Bring your bike to campus!!! UCF campus is large and riding your bike is definitely the easiest and fastest way to get around. There are bike racks all over campus and in recent history (2010-2012), there has been very few problems with theft or vandalism. Just make sure you lock up both wheels and the frame properly with a U-lock and cable and you really shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
My bike is broken!
For repairs, you have many options. Spokescouncil, the bike advocacy club at UCF offers teaching of free bike repair to anyone who wants to learn. Currently (Summer 2012) we offer this service Wednesdays in front of the Student Union from 12-3 pm. We have all the tools for all minor and most major repairs. We also offer free replacement of tubes, brake cables, and brake housing to UCF students.
Spokescouncil has coordinated with the Student Union to install Fixit Dero Repair Stands several places around campus. As of February 2012, there are stands available at the bike racks near the Student Union and around the left side of the Rec Center near the stairwell. These stands have a pump and tools attached to perform many of the most common maintenance tasks. The stand allows you to raise your bike to work on it at eye level and keep it from rolling around while you work on it. Don’t know how to use any of the tools? Come to Spokescouncil shop hours and ask a mechanic, they’ll be more than happy to help!
Some bike shops are better than others, so ask around before you go to one! The nearest shop to campus is Bike Works on Colonial. If you can’t make it to shop hours or have a major repair that Spokes can’t do, they’re a great shop to go to. They can also help you order parts or get a new bike or fancy accessories. If you need to bring a broken bike there, the Lynx bus system has Route 104 which you can pick up on campus and get dropped off a block away Colonial and Constantine St. Other great shops, which are farther away but good for students are Retro City Cycles, Kyle’s Bike Shop, Ace Metric Cycles, and Orange Cycle.
But riding in Orlando is dangerous!
Not true! While Orlando is one of the less bike friendly cities, arming yourself with knowledge of safe cycling practices can reduce your risk so that you can, statistically, be safer than children riding on a schoolbus! The most common causes of accidents for cyclists (in order of most to least) are riding while drunk, riding at night without lights, breaking traffic laws, and riding on the sidewalk in the opposite direction of traffic. By eliminating this behavior, which is all entirely under your control, you can reduce your risk of an accident by more than 80%! There are many more riding techniques and practices you can learn to help you ride safely with traffic.
Spokescouncil bike rides are a wonderful way to ride with other people who have many years of experience riding in Orlando and learn from their experience and mistakes. The Tuesday Knight Ride is a weekly ride on the Little Econ Trail which is at a good pace for any type of bike or cycling ability. This is a great starting point to learn about safe riding in groups and talk with others about riding safely in the road. For more advanced riders we also do monthly rides to downtown and have many other intermittent rides for grocery shopping or just for fun.
The Florida Bike Association has many good resources and all the pertinent statutes listed for Florida biking. They’ll even send you free guides listing the bike laws with explanations and a guide book to take you through some of the trickier situations you may find yourself in out on the road.
The greatest single resource for riding bikes in Orlando (and anywhere else, really) is the Commute Orlando blog. The blog is written by many people who have been cycling in Orlando their entire lives. They have excellent video demonstrations of the power of good lane position and animations of turning and merging with traffic. Additionally, Keri, one of the main contributors of the blog has started Cycling Savvy, which is a three day course to teach all of these skills and take someone from riding slow on the sidewalk or in the gutter (both very dangerous) to riding safely and confidently in the roadway. The blog also has lots of other good information on the state of cycling in Orlando. We are currently (Summer 2012) working towards getting these classes offered at a reduced rate for students.
Theft, vandalism, and rain damage
As mentioned previously, UCF has been fortunate to have very few problems with theft and vandalism. This doesn’t mean you can be lazy locking up your bike! Never leave your bike unattended! Every theft story starts out “I only left it for a minute.” Always lock it up and always do it properly. This means using both a U-lock and cable lock to lock both wheels and the frame. Kryptonite and On Guard are good brands for locks and Amazon.com has some good deals on a U-lock+Cable lock combos.
In the event that the worst does happen, do you know your bike’s serial number? This is a number that is printed underneath the bottom bracket, where the pedals attach to the frame. Use this number to register with UCF Parking Services AND UCF Police Department. If your bike does get stolen, report it to UCF PD and if it turns up at a pawn shop or a bike shop, the chances of recovery are much higher if you registered it in the first place. Also, do your hair and makeup and have a photoshoot with your bike. Having pictures to post if it goes missing will help a lot and it’s something we never think about until after it’s gone. Having you in the pictures also makes it easier to show ownership. Bring your bike by the Spokescouncil table and we can take down the information for you as an extra backup.
The fastest way for your bike to start squeaking and creaking everywhere you ride is to leave it out in the rain. If you’re not living on campus, bring it inside your garage or apartment. On campus, there are many covered bike parking locations at the Towers and near the Libra Community. Keeping it out of the rain will greatly extend the life of your bike and keep it running smoothly. If you do start hearing creaks and squeaks bring it out to Spokescouncil shop hours. Most of the time some chain lube clears it right up.
I don’t have any friends to ride with!
Come out to Spokescouncil rides and events! We don’t care what bike you ride or if you don’t even have one yet. We’re always excited to have new people coming out to ride with us. If you don’t know anything about bikes we’ll teach you! If you know everything about bikes, you can teach us! If you don’t have a bike, we’ll do our best to help you find one. We always have a lot of projects going on that you can help out with regardless of your level of bike knowledge. If you have ideas of your own, we have an excellent network of contacts with different departments and other clubs on campus to help you get started.
Any more questions? Contact us! Can’t wait to see you at UCF. Have fun and ride safe!