Need to Know: Bike Stuff

Alex Ryberg

Moving around campus can be hard, but one of the most effective and fun ways to get from class to class can be with a bike. Sometimes, however, there can be safety concerns associated with riding.

Here’s everything you need to know about owning a bicycle at Iowa State.


Bicycle Registration is the one of the best ways to keep your bike safe on campus. The City of Ames and Iowa State University have teamed up together to create one registration database.

Simply go to the Armory in the northwestern corner of campus and fill out a free registration card. All you need is the make, model, type of bike, serial number, speeds, color and style.

After registering, you will receive a sticker with a registration number that’s associated with your bike. In the extreme case your bike gets stolen and the police recover it, they will contact you to return your bike. In order to avoid this whole situation, it’s crucial you get a bike lock.

Bike locks are available at Target, Walmart and the various bike shops around Ames. Bike racks are everywhere on campus. It is hard to find a place to not lock you bike up on campus, so make sure you have a sturdy lock.

Heavy-duty locks, like U-locks, can help prevent bike thefts as they are more durable and hard to cut through.


Bike Safety is key when riding around Ames.

The city requires you to have bike lights on your bike when you are riding at night. A white front light and a red rear light/reflector are sufficient.

No more than two bicycles are allowed to be side-by-side on the street. Make sure to use hand singles to notify motorists and pedestrians about what you are about to do.


Before and after each ride, make sure to check a few things on your bike. Make sure the tire pressure is high enough, the brakes work properly and the chain shifts smoothly through each gear ratio. If you ever need to get your bike looked at, or even repaired, Iowa State offers full bicycle maintenance through the Recreation Services.

Iowa State Recreation Services can be found in State Gym. Each team member is trained in bike maintenance. Recreation services offer a free bike safety inspection.

This includes checking the tire pressure, brakes, gears, headset, wheels and crank arms. If anything is wrong with your bike, the recreation services offer competitive prices for repairing the bike. If a part needs to be replaced, they can order the part.

If you want to learn how to repair your bike on your own, they offer classes during the fall semester. In these classes they teach how to change a tube, adjust brakes and derailleurs and simple bike maintenance.


Bike shops are the best place to get a bike and explore all of your options. In Ames there are three bike shops you can pay a visit to.

Each shop offers full bike services including a wide selection of bikes.

Skunk River Cycles on Main St. offers brands like Cannondales, Marins, Schwinns and GT’s, along with bike accessories and clothing you’ll need during the changing weather of Iowa.

Alternatively, there’s Bike World located on 3rd St. that carries mostly Trek and Giant bikes. Besides their bike accessories, tools and clothing, they also have a wide selection of disc golfing discs. Each Wednesday, they host a group ride that is more performance oriented, so if you are looking to get involved with the biking culture in Ames, those group rides would be a good start.