Taking a bicycle to university can save you significant amounts of time and money, while also keeping you fit. There are a few things to consider though before taking or buying a bike while you are at uni.
You will need to make sure that there is a safe place to store your bike, both at university itself and in your hall or flat or house. While at university it will hopefully be easy, with many bike storage areas, it may be more of a problem in halls or private accommodation. Many halls have special bike storage sheds which you may have to pay extra for to use, they may also not permit you to store a bike in your room itself.
Some landlords and letting agencies also write clauses in their contracts forbidding the storage of bikes within the home. If you have to store your bike outside or in a shed make sure its secure and hopefully out of sight. I would seriously advise against storing a bike outside and open to the elements.
A helmet is always a must on a bike, especially if you are going to be riding in a busy city or on busy roads. Secondly if you are going to be coming home late at night on your bike then a good set of bicycle lights is a must as is a reflective jacket for yourself.
Recommended: My favourite bicycle light is the Sub66 Grenade bicycle light, which can be found on Amazon. It is a little more expensive than your bog standard bicycle headlight, but it packs a hefty 900 lumens, which makes it incredibly bright and perfect for regular commuting to and from university in the dark.
Preventing your bike getting stolen
Its one thing being able to store your bike, but you also need to secure it. While the university campus has lots of storage they are also the most likely place your bike is going to get stolen if you don’t lock it up properly! The proper way to lock your bike up is to do so through the bike chain/frame and wheel and the solid ground post you are supporting the bike against. This makes it hard for anyone to steal part of your bike. For added security a second lock should go around the front tyre to prevent that from being stolen too.
If your bike has an Easy-Lock type system, then you will also need to lock your saddle down or simply take it with you when you leave your bike.
When choosing a lock or locks for your bike do not compromise on price! A cheap puny looking lock is probably not worth the money it costs. D-Locks are the best kind of lock as they are the most difficult to remove and are not possible to remove casually with bolt cutters.
A simple way of reducing the chances of your bike being stolen is to park it with lots of other bikes, and in an area that is busy, this will hopefully reduce the chances of anyone having the time to steal your bike without being noticed by someone.
Also don’t take your new £2000 carbon fibre road bike down, its practically asking for it to be stolen, if your going to ride regularly to uni then a £200 bike tops is what you want, the older the better the less appealing to steal the better!
Minimising problems if it does get stolen
A simple way to try and reclaim your bike if it is stolen is to get it tagged, you can do this yourself with a kit from the website Immobilise, they will send you a kit which once placed on the bike is impossible near enough to remove. Then if your bike is stolen once you report it through the Immobilise site if your bike is found abandoned then there is a higher chance it will be able to be returned to you.
Insurance is also a good thing to get, unfortunately bike insurance tends to be expensive, but if you can find a reasonable deal with a reasonable excess then it can save you a small fortune.
Cycling is a great way to get exercise and especially when your busy can be a good way to fit it in to a busy schedule, and as a bonus it gets you home much quicker!