Buy a bike

New to town? New to bikes? Want something old and used? Want us to stop asking questions and just tell you where to get a deal on a commuter bike for your student years? OK, here you go:

The CU Bike Station holds a commuter bike sale at the beginning of the fall semester. Go to colorado.edu/pts/bikeprogram for details.

Community Cycles has an earn-a-bike program for the truly short-on-cash -- or the mechanically advantaged. Learn more about earning and building bikes at http://communitycycles.org.

Fat Kitty Cycles consigns bikes, so you might find a deal on a commuter bike there. Stop by their shop at 2280 Arapahoe Ave. or visit http://fatkittycycles.com.

Online

CU Environmental Center (E-Center): http://ecenter.colorado.edu/index.php

In a city renowned for being physically active and environmentally conscious, Boulder's sidewalks and pedestrian paths are often busy with bicyclists and skateboarders.

And with more parking spots for bikes than cars, the CU-Boulder campus is no different, as many students prefer to bike or skateboard to and from campus and from class to class. Even on crowded pathways, it's a fast and convenient alternative to walking.


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But it can get sketchy out there. Senior integrative physiology and psychology major Aaron Ramras said he rides his bike on campus everyday. Ramras, an employee of the UMC Bike Station, said he has has witnessed some close calls on campus.

"I've definitely seen some near misses and crashes, " he said.

So if you're planning to bike or skateboard to class -- and share those sidewalks and paths with about 30,000 other students -- there are a few things you should know about pedaling around campus.

Be careful

Edward Ericson, a 2013 economics graduate, said he rode his bike to class when he was in enrolled in school because it was a quick way to get around campus. While Ericson took advantage of riding his bike, he occasionally walked to his classes and said both biking and walking can be dangerous at times due to congested passageways on campus.

"Between class periods it gets pretty hectic with all of the bikers, skateboarders and pedestrians," said Ericson. "It's kind of unsafe, but what are you going to do about it? Biking is such a quick way to get around," said Ericson.

Brandon Smith, transportation manager at the CU Environmental Center said that there are no current areas where bikers have to dismount on campus, but advised that in large groups of people it is always safer to dismount.

"Drivers, skateboarders, cyclists and pedestrians should have mutual respect for one another and go about their means of travel in a way that's courteous to others," said CUPD spokesperson Ryan Huff. "We have tens of thousands of people a day traversing this campus and it's important for them to know the rules and respect one another so all can remain safe."

Huff said in recent years the department has seen an increased number of bikes and skateboards on campus. They've responded with safety initiatives that they hope will decrease accidents on campus.

In 2011 the City of Boulder and CU installed a "High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk" (HAWK) system on Regent Drive, connecting the Engineering Center with the Regent Autopark. The HAWK light is different from a standard street light, and is only activated when a pedestrian pushes the button on the light to indicate that they will be using the crosswalk. When activated, the streetlights will begin to flash yellow, signaling to the driver that a pedestrian will be crossing. The light will then turn to solid yellow and then to red, similar to a standard stoplight. After cars are completely stopped pedestrians can cross. After 90 seconds red light will flash and if the road is clear, cars can continue on the road. Failure to follow the rules of the HAWK light can lead to a fine of $50 for pedestrians and $300 for drivers.

Huff added that City of Boulder law requires bikers to have both a mounted front white light and a rear red reflector light when riding between sunset and sunrise -- not having these lights can result in a $50 fine.

Huff also recommends that all students avoid theft by using U-locks instead of cable locks and encourages all bikers to register their bikes through the CU bike stations when parking bikes on campus. Registering a bike costs a one-time fee of $10.

Abundant bike parking

The abundance of people pedaling bikes on campus calls for an abundance of bike racks, and there are many on the CU-Boulder campus. According to the Smith in the Environmental Center, there are about 12,000 spots to park a bike on campus. In comparison, there are close to 11,000 parking spots on campus for cars, according to Jena Cafiero, communications manager for CU Parking and Transportation Services.

Ramras, who rides his bike to campus every day, said the spacious bike rack area at the UMC Bike Station -- located just east of the UMC between the Visual Arts Building and Euclid Autopark -- fills up consistently throughout the year. However, Ramras added that he has never had trouble finding an open spot to lock up his bike.

Smith advises students to only park at designated bike racks on campus, and to especially avoid parking on ashtrays, trees, and handrails, which limits access to disabled individuals.

For cyclists riding lengthy routes to campus, the "Bike-n-Ride" system is offered by all Boulder RTD buses -- the HOP, SKIP, JUMP, DASH, BOUND, and Stampede. The systems allows riders to mount their bikes on racks located at the front of the bus and catch a ride on the bus to their next location.

Bike stations

There are two bike stations on campus: the UMC Bike Station, and the recently opened CU Folsom Bike Station, located near the Engineering quad, just east of Cockerell Hall. The bike stations offer multiple services, including basic maintenance, bicycle registration, bus schedules and maps, and bike and pedestrian trails and maps.

In order to be eligible for the services provided by the bike stations students must register their bikes, which costs $10, Smith said.

The bike stations also offers a bicycle rental system called Buff Bikes for students without bikes. Smith said there are 90 bicycles available for 48-hour rental at both CU bike stations, free for all students, faculty and staff.

After signing a liability form and presenting a valid Buff OneCard, renters will receive a lock and a key along with the bike. Rentals are expected to be returned to the same bike station that they were rented from. Semester rentals are also available at the bike station for $30, along with a $100 deposit. Students will get their deposit back in full if the bicycle is returned without damage. After renting a bike for one semester, students have the option of renting the bike for another semester for only $10.

Contact writer Jake Hazan at jake.hazan@colorado.edu.