Biking 101: Charleston Edition 

Tonight we talk to local cyclists around chucktown

click to enlarge Merry Mayweather is chasing down the best bike deals

Ruta Smith

Merry Mayweather is chasing down the best bike deals

Biking is a fun way to stay active on the go, and get to class before the professor slams the door in your face. With bike racks outside every academic building, cruising on two wheels might just be your saving grace. Before you pedal to the metal, let's go over Biking 101: Charleston edition.

RENTING

For those who aren't fully committed to the biking lifestyle, get your feet wet and try renting first. The quickest way? Through Holy Spokes. They have bike racks on practically every corner, so you'll have access to these bad boys 24/7. (charlestonbikeshare.com)

BUYING

After testing out the rentals, you've decided to bite the bullet and buy a shiny bike of your own. If you're ballin' on a budget, we recommend checking out College of Charleston's annual bike auction. The student government gladly auctions off abandoned or police confiscated bikes on the cheap, they just won't be as shiny.

If you can't make it to the auction, you still have plenty of opportunities right at your fingertips. In the age of social media, Facebook Marketplace is where it's at. With endless posts from desperate students and locals alike, you'll have no problem bargain hunting for your used piece of treasure.

Now if you'd rather 'treat yo self' to a shiny new cycle, then we recommend checking out Affordabike and the Bicycle Shoppe to see what they have in stock. They've got a great selection, with solid bikes that are a great investment for those looking to have a fresh ride.

SO YOU GOT A BIKE

Congratulations! You're now the proud owner of a shiny(ish) bike. Now let's hope it doesn't get stolen. Bike theft is the number one campus crime, but it can easily be prevented.

This might come as a shock, but leaving your bike unlocked might result in theft. So do yourself a favor and get a lock so you can sleep like a baby knowing that your bike will be there in the morning. Just don't buy a chain lock, that's a rookie mistake. Instead, you'll want to invest in a U-lock, because no one will be cutting through its superhero strength anytime soon.

Oh, and don't forget to register your ride, or else you might find it back at the student auction with all the other confiscated bikes. Just ride on over to Public Safety located on St. Philip Street and get your bike put in the system within a few seconds.

Now that you've got a registered bike with a solid lock, it's time to learn some rules:

• By law, bikes are classified as vehicles, so don't bike on the sidewalk or you may pay the price.

• When riding at night, make sure to have a white light in the front and a red light in the back. You can purchase bike lights from any cycle shop downtown.

• Only park your bike in designated areas. Don't lock your bike up to a fence or random post, or else the police will gladly cut it off for you.

• Follow the rules of the road just as you would in a car. Just because you're on a bike, doesn't mean you're exempt from the law.

• There are no helmet laws, but wearing one is highly encouraged. Accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime — it's better to be safe than sorry.

Happy riding!


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