Where do you keep a valuable bike if you’re staying in College accommodation? Ideally, most people would have it in their room but this may not always be possible and College policies vary. Below is a set of recommendations for steps you can take to keep a bike in your room. We also have an OUCC College Bike Storage Database that current and past club members have contributed to explaining how they resolved any bike storage issues they experienced when coming to Oxford.
We’re hoping that people will keep contributing to the database across the year and beyond, forming a network of information and contacts across all colleges to fight back against the tyranny of those poor poor bikes having to live out in the rain!
If you approach matters correctly with your college you should be able to keep a bike in your room, even in Colleges where “it is not allowed.” As a University Club, OUCC will not endorse breaking College rules; however, being polite with your accommodation manager and scout can work wonders. You can only try and here’s how:
Colleges have their own policies on in-room bike storage, but as a general rule these policies fall away if the scout or accommodation manager see something they don’t like. Irrespective of what your College allows you should pay attention to the following points.
- First rule is that the scout is the most important person: If they don’t like the look of a bike in your room, they’ll complain to College and you’ll have problems. It’s worth politely explaining your situation to them at the outset, that you’re with the OUCC and that the bike is an expensive piece of sports equipment. Reassure them that it will not cause mess or damage.
- A difficult scout will be happier if the bike is out of the way, e.g. behind a desk or chair. Removing the front wheel may help. Using a bike bag is even better – you could even keep it in a bag under your bed.
- If the College allows bikes in rooms and the scout is happy about it, make sure you inform College that the bike is there and the scout is OK about it. Do that, stick to the rules (e.g. College may want the bike covered) and you’ll be fine. The College may change its mind if the bike is causing damage or mess (if you’re careful this will not happen). The only way they’ll know about this is through the scout. Keep them happy.
What do you do if the College does not allow a bike in the room?
Now things get complicated. The approach to this should be to explain your situation to your tutor to get them on board. Then, with their backing, you can speak to the accommodation manager / domestic bursar / dean / head porter (choose an appropriately receptive and influential person in your college).
Be prepared to justify your position. There are three main reasons to keep a bike inside.
- Security – These are expensive pieces of equipment and bicycle theft is rife in this city. Your room is by far the most secure place to keep it.
- Safety – You are not just crawling around town on this machine. You are pushing this bike hard, often reaching 60-70kph on descents just in training. Doing this on a bike that has been repeatedly beaten up by other bike rack users is a recipe for disaster.
- Maintenance – You are part of one of the best University cycling teams in the country and need your bike to be in a suitable condition in order to be competitive. A bike that is rusty from the rain or bent out of true by other bike rack users is no good.
Where you live is a consideration. Those on the main College grounds may find rules are stricter as the accommodation is more valuable. Also there may be narrow stairs which would make it impossible to carry a bike up to your room. Take these things into account when picking a room.
Some Colleges will make provision for you to keep the bike elsewhere, such as in a locked cellar. Others will have very secure sheds with CCTV where thefts would be unlikely. If such facilities are available then you could be better off using those. If you follow this option we recommend getting a really good lock or two and making sure you lock both wheels and the frame to a solid object.
Finally, OUCC is here to help you and represent the sport of cycling in the University. We have already e-mailed most Colleges so they are aware of the problem of storing expensive bikes. If you run into difficulties please be very polite and patient and don’t make things worse. If you want help, mail the OUCC President or Captains right away and we’ll try to liaise with the College and sort things out to. The Sports Fed know about the issue too and are willing to back us up.
Everyone should be able to keep a good bike in Oxford and have peace of mind. It should not be a barrier to anyone participating in the sport during their time here.
If you wish to send comments about the issues raised above, please contact us. The goal of this page is to promote cycling and improve security and safety for member’s bikes, we do not wish to break College rules. We welcome discussion with Colleges to find a solution to the problem of storing racing bikes in College accommodation.