Everything you need to know about cycling to campus

Thinking of cycling to campus, but don’t know where to begin? Here’s everything you need to know before you start your commute. 

Leeds is compact and cycling–friendly with lots of bicycle lanes and storage facilities spread across the city and our campus. Thanks to this infrastructure, nearly a third of staff at the University choose active travel as their primary mode of transport! 

Cycling is a great way to travel longer distances more quickly, whilst contributing to reducing CO2 emissions and air pollution. Switching just one trip per day from a car to cycling can reduce your carbon footprint by an average of 0.5 tonnes over a year. 

To celebrate National Cycle-to-Work Day on 4th August the Sustainability Service, together with Security and the Campus Development team, brings you this guide to cycling to campus and beyond. 

Time to dust off your old bike from your garage and get ready for an active commute. Here’s everything you need to know before you cycle to campus. 

Getting a bike 

It almost goes without saying, but to cycle to work you’re going to need to get yourself some wheels. If you don’t already have a bike, you can hire one from the Bike Hub right here on campus.   

The Bike Hub is located on the lower level between the EC Stoner and Roger Stevens buildings – check the Bike Hub web pages for hire details and opening hours. 

You can also rent a bike for free from one of 13 Bike Libraries across Leeds. 

If you want to invest in your own bike, the Bike Hub can give advice on what to look for in a new or second-hand bike, and of course can check it over and help you keep it well maintained once you’ve got it.  

Staff at the University are also eligible for the University Staff Cycle to Work Scheme which can save you up to 40% on the cost of a bike by hiring through the scheme.  You can borrow up to £3,000 for a bike – meaning both traditional and electric bikes are an option – and pay it back via a salary sacrifice scheme over either 12 or 24 months. 

Bike maintenance  

Whether you haven’t used your bike for years or use it daily, it’s important to make sure it’s well maintained and safe to use.  

Make sure to regularly check your brakes, tyre pressure, headset and lights. For cycle maintenance tips and links to useful maintenance videos visit the Bike Hub webpage. CityConnect also offer bike maintenance lessons.   

If you find yourself in need of tools, you can find bike maintenance stations near bike racks around campus.  Or head to the Bike Hub during opening hours to make use of the tools and facilities there, with the added bonus of expert advice (and occasionally a packet of biscuits) close to hand! 

Equipment 

Before your ride be sure to have all the essential equipment: lights, helmet, D-lock.  

If you’re planning to cycle at night or in the winter months, make sure you’re highly visible. Try attaching reflective strips to your clothing, or backpack, or consider getting a high-vis vest. To get discounted gear visit the Bike Hub or the Security Office 

Bike security 

Our campus is filled with bike racks – you can find one in front of every building. Remember to secure your bike using a D-lock with a ‘sold secure’ rating. These are more secure than chains or wire locks.  

Leaving your bike locked securely to the bike rack is a good idea if you leave it for a couple of hours. If you’d like to have your bike secured for more than a day, or if you have a more expensive bike like an e-bike, then it’s worth using one of the secure cycle stores. 

To enquire about access to the bike lockers and cages on campus, email bikehub@leeds.ac.uk.  

The University’s Security team works with the national Bike Register and can attach a  tag to your bike, making it easily identifiable should it get lost or stolen. Look out for Bike Register events to get yours, stop a member of the team on campus, or ring Security to make an appointment.

Planning your route 

Leeds is a compact and well-connected city with over 15 routes. To ensure your commute is as smooth as possible, it’s best to plan your route in advance.  

The City Connect journey planner can help you learn where the nearest cycle lanes are and where it’s safest to cycle.  

Your favourite phone map will probably also give you specific cycle routes and timings, and in some instances tell you how hilly it is as well!   

Travelling from outside Leeds? 

If you live outside Leeds it might be a bit more difficult to travel actively on longer distances, however, a good alternative is to combine different modes of transport!  

Most Rail companies provide spaces on their trains where you can place your cycle free of charge.  

Each rail company has different rules when it comes to travelling with a cycle, so make sure to check the details before you journey.  Some will need you to have a reservation for dedicated cycle space, which can be booked when you purchase a train ticket.  

If you’re travelling longer distances then an e-bike is especially worth considering!  Staff can rent an electric bike from the Bike Hub for a month so you can give it a shot and see if it works for you. 

Facilities 

The University offers lots of facilities to support active travel amongst students and staff. For example, did you know that showers are available at the Edge for students and staff to use for free before midday? All you need to do is have your student or staff ID with you.  There are also showers in LUU and various other buildings across campus. 

Never ridden before? No problem! 

For those who have never tried cycling and would like to learn it as an adult, City Connect is offering free adult cycling classes. 

Want to stay up to date with the latest information on bike security, sustainable travel and cycle facilities? Follow Campus Development and the Sustainability Service on social channels.  

 

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United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Living Lab for Air Quality work is linked to the following SDGs:

  • Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing
  • Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Goal 13: Climate Action

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.