My oldest will be a freshman at CSU this year, so I’m learning the ins and outs of how the University educates students about bicycle culture, rules of the road, and precautions to take against bike theft. During both our tour of the campus last year and orientation this summer, what was emphasized over and over again regarding bikes was that they must be registered with the campus police, and that a U-lock is the best way to prevent your bike from getting stolen. A “Safe Cycling: Bicycle Regulations” guidebook was also handed out both at orientation and again when we went in to get my son’s bike registered.
I think the guidebook is worth devoting an entire post to because those of us that aren’t students and don’t work at CSU may still pedal through campus now and again. So it’s a good idea to know some of the CSU-specific bike rules that are in place. (I didn’t know there was more than one dismount zone!)
In this article, I’m going to focus specifically on registering a bike. And I’m going to briefly give some tips on bike theft prevention that go beyond just “use a u-lock.”
Registering your bicycle at CSU
If you head over to campus now and then to people watch, visit the library, attend a play, or to catch Pokemon, and you lock your bike up but it’s not registered, no worries. But if you are a student, on staff, or are a member of faculty, and you’re a regular bicyclist on campus, then you need to register your bike. The good news is, it’s pretty painless.
Head on over to the Campus Police in Green Hall. (Right next door to the new Scott Bioengineering Building and just across Meridian Ave. from Parmelee Hall.) There’s a bike rack you can lock up to just southwest of the building. But if you haven’t already filled out the paperwork (which can be found online), then you’ll probably want to just take your bike in with you. That way when you need to look up the serial number on the bike, it’ll be handy.
You’ll need to know the make, model and serial number of your bike. I’ve given tips on how to figure out those details in a previous article: Register Your Bike Online (which is for registering a bike with the City of Fort Collins police). And you’ll need $10. Once you’ve registered your bike, you’re good to go for your entire student experience, as long as the numbers on the registration sticker remain legible.
If you have a really old bike that doesn’t have a serial number, or you have a custom made bike without a serial number, you can get a number engraved on your bicycle for free at the campus police station. It might not be beautiful, but it’ll serve its purpose.
Things you should know about u-locks
Bike thieves can still pop off a u-lock and take your bike. Using a u-lock does not make your bike invulnerable to theft.
U-locks should fit snuggly around your bike frame and the bike rack (or better yet, around your bike frame, one tire, and the bike rack). The less room there is to fit a crowbar or other piece of metal in there to pop the lock, the better. So avoid the big U-locks and go for something on the smaller side.
A second lock is a good idea. It can be used to secure the other wheel. And if your bike has two locks to break through and the bike next to yours has only one, guess which one the bike thieves are more likely to go after.
To learn more about the problem with u-locks and steps you can take to better secure your bike, check out this CityLab article by John Metcalfe entitled, “Your U-Lock Is Basically Worthless, but Don’t Worry.”