Pee Wee Herman may not be your go-to for life lessons, but we can learn a lot from him. First that a wardrobe of a gray suit and red bow-tie is not good luck. Secondly, being creepy doesn't pay. But the most important lesson we can learn from him comes in terms of bikes. Pee Wee cherishes his bike and loves to ride around town, but he made some pretty critical biking errors.
Biking is a way of life in the Holy City, but if it's done wrong it can be disastrous. Make sure to follow these rules when biking to keep yourself and others safe.
Use turn signals.
To avoid getting tapped from the cars behind you, make sure you alert them when you plan on turning left, right, or stopping. Place your left or right arm straight out to signal turns, and place your left arm at a right angle pointing down to signal stopping.
If you're riding at night, South Carolina state law says that all cyclists need to have a white light in the front that can be seen from 500 feet away and a red reflector on the rear that can be seen from 40 feet away when it's in front of headlights. And don't pull a Pee Wee: wear brightly colored and reflective clothing to make yourself more visible.
Although biking can be a good alternative to driving, especially when there's bumper-to-bumper traffic, bikers must stay safe by riding with the flow of traffic.
Rock out with your helmet hair out.
It only takes a slight error to send you tumbling off your bike.
Follow all traffic signs.
This means stopping at all stop signs and traffic lights. Breezing through that stop sign may save you a couple of seconds, but playing a real life game of Frogger isn't worth it.
Use bike lanes when available.
It feels pretty great whizzing by rush hour traffic in a lane specifically made for you.
Handlebars aren't called bootybars for a reason.
It's illegal to have more riders on a bike than seats.
Spice up your bike style by adding a basket to the front.
Holding a box, a package, or anything that hinders your steering ability while biking is a no-go.
Avoid a $25 fine by making sure your brakes work.
And when you're not riding, make sure you lock your shit up.
Pee Wee was devastated when his bike was stolen — prevent yourself from crying Herman-esque tears by keeping your ride on lockdown. Charleston has a bit of a bike stealing epidemic, so do what you can to protect your precious ride.
We recommend a U-Lock, but don't use wooden porch railings since bike thieves are kind of like woodchucks and will chop through (or just break) the post to get your bike.
Use bike racks when provided or else you'll get ticketed.
And don't be the idiot who chains their Schwinn to a parking meter or short post. Bikes are pretty easy to lift over one's head.
Register your wheels.
Colleges and the police department offer bike registration, which can help track down your cycle if they're stolen. In fact, CofC requires that you do so — and it's free. Not a Cougar? Cough up your dolla bill, and head to the police department to sign it up. It's worth it.
The Bicycle Shoppe
280 Meeting St.
The Bicycle Shoppe features four styles of bikes that fit an array of riders and focuses more on matching terrain with the appropriate bike.
534 King St.
Affordabike lets you get fancy with your transportation mode. Featuring customizable bikes (mainly beach cruisers, but other options are available), riders build their own, personality-reflecting creations.
Charleston Bicycle Co.
1319 Savannah Hwy.
Mountain, road, triathalon, recreation, cruiser, and BMX bikes all call Charleston Bicycle Co. home. Offering one of the more diverse selections around town, they'll be able to pair you with your perfect match — they're like the Hogwart's Sorting Hat of bikes.
808 Folly Road
The selection of bikes at Mike's is enough reason to check out the James Island shop, but the full year of tune-ups really makes this shop a schwinner.
1055 St. Andrews Blvd.
Biking is already pretty green, but Ride Bikes takes it one step further. They strip down old, broken, and unwanted bikes to ensure no usable material goes to waste and recycle what they can't use.
Trek Bicycle Store
1180 Oakland Market Road
Trek out to this shop for road, mountain, and casual biking options. Plus, they offer fresh-brewed coffee to their shoppers — we know how much college kids love free stuff.