gloves or other synthetic gloves with grip (can be full or partial fingered) (optional)
  • Thin hat that will fit under the helmet incase it’s a cold day (optional)


  • Synthetic or wool Socks 

  • Biking Shoes or Firm-soled athletic shoes (that you would play other sports in)

Bike Gear

  • Bike in good repair and fitted to you (available for Rent $60 for class)

    • Spare tube if you have your own bike
    • Clipless peddles if you are brining’s your clipless shoes (our rentals have flats)
  • Small day pack or hydration pack
  • 1 liter of water in biking bottles or in your backpack
  • light snacks (energy bars, nuts etc.) (optional)