Boulder is a biking town. The paths are plentiful (and plowed with some regularity in the winter); parking is easier than for cars — the city is getting better all the time at encouraging two-wheeled transportation.
CU is no exception: They really, really want you to bike. With all the free services and discounts available to students, if you aren't cycling, you have only your lazy-ass self to blame.
"We'll do anything we can to help people ride bikes," said Brandon Smith, Sustainable Transportation Program Manager at the university.
The campus maintains two (almost) full-service bike shops in the spring and summer. (They close due to cold weather from about Thanksgiving to early March.)
The technicians can handle almost any repair, and everything is free — provided you've registered your bike with the university, which is also free (and comes with swag) and will help police locate your bike in case it ever gets stolen.
Also free? Classes on how to repair your bike and 48-hour bike rentals for students. Semester-long rentals from the campus fleet of 200 bikes aren't free but cost only about as much as a day rental at a private bike shop.
If you plan on cycling around for a longer period of time, a good resource is Community Cycles. The nonprofit has a solid selection of repurposed bikes set up specifically for commuting.
Community Cycles also offers classes on safety and maintenance at a discounted rate for students, and can help with the application process for a key card that grants access (for free) to the city's bike lockers.
If CU's goal is to get you on a bike, "ours is to keep you on a bike," said Sue Prant, Community Cycles' executive director.
Another wish of Prant's? To keep you from being a dillhole on a bike.
"The biggest offenders of traffic rules on bikes are usually students," she said. "And everybody pays" because pissed-off drivers are less likely to be accommodating to cyclists or to support infrastructure for biking.
The top three offenses? Blowing through stop signs and lights, not signaling for turns or stops, and riding at night without lights — which the city gives away for free, so there's really no excuse not to have one.
Another thing you shouldn't do: drink and bike. Cycling while intoxicated is dealt with the same way under Colorado law as drunken driving.
As long as you stay sober and alert, you should stay safe. Drivers are generally aware. Even so, advocates have started to recommend using a flashing headlight even during daytime riding.
If you want to make the streets even safer, consider getting involved in advocacy efforts. There are a ton of biking groups in town, from People for Bikes to Cyclists 4 Community. There's also the Transportation Advisory Board with the City of Boulder, which is reassessing its infrastructure to encourage more biking and walking.
If meetings or volunteering aren't your thing, there's a much simpler way to be a good ambassador for biking, according to Prant, one you can accomplish each time you hop on your bike: Don't be a jerk.
Drivers will judge all cyclists based on your behavior. So keep it classy, kids. Boulder is watching.