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Where to Buy, Rent, Fix, and Ride Your Bike at UCSB

Broken bike? No bike? Bike path congestion? Whether you’re an established UCSB rider or a newbie, here are some bike tips to get (and keep) you rolling!

The endless sunshine and flat campus make UCSB the ideal location for bicycle riders. So, as a Gaucho, you’re likely to hop on a two-wheeler at some point during your college career. As a fourth-year student, I’ve learned a tip or two that can help newbies and pros enjoy this activity and deal with “bumps in the road” like broken bikes, high-speed cyclers, and crowded routes. Check out these bike-friendly services right in our very backyard, then oil your chains, pump up your tires, and get ready for some cycling!

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Where to buy a bike near UCSB

So, you need to navigate Santa Barbara, but skateboarding isn’t your thing and walking takes too long. Now what? If you don’t have a bike already, there are many inexpensive options to consider. Visit the Isla Vista Bicycle Boutique (880 Embarcadero Del Mar) or the Varsity Bike Shop (6547 Pardall Road, also in Isla Vista) for a wide variety of both used and new bikes. Located right outside of campus, both shops offer a range of cruisers, fixies, hybrids, and road bikes to suit any bicyclist’s style.

For an even cheaper option, students can check out the Sell/Buy/Trade Isla Vista Facebook page and search for used bikes listed by other students. It isn’t uncommon to barter with student sellers, which is an easy way to score a bike on a budget.

If you’re not quite sure whether you’ll really put a bike to use, Isla Vista Bicycle Boutique also rents out bikes on a daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. If you have a friend visiting and you’d like to tour around campus together, this is a great option.

Where to fix a bike near UCSB

One service that is massively underused by UCSB students is the Associated Students Bike Shop, located in the parking lot behind the University pool. Free compressed air and chain lubricant are supplied for easy maintenance. More DIY-inclined students can take advantage of free repair stands and tool loans, and the shop can special-order any parts you might need to fix up your ride. For the less technically inclined, experts offer free instruction on bike repair. And for those who would rather just get rolling, the staff can fix any type of bicycle and replace damaged parts at the shop.

Prices are low, repairs are quick, and all you need is your student ID card. The shop is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., and Fridays, 10 a.m.– 3 p.m. As a side note, the ASBS also rents out bikes for as little as $5 a day and sells new, professionally built bikes starting at $159.

Where to ride a bike near UCSB

If the thought of busy roundabouts turns you into a bundle of nerves, there are ways to get around the madness that lies at the end of the Pardall Tunnel. While the routes might take a bit longer, students who are still trying to get their bearings can opt to enter the bike path from Isla Vista at the end of Picasso Road, El Greco Road, or Cervantes Road heading toward campus. These entrance points allow you to travel on the paths along the edges of campus, which tend to be less crowded than the path that cuts directly through campus starting on Pardall Road. Students traveling to the Chemistry and Engineering buildings will actually find this to be a more direct route, as will those trying to get to commonly used lecture halls such as Campbell, Phelps, or Buchanan. Check out the current routes on the UCSB bike path map (and note that there may have been some path changes since the latest map edition was posted).

Where to get tips for biking near UCSB

Looking for more campus bicycle tips? Or maybe you’d like to get more involved on campus? The Associated Students Bike Committee advocates for bicycle safety and bicycle-friendly campus planning through their involvement with numerous projects at UCSB. Such projects include installing new bike parking lots, redesigning roads and intersections, repairing current bike paths, and adding street signs to help students better navigate through campus. The committee’s “Top 10 Bike Tips” for student cyclers include wearing a helmet, using hand signals before turning, riding in single file, honoring yield and stop signs, and locking your bike in a bike rack. If you’d like to lend a hand in creating a more bike-friendly campus, this organization (which also offers a few paid positions) is a perfect fit for you.

Happy cycling!

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