What is it you might wonder?
The Outdoor Recreation Bike Shop is proud to introduce a new, progressive program available to USC students, faculty and staff. The program has been dubbed the Abandoned Bike Project. The program is an attempt to reintroduce bikes that have been left behind for new and willing owners to take advantage of. This is a wonderful opportunity to really put recycling and sustainability into action.
Where do the bikes come from?
The bikes are those that have been left on campus past semester’s end and whose owners have failed to claim. If possible, every attempt is made by Parking Services to contact the owner of the bike before it is reclaimed. It is easy to register your bike if you have not already by stopping by the Outdoor Recreation Bike Shop located behind Strom Wellness Center or by visiting http://www.sc.edu/vmps/bike.html.
How much does it cost?
The cost of each bike is entirely dependent on what actually needs to be replaced in order to get the bike fully functioning. It can be expected that each bike will need new tubes, tires, and a chain. Repair cost, from previous clinics, has ranged from $20 to $75.
What is included?
- Brand new, LED, rear and front lights (valued at $25). This will allow you to be seen by drivers and pedestrians alike as you wander the streets.
- Bike registration with Parking Services that includes your name and means by which you can be contacted if something were to happen to your bike or if your bike is left on campus past semester’s end.
- An official “Outdoor Recreation Abandoned Bike” decal, on the seat tube or top tube, will let everyone know where you got your new whip.
What is required?
As this is an educational program that advocates cycling awareness, a 3-hour workshop held one Sunday each month from 2:00pm to 5:00pm, broken down into skill based clinics will be hosted at the Outdoor Recreation Bike Shop.
The first portion of the clinic will focus on bike anatomy, repair, and maintenance. The second portion focuses on basic biking skills, proper etiquette and the rules every biker should adhere to as required by law. The clinic ends with an instructional group ride around campus and on the city streets – putting these newly learned skills to use.
A helmet is required to participate in the Abandoned Bike Clinic. If you do not own a helmet, one will be available for purchase for a very reasonable price of $36 at the clinic.
A lock is required in order to protect your new investment. A U-lock is suggested as it is more difficult to tamper with, but a cable lock will suffice. If you do not own a bike lock, a programmable one is available for purchase for $22 at the clinic.
How do I get one of these sweet rides?
We are not currently accepting applications. Please check back during the Fall 2013 semester for ways to participate.
When is this all taking place?
Spring 2013 Clinic Dates:
- February 24, 2013 (Sunday) 2-5 p.m.
- March 24, 2013 (Sunday) 2-5 p.m.
- April 21, 2013 (Sunday) 2-5 p.m.
If you are unable to participate in the Abandoned Bike Project, but still want a bike – follow these tips:
Buy One at the Bike Shop
If you want to buy local, Columbia has numerous bike shops. We recommend you visit our friends over at:
3223 Devine Street
Columbia, SC 29205
- Cycle Center
1001 Harden Street
Columbia, SC 29205
Buy One Online
This is a great way to get a good deal on a used bike but you have to be a bit more careful. Here are a few tips for buying used bikes off the Internet:
- Know what kind of bike you want. Figure out ahead of time what sort of bike you’re looking for. There are many option out there including mountain bikes, multi-speed road bikes (great for commuting around Columbia due to the steep hills), & single speeds to name a few. There’s no shame in going to a bike shop and checking out some new models to get a feel for what you like.
- Size matters! Even if you find the best deal in the history of used bikes it’s worthless if the bike is the wrong size. Riding a bike that is too big or too small will be inefficient, uncomfortable, and can even hurt your knees and back. For an idea of what goes into sizing a bike check out this page. The most important criteria is that you can comfortably stand on the frame and that you can set the seat to a height where your leg is almost fully extended at the bottom of the pedal rotation. Remember you can always get a feel for your size by trying out a few different sized bikes at a shop.
- Avoid paying too much for department store brands. Bikes sold at department stores like Wal-Mart and Target are basically built to be disposable. These bikes are made with inferior quality components and are difficult and expensive to repair. Some brands to avoid include Magna, Huffy, Pacific, Mongoose, Roadmaster, and Next.
- Bring a friend. Very few people selling bikes online are creeps, but occasionally you get one. If you have to go to someone’s home to check out a bike it’s always a good idea to let someone know where you are going and/or to have a friend with you.
- Beware of stolen goods. Unfortunately, Columbia is plagued by bike thieves. If the person selling the bike can’t give you a good story for why they’re getting rid of it or if something just feels fishy, walk away. To avoid having your bike stolen we highly recommend using a U-Lock/Cable combination lock – allowing you to capture both wheels and the frame. Be sure to lock it to a secure structure and register your bike.
- Get the bike checked out by a pro. After buying a used bike it’s always a good idea to have it looked at by a professional mechanic. Swing by the Outdoor Recreation Bike Shop during scheduled hours for a FREE tune up. This allows you to know any potential problems with your brand new used bike.