Here in the Kingdom of Chuck, many of us prefer to travel by a two-wheeled contraption more commonly known as a bicycle. With our narrow streets, scarce parking, and congested roads, it's a brilliant invention that will have you singing its praises like a troubadour as you pop wheelies all over town. But be warned: the streets of Charleston can be a dangerous place. Here's how to protect yourself and your gear from irreversible damage.
First thing's first, register your bike. Registration has been proven to help owners after their beloved bikes fall into the hands of traveling thieves and villains. While the City of Charleston no longer requires bicycles to be registered, the College of Charleston has made registration mandatory. Stop by 89 St. Philip St. to get your bike registered.
Next, learn the rules of the road. No one likes a cart that messes up traffic. Don't be that cart. As you navigate your kingdom, stay to the right and go with the traffic flow. Stop at stop signs and be considerate. Use hand signals to let drivers know you're turning or stopping. Left arm pointed outward indicates a left turn, right hand pointed outward indicates a right turn, and an arm pointed downward, palms out, means hold your horses. Stay off sidewalks. Wear light colors at night and put lights on your bike. You get the gist of it? The same rules of the road apply to all you skateboarders, too, especially you popped-collar dunces skating in flip-flops while talking on your cell phone.
Park your bike appropriately. Just like horses, our fair vehicles have corrals stationed around the city. But if you can't seem to locate one, look for a parking garage. Chances are, the garage will be equipped with spaces to park your wheels; the George Street parking garage has 100 spots for bikes. This knowledge alone puts you heads above the other dim-witted ogres lurking around. If there are no bike racks or garages within sight, then it's time to get crafty. Whatever you do, don't lock your bike to a tree, door, fence, lamp, telephone pole, or a shrub. The city can and will confiscate your ride. "Some residence halls, like Kelly and McAlister, have bike racks for their students inside courtyard-type areas. The bikes can't be brought inside the actual dorms for fire code reasons," explains Officer Richard "Bubba" Gillard. Officer Gillard also recommends getting a good U-lock. It goes without saying, lock the frame, not just the tire. You wouldn't tie your reins to a post and then take off the harness, would you?