School is back in session and all around the world students are returning to campus. With parking spots limited (and often expensive), many schools like University of California, Santa Barbara, strongly discourage students from bringing cars to campus at all. The close proximity of dorms, classrooms, and dining options at many schools mean that bicycling is an ideal way to get around, so consider using a bike for your primary transportation around campus.

When you decide to commute by bike to class or work, you’re likely to be in good company – with hundreds or thousands of others doing the same. 6KU wants you to be safe, effective, and successful at using your bike to get around, so check out these tips and then hit the road.

Use a quality lock
At schools with high bicycle usage, bicycle theft follows. The good news is by locking up your bike effectively, you’re much less likely to be a target – thieves will focus on bikes that are locked poorly, or not at all. You should use a U-Lock that goes around the frame and a permanent object like a bike rack, pole, etc. Don’t forget about your front wheel – you can remove it and take it with you, or place it next to the frame so the U-Lock passes through it. Many riders will add a cable lock to the U-Lock, so the front wheel can be secured without having to remove it.

Choose a reliable bike
A singlespeed or fixed gear like 6KU’s Fixie model bike can be ideal for campus, since they don’t have any shifters or derailleurs to break or go out of adjustment. Just hop on and go – no need to worry about shifting. These bikes also feature a flat, upright handlebar, so you can sit up and easily look around.

Know the rules
Some schools have zones where you’ll need to get off your bike and walk (usually areas with high pedestrian traffic). These are good spots to lock up and walk the remainder of the way. Don’t forget to remember where you “parked”!

Wear a helmet
Today’s helmets are stylish, lightweight, and effective. We recommend you wear one when riding.

Maintain it
Your bike might be locked up outside, exposed to the elements. Clean and re-apply chain lube periodically to prevent rust. Don’t forget to air up the tires periodically to keep them at the right pressure, which will help prevent damage to the tires or rims.

Use lights 
Bikes can work well year-round, but lights are needed to be seen by both cars and pedestrians when the sun is not shining. Basic lights like our 6KU LED Light Set flash to increase your visibility to others. These are easy to carry in your backpack or purse, then install (with no tools needed) if you’re caught out after dark.