Walking and biking are healthy, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly ways of getting around Grounds. Most places at UVA and around Charlottesville are accessible by biking or walking.
The University maintains a lighted pathway map and emergency phones in high traffic corridors to help pedestrians stay safe when walking late at night.
UVA also partners with LiveSafe to offer a mobile safety app, which allows you to invite friends/family to virtually “SafeWalk” with you to your destination.
Information about biking can be found on the SMART Transportation map, including the location of striped and shared bike lanes, bike racks, dismount zones, bike fix-it stations, interaction with Transit, and more. Both UVA and city buses are equipped with bike racks to extend the range of bikers.
Bike pumps are available for free rental through several UVA libraries, including:
|Alderman Library||Brown Library (Clark Hall)|
|Clemons Library||Fine Arts Library (Architecture School)|
|Health Sciences Library||Music Library (Cabell Hall)|
Bicycle Tips and Reminders:
- When riding at night, cyclists must use proper lighting: white light in front, red in back.
- It is the cyclists' responsibility to be familiar with all State Laws and Regulations.
- Cyclists may be required to dismount in some areas. Cyclists are prohibited from riding on sidewalks as well as the Lawn and adjoining pathways.
- Ride on the right side of the road, in the same direction as traffic.
- Watch for cars and buses turning right in front of you. It may be difficult for them to see you.
- Cyclists must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Cyclists are prohibited from wearing earphones while riding.
- Bicycles should be parked and locked in the racks provided as indicated on the map.
- It is a good idea to register your bike with the University Police such that it may be returned to you if stolen.
These are the essential parts found on most bicycles. It’s good to know the names of these parts in case of issues.
This is considered the core or backbone of the bike and consists of the frame and the fork. Common materials that make up the frameset include aluminum, steel, carbon, magnesium, and titanium. The fork of a mountain bike will usually have suspension attached, while hybrid and gravel bikes might not.
The drivetrain contains the parts that make the bike move forward. These parts include the chain, cassette, front chainring(s), derailleur(s), and crank arm. Bikes can have up to 3 chainrings in the front and between 1-12 gears in the rear. Bikes with multiple chainrings in front will also have a front derailleur.
The front and rear wheels have a rim, spokes, brakes (disc or rim), tire, and often tubes. These are attached to the fork and frame with an axle. The cassette will attach to the rear wheel hub. Bikes with compatible rims and tires can be set up tubeless. All bikes will have a Schrader or Presta valve. These are NOT interchangeable. A hole for the valve will have to be machined in the rim to swap between the valve types.
This is the control center of the bike. Some also refer to these as the contact points, where the rider touches the bike. This can include the handlebars, stem, grips/ bar tape, brake levers, shifters, saddle, seat post, and pedals. Handlebars have many variations, but the most common are the flat bars, which use grips, and drop bars, which use bar tape. The right brake lever controls the rear brakes the left lever controls the front brakes. Gear shifters can either be levers or handlebar twists. As with the brakes, the right gear shifter controls the rear gears, left shifter controls the front. Pedals can be platform or clipless. Clipless pedals require proper shoes to keep your foot from slipping.
Most of these parts can be easily swapped to fit the rider.
BICYCLE BUYING GUIDE
Getting a new bike can be a long process with endless options, services, and your budget to consider.
There are a variety of styles of bikes to choose from. These include mountain bikes, road, gravel, urban cruisers, and more. Urban, road, and gravel bikes would be good options for commuting. There are many mountain biking trails in and near Charlottesville, including O-Hill and the Rivanna Trail; a mountain is recommended for those. One bonus of a mountain bike is that, while not ideal for paved surfaces, they can ride on any terrain.
Stores like Walmart, Target, Dicks Sporting Goods, REI, and Academy Sports have an aisle dedicated to bicycles. These are convenient and budget-friendly options but may sacrifice quality. Many are not built by qualified mechanics and won’t have service options or an expert sales team ready to help fit you to the bike best suited for your riding style, height, and weight.
Depending on your needs, getting a used bike can be a good budget option. It can be a way to get a top-tier bike for a lower price. Places like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Craigslist, and Pinkbike have made buying/selling a used bike easy. Buyers should beware of scams, misinformation, overvaluing, and stolen bikes. Charlottesville Community Bikes is a local non-profit bike shop that sells a selection of refurbished abandoned or donated bikes. This is a great way to safely buy and affordable used bike with the assurance of a quality bike and service.
Direct-to-consumer purchases can be made from a variety of bike brands online. This will allow you the broadest selection of bicycles, from budget-friendly to the most expensive. However, this can be risky, especially for first-time buyers. You will need to make sure you have gotten the right size and bike suited to you, with only the information provided online. Additionally, these bikes will need to be assembled. If you don’t have the skills or tools, you can pay a bike shop to build it.
The best option is to go to a local bike shop. They are not only experts in the cycling industry but should have an array of options for you to try. Bike shops will help you find the bike suited to your type of riding and the size you need. The purchase includes the security that each bike has been built and safety checked by a qualified mechanic. Shops will also provide warranty support should one arise with your bike. Bike shops will not only carry the newest, most desirable option but a selection of bikes ranging from $600-$1000. If you don’t see something you want, they can probably order it and build it for you. Charlottesville bike shops include Community Bikes, Endeavor Cycles, Blue Wheel Bicycles, and Blue Ridge Cyclery.
ABC QUICK CHECK
Follow this simple guide before and/or after your ride to maintain your bike’s safety and condition.
A IS FOR AIR
Check the air pressure of your tires. Max air pressure of your tire will be written on the side of the tire. Ride close or at max on paved surfaces. Check for wear on the tires.
B IS FOR BRAKES
Check pads for wear and alignment. Look over the cable and housing for frays. Make sure brake levers don’t touch the handlebars when squeezed. Lift up the tire, spin it, and engage the brake lever to see if it stops.
C IS FOR CRANKS, CHAIN, & CASSETTE
Grab both crank arms and ensure they don’t move side to side. Check that chain is engaged in the drivetrain and move the rear wheel. Look the chain and cassette over for rust, excessive grease, and dirt. Check that the chain is not dry. Shift through all gears to ensure gears change as engaged.
QUICK IS FOR QUICK RELEASE
Some bikes have a quick release which tightens the connection between the seat post and frame. If not, it will require a hex wrench. Check that it is tight and closed properly. Quick releases can also be found at the axle connecting the wheels to the frame. Others require a hex wrench. Check that they are tight and properly closed.
CHECK IS FOR CHECK RIDE
Finally, get on the bike and take it for a quick spin to make sure that everything is working to your satisfaction.
UVA will also host occasional mobile bike repair events and appointments on Grounds flat repair. However, a local bike shop is the best place to take your bike for repairs. They will have direct access to the tools, parts, and mechanics specially qualified to work on bikes to get the job done. Charlottesville bike shops include Community Bikes, Endeavor Cycles, Blue Wheel Bicycles, and Blue Ridge Cyclery. If you know how to do repairs yourself, there are fixit stations conveniently located on Grounds. You can find one at the Aquatics and Fitness Center, Clark Hall, O-Hill Dining Facility, North Grounds Rec., Hospital, Hereford/Runk Dining Facility, and Materials Science Building.
Bicycle and Scooter Registration
UVA Police offers online bicycle and scooter registration to students, faculty, and staff of the University. A UVA Police decal will be sent to you via mail to be placed on your bicycle/scooter for further identification and deterrence. If your bicycle/scooter is stolen or lost, we will have all the necessary information for a police report and enter in NCIC & VCIN computer systems. If another police department finds the bicycle/scooter anywhere in the USA, we will be notified.
Shower Facilities for Bike Commuters
Several University buildings have shower facilities that can be utilized by faculty and staff who commute by bike. A list of these facilities is provided below, including room number, gender, and any access restrictions. Additional rules and regulations may be made on a building-to-building basis. Please contact a building administrator if you have any questions.