We are lucky at the University of Kentucky because we have such a rich and well-supported cycling community on campus and in Lexington! It can be challenging, however, for someone new to cycling to get started on their own. Here are my top 10 tips and advice for anyone looking to begin cycling at UK and in Lexington.
1. Spend an afternoon exploring campus on your bike
The best way to learn is by doing, so just go out there and ride around! My first outing was a 2 hour tour of campus guided by my internship mentor! It was great getting to know the different paths on campus and to spend time riding behind someone who was so experienced. I picked up a lot of mannerisms, such as learning how to take off with power, and also got to practice some hand signals.
2. Pedestrian Tunnel under Cooper Drive and other Hidden Routes
The pedestrian tunnel is a great way to cross Cooper Dr. as an alternative to crossing the 4 way intersection. It is a shared use path and connects K-lot to Main Campus near Ag. North and the V.A. Hospital.
3. Get a ‘Bike Buddy’
My favorite memories are the bike rides with my friends! At the beginning of quarantine, my friends and I often rode from our apartment to the Arboretum and back. It’s a great way to spend a few hours and a fun way to move your body. Any activity is less intimidating with a friend by your side!
4. Check out Wildcat Wheels for maintenance or to check out a ~fun~ bike
Wildcat Wheels is the on-campus bicycle library and shop that is free to the UK community. You can stop by to get some help with maintenance and learn how to do it on your own! Bike rentals are also available here, including tandem bicycles that make for a great date idea.
5. Shop local
Ride your bike to a coffee shop to study or to the store! Plenty of businesses around have a place for you to lock up your bike and is easier than finding street parking downtown.
6. Don’t be afraid to try again
You may take a tumble when riding on campus or perhaps when signaling with the wrong arm while using only the front brake (oops!). We all make mistakes, so don’t sweat it! As long as you are not injured and your bike is okay, jumping back on is a great way to recover from a fall. Laughing at yourself is good too!
7. Sign up for the Commute Club and other UK Transportation Resources
Take advantage of the many resources available to you through UK Transportation! You can see a complete list of them HERE.
8. Take Your Time
One mistake I made early on was riding too fast. You don’t need to ride fast when going somewhere, you’re getting there much quicker already by cycling. Take your time on your ride to travel safer and more efficient!
9. Familiarize yourself with the rules of the road
Being familiar with bicycle safety rules is a great first step to becoming more comfortable riding on the road. Click HERE to read these now!
10. Always lock up your bike
Yes, even if it is just a few minutes to run inside a building to grab something! The best way to keep your bike safe is to lock it up no matter the location or the perceived safety of the area.