With classes coming back, campuses filling up, and another year of academics on the horizon - millions of riders are getting back on their bikes and riding their brains over to the classroom.
And with stacked bike racks, rookie riders, and a suddenly-indebted student population, it's more important than ever to keep your bike safe. In today's post, we'll walk through the tips and tricks to keep your ride protected on campus, so it can keep carrying you to class all year long. Let's get lock-y!
Lock Up Right
The first, and most important, step to keeping your bike safe is knowing how to lock up securely. Once you understand the intricacies of getting everything locked down (frame, both wheels, accessories, etc...) you'll be shocked to see just how many under-locked bikes there are everywhere! That's not ideal, but it is good news for the security-savvy because it'll make your bike less appealing to thieves when the one's on either side of it are a much easier pinch!
Know the Tricks
Now picture this: you've just spent two long hours hearing "it's in the syllabus", you step outside to unlock your bike and find that some other sleep-deprived student accidentally locked their bike to yours when trying to secure it to the rack. You may be tempted to just hoof it to the next class and pick up your bike later after the offender has left, but be careful! Sneaky thieves are known to pull this ploy in an attempt to separate you from your ride.
The way it works is simple - they lock a (typically less expensive) bike to yours so you can't move it. Then, they wait for nightfall (or a lull in the pedestrian traffic), and steal your bike when they remove their own. Luckily, the solution is simple too: if you come outside to find a bike locked to yours, just call maintenance or campus security and ask them to come cut the lock. It's kind of a bummer for the other person if it was an accident, but it's better than having your bike boosted by a well-oiled campus crew.
Thieves have also been known to pop a tire, steal a chain, wheel, pedals, etc... anything to make the bike unrideable so you'll "deal with it tomorrow" - then they come back and pinch your ride under cover of darkness. That's why it's important to carry tools/spares/etc... if it's something as simple as a flat, and to limp your bike home so you can fix it later if it's something more serious.
Just don't leave your bike on a campus rack overnight, that's what the thieves are waiting for.
Take it With You
And that segues into our last tip: when in doubt, just bring it with you! Now, your school may have policies against bringing bikes into dorms/classrooms/etc... because they imagine a two-wheeled apocalypse where every inch of interior real estate is occupied by tangled piles of bikes, but this is definitely one of those, "it's easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission" situations.
If you're at all sketched out by the locking situation, a lack of racks, lights, pedestrian traffic, etc... just roll your bike right in with you, park it in the back of class, and you're good to go. Acting like you belong goes a long way toward people assuming that you do. This also works at the grocery store, gym, and basically anywhere you'd want to be.
Sure, there's the off-chance someone will ask you to leave it outside next time - but that's an opportunity to request better security, more racks, or whatever else the issue is. Plus, in the meantime, your bike won't get nicked!
And now you're ready to roll back into the school year, confident that your bike will still be waiting when class lets out again.
Drop your favorite security tips in the comments, and ride happy! We'll see you out there.