Make sure your bike is safe to ride ahead of time. Before the school year begins, take some time to give your bike a quick inspection and make sure everything is working properly. Bike Easy’s website has some great resources for this! You’ll want to make sure your bike fit is correct, your tires are filled with air, all brakes and chains are functioning properly, and you have a helmet that fits you properly.
Know your route ahead of time. Just as if you were walking or driving, make sure you know where you are going before you start to ride. Use maps to figure out what the safest way to get to your destination is and have an idea of how long it will take you to get there. Though biking can be faster than walking and driving, make sure to factor in extra time to account for traffic. Especially when biking on campus, which is usually dense with students walking, be extra cautious of your surroundings and do not bike too fast where you will risk running into a pedestrian or another bicyclist.
Pack well. Make sure to bring water with you to stay hydrated after you are done biking and during classes. Use a backpack or a basket on your bike to store everything you are taking with you to class. Don’t carry anything in your hands, as that is dangerous and can cause accidents.
Lock your bike securely. When you’re in class and not on your bike, lock your bike securely to prevent it from getting stolen. There are several types of locks you can use, however cables and chains can be cut through with bolt cutters, so a hardened U-shaped lock is more secure. However, a combination of a U-lock and cable securing both the frame and wheels is ideal for security. It is also best to lock your bike up at a bike rack rather than something like a wooden pole, tree, or sign post as these can be easily cut down and make your bike easier to steal. If you have any valuables on your bike, such as bike lights and your helmet, make sure to throw them in your backpack during class so they don’t get stolen.
Register your bike. In the case that your bike does end up lost or stolen, having it registered will make it much easier to get it back. Most universities have their own registration system and you can find out how to register it with the city of New Orleans and nationally here.
Have fun with it! Invite friends and classmates to bike to class with you! Not only is this a fun way to spend more time with people, it is also a great way to become more comfortable riding out on the roads because you will have the support of your fellow riders.
Good luck to everyone going back to school in these next few weeks and we’ll see you out on the roads!