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Bike riders getting deals and safety tips as UCSB school year begins

Thousands of bike riders are getting their wheels set for a busy and frequent commute schedule to and from UC Santa Barbara classes starting Thursday.

At an annual Bike Fair Tuesday, the campus bike shop was bustling with students, many of them new to the area, getting deals on used bikes for $50.

“I really needed one when I realized I was walking around too much. I heard it was cheap, $50.
so ‘why not?’,” said Shivam Patel a transfer student from Northern California.

The California Highway Patrol and UCSB Campus Police handed out safety materials and reflectors for pants and sleeves.

When handing out brochures to a bike rider Officer Jonathan Gutierrez said it, “talks about common crash scenarios and failing to stop at a sign So please take that with you and read it. Go have a safe day.”

The close calls are frequent around the campus that has designated bike routes connecting the classroom and housing areas along with special lanes for skateboarders.

“It’s crazy, I have almost gotten run over a few times,” said Patel.

It is estimated that about 20,000 bikes, possibly more are in motion between the campus and nearby community of Isla Vista.

Annie Golay with the UC Santa Barbara A.S. Bike Committee said riders need to yield and look both ways often, “because most people don’t know how to use the ride arounds (roundabouts.) The left lane is the fast lane and the right lane for slower.”

Students who came by the event were asked to go to different stations for information, demonstrations. bike servicing and other needs. After that they were able to get free gifts. “We have U-locks, we are giving out bike lights, we have fenders, cup holders, free water bottles, bike bells a bunch of cool prizes,” said Golay.

Maps were laid out on a table by Myrna Munoz of the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition SB Bike. They showed safe riding routes throughout the region.

Pointing at the map she said, “by the color you can see what kind of bicycle lane you have.”

There is also an App riders can follow. “You can plan your route. You can say I want to go from point A to point B you can move to where there are places that you feel more comfortable and safer.”

The bike shop may be one of the busiest around. Repairs including new tires, tubes and parts replacements can be done by the bike owner or with the shop workers. There are many options and tools available. The goal is to keep people moving forward with a basic or full on repair.

“We see bikes coming in – in just absolutely wrecked condition,” said Adam Jahnke with the UCSB Bike Shop. “We do either a full on overall repair and get them on the road and some times we do band aids and let that bike limp on for another six months, three months whatever it may be.”

The shop has been around since the 1970’s and serves students, staff, and area residents who want the services while they are on campus with their bikes.

There will be another bike sale in October and a free light giveaway in November.

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