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How to Keep your Bike – A Cyclist’s Guide

WARNING: I love cycling, but I realise there’s lots of reasons we might get put off; so let’s try and remedy some of those reasons!

Cycling, as I shared in How to get to the University – A Cyclist’s Guide, is a great way to get to the University on a daily commute, as well as to explore Southampton and beyond.

But bikes also come with hassle and struggles. I mean, where do you even go for a good bike in Southampton? And what about when something breaks? Here’s a few tips I’ve learned over the past 2 years:

How to get a bike

Bike theft, regrettably, is very real in Southampton and the UK.

Upon looking for your bike, try to make sure you’re not buying someone else’s stolen bike. One obvious way to do that is to buy the bike new, whether from an online store, like Wiggle or Evans, or from a physical store, like the Hub Cycleworks, Halfords or Cycle Republic.

Whether you get your bike online or in a shop, best to go try it out for size and feel first.

There are also plenty of ways to get a legitimate second-hand bike.

Ask friends if anyone they know is selling a bike. Check online on places such as Gumtree or Ebay, or Facebook groups such as “Buy and Sell Cycle Stuff in the South West”. It’s worth asking a few extra questions about the bike, or perhaps asking to see original receipt – buying a stolen bike is not the best way to start your cycling career in Southampton!

Where to fix your bike

You’ve got a bike.

It’s been riding like a dream: that beasty mountain bike, or perhaps a fierce hybrid, a classic town bike, or even a road bike. But the autumn rains have set in and youch, suddenly it’s not all smooth riding anymore. Where to now?

Again, Southampton has your back.

A great place to start would be the Bike Doctor on campus: it’s free! – except for parts. Keep an eye out for signs on campuses announcing the next visit.

The Bike Doctor on the Redbrick.

There’s also many stores to bring your bike. If you’re Portswood based, nearby locations include RideRide and Portswood Cycles. In Shirley, I’d recommend the Hub Cycleworks or GA Cycles. And if you’re based down in town, there are many choices, including Decathlon, Halfords and Cycle Republic.

Where to park your bike

The University has a variety of bike parking options. There are spaces outside the Redbrick, the Jubilee Sports Centre, various buildings. Or for a few quid a year, you can access 2 of the many enclosed, locked bike sheds dotted around campus.

How to keep your bike

The University has a variety of bike parking options. There are spaces outside the Redbrick, the Jubilee Sports Centre, various buildings. Or for a few quid a year, you can access 2 of the many enclosed, locked bike sheds dotted around campus.

A sturdy shed: not only does it keep you bike safe, it keeps it dry too.

Youch – I wish I didn’t have to have this final footnote, but bikes do have the tendency to get, well, “snatched” in Southampton. I have had the good fortune not to have a bike of mine stolen (knock on wood), but I’ve heard many a tale of bikes disappearing in town. There’s no be all and end all advice on how to keep your bike safe, but a few basic tips:

  • Lock down every part of the bike, especially if you have quick-release wheels (i.e. so don’t only lock the frame);
  • If you have a nice saddle, consider removing it and taking it with you;
  • Don’t leave your bike overnight in town;
  • Leave your bike parked somewhere in the public eye, not tucked away on a side-street.

 

Don’t fancy owning your bike? You can always choose to hire one for the day instead. How are planning to travel from halls/home to university each day here in Southampton?

Sien

 

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