If you are a fresher, you are a student of the cycling revolution. Boris may have started it off in the capital, but the rest of the country has seen a creeping trend in two-wheeled travel. Cycling is no longer merely functional, or merely a pastime of the average geek, no, if you want to generate the “early 70’s Oxford undergrad” look in dishevelled gear, and rock up to lectures in one too many Peruvian scarves with your basket laden with books, then the bike is your automatic accessory.
But don’t be fooled, this is practical fashion. Regardless of whether you give a toss what you look like on your chosen mode of transport, a bike can change the way you go about your student life for good. It is cheap; you don’t have to pay for parking; you don’t have to wait for a bus or waste money on bus tickets. You get fit and you don’t have to schlep your shopping home. If you’re really cool, you can avoid vomming over the side of a taxi at the end of a night out and cycle home to work off that hangover. It only takes about ten minutes to cycle to town from campus via a flat and direct cycle route, and generally, the city centre is a very safe place to leave your bike properly chained up.
At the beginning of term, there will be various points around campus where you can get your bike scanned and chipped by the police so that if it is stolen, they can locate and identify the bike. The chip is invisible to the eye.
It is illegal to ride a bike at night without lights, so head down to Halfords next to Morrison’s to bag yourself some cheap gear.
– The York University Unibikes programme run by ‘Get Cycling’ is a fantastic way to get you started. You can buy a fully equipped bike for £155 with free check ups with the Bike Doctor monthly sessions on campus and free coaching. They also let you sell the bike back at the end of the year for £50.
– Cycle Heaven is a great bike shop on 13-15 Lord Mayor’s Walk
– Opposite Aviva under Lendal Bridge is the Bike Rescue Project, which is great for taking an old vintage to for a full MOT. You can also buy second-hand refurbished bikes here for very reasonable prices.
– Dawescycles.com offer some of the best new vintage bikes on the market.