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New cycle facilities open at Imperial College

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
May 20 2004 21:33

As of last Tuesday, a new cycle park has been made available to all staff and students.

Click Here for the Full Article

May 21 2004 13:56

Does anyone know how many cyclists there are in college? With 10000 students and 3000 odd staff there must be more than 600? Am pretty miffed that I will now have to dump my bike the other side of campus and then walk to my building which currently has a nice rack right outside of it. I understand security want to reduce thefts, but frankly if anyone where to bother hacksawing through my D lock for a ?10 bike I'd be very surprised....

May 21 2004 14:56

CO2 Fire extinguisher and a hammer is a more fun way (and quicker). You'd be surprised, even bikes worth a tenner get nicked in the Big Orange

May 21 2004 15:02

Big orange?! Anyway no one's bothered nicking it in the last six years so I don't know why they would attempt to now. I guess my point is that I'd rather have the choice of "risking" leaving it bolted onto a rack right next to my building or putting it in the "secure" lego building.

4. idris   
May 21 2004 17:10

sounds like a ploy to get rid of "messy" bikes around the campus to me; i bet it won't be long before any bikes parked outside the designated area will get removed by security. what's needed, of course, is both this secure facility for long-stays (whole day / overnight parking etc) and widespread accessible bike racks for more casual use by the majority who just want a convenient drop-off point. let's hope that's what we get.

May 21 2004 17:32

Well we're not going to get that according to the email from security. All racks will be removed with the exception of southside, beit and one next to Huxley. Any bikes found anywere else on campus will be eaten by hungry security guards. This is to improve the look of the campus and reduce thefts apparently. Why is it that even when Imperial attempt to do something that is suppossed to benift students they still manage to get it wrong? Consultation?!

6. tom t   
May 21 2004 17:34

indeed idris.

However, I'm not sure of the legal implications of Security removing bikes. There's probably a requirement that the College should put 'reasonable and visible notification' where this practice of locking one's bike is meant to be frowned upon, otherwise they could get done for wilful destruction of property (vandalism) or other such civil offences when they cut people's locks. And there are a LOT of places where staff and students currently lock bikes.

Anyway, when are they going to come up with a ploy to remove messy cars (and their associated, maddening, alarms)?

May 21 2004 18:22

There are showers in the male changing rooms for the Southside Gym which can be accessed via swipecard

May 21 2004 19:38

A mate of mine had their 600 quid bike stolen from outside Weeks Hall. It was double locked and everything. He reported it to security and they just said something like 3 or 4 bikes get stolen a day and theres nothing you can do about it. I've seen a bike being stolen and it takes about 2 seconds if you have a chain lock. D-locks take longer to break and thieves usually take them overnight - apparently with a car-jack.

9. amram   
May 22 2004 00:05

serious question- who takes showers in college?

Does anyone use the Shower in the loos in Mech Eng for example??

I find this rather strange. Please do explain?

10. sporty   
May 22 2004 10:40

Showering in general, or just in college? Just joshing.

I've used the showers in Southside, and the ones by the Union Gym on many occasions after coming back from some exercise in Hyde Park. I'd also be far more likely to cycle into uni if there were showers in my department.

With the attitude that lots of people have to showering somewhere other than their own private bathroom, however, it's easy to see why the departments have bigger priorities.

11. Mona   
May 22 2004 12:02

After promising myself i would never read this again, Starbuck has been ranting so I thought i'd take a look. And i end up writing. Has anyone thought of starting live addicts anonamous? I'm volunteering him for the first member.

The mech eng maintanence blokes use the shower in mech eng Amram.

12. amram   
May 22 2004 18:19


13. Seb   
May 22 2004 23:05


I take it you avoid physical labour around college?

Remember the heat wave around this time last year? I was doing casual work hefting equipment out of the SPAT labs to storage while the area was refited.

After 7 hours of heavy lifting in those temperatures, believe me you need a shower before you do anything else.

I wish the Physics department had showers. Then I wouldn't have to go home on the tube smelling like the12**3 of bielzebub in sodden clothes. I could have showered and gone to the union for a pint.

14. amram   
May 23 2004 11:15

Yes but do people bring towels, shampoo and a change of clothes with them to college? Where to put such things? And what about the fact that when one gets out of the shower, presumably not wearing any clothes, one is in the middle of a public toilet- there are no changing facilities. The idea strikes me as absurd and unpleasant and impractical.

15. C!   
May 23 2004 11:31

There are things called lockers where you can keep some spare clothes.

Presumably you get changed in the same area as you get dried

16. Seb   
May 23 2004 23:23

You take your clothes in a robust, sealed plastic bag into the cubicle. You shower. You turn off the shower. You open the bag, dry yourself with the towel. You then dress and exit the shower. You may be slightly damp if inexperienced in such techniques, but it will only be water rather than copious amounts of sweat, machine-grease, oil or whatever else you might get covered in.

Is there any other pieces of domestic advice and common sense tips needed to plug gaps? Tying shoe laces perhaps? How to iron?

17. Seb   
May 23 2004 23:24

12**3 is a censored? why 12**3?

18. Seb   
May 23 2004 23:25

Doh... too tired. What I was trying to get across is why *that* particular combination of numerals and stars to censor a relatively inocuous word.

19. Sam   
May 23 2004 23:35

as far as i can work out a r s e is censored badly, because someone has f**ked the wanking profanity filter - if someone hadn't removed my secret admin rights, i might be able to fix it...

maybe i might have fixed a**e - you never know what happens - the filters don't seem to parse too well.

20. Sam   
May 23 2004 23:36

yep, it's fixed - now stop complaining.

21. Mo   
May 24 2004 00:16

Seb, ironing is women's work- didn't you know.

22. amram   
May 24 2004 00:22

a) There is not enough space to get dressed within the cubicles.

b) there is not enough space to get undressed in the cubicles

c) the "sealed bag" thing is virtually impossible- clothes are likely to get soaked

d) it is a health hazard- wet students, especially during winter are likely to get ill.

e) it is better to be greasy/sweaty than to develop pneumonia

f) people should shower in their own homes- Mech Eng is not some sort of public baths.

May 24 2004 01:51

(d) is medically incorrect

24. Seb   
May 24 2004 09:32

Mo: Ironic then that the only time I bother ironing is when I'm trying to convince one that I'm not the slob I might otherwise appear.

Amram: Not enough room in the cubicals? Tell me, do you find the seats on routmasters cramped?

Other people use them fine, no one is oblidging you to shower in Mech Eng.

May 24 2004 10:27

"e) it is better to be greasy/sweaty than to develop pneumonia"

(d) is medically incorrect

which means you won't have developed pneumonia and I'm sure the people sat around you on the routemaster may not appreciate your opinon of e)

Further to showers in Mech Eng, there are showers in the Union building in the Upstairs changing rooms, are there not?

May 24 2004 16:31

urm, Amram, have you ever actually looked in the showers in Mech Eng? They are ample big enough to change in easily,(at least the one on level 7 definitely). The only people i can see struggling to change in them are those that can't fit through the door anyway.

27. Andrew   
May 24 2004 16:58

Starbucks - the CO2 fire extinguisher and hammer is a complete urban myth. It doesn't even vaguelly work, you'd be better hitting the lock with the extinguisher than trying to freeze it. I have even seen this tried with liquid nitrogen - and this even takes several minutes of chilling to make such a large mass of metal cold enough to fracture.

A lot of cyclists round college have very poor locks, ones that could be removed in under 30 seconds. D-locks are not as hard to remove as you'd think.

The best bet is two locks if you are worried. The smallest D lock possible, and a steel wire rope based one. The small D locks are very hard to remove without harming the bike. The steel wire rope ones are impossible to cut with bolt cutters, and the plastic coating will rapidly clog hacksaw blades. The ones with a solid metal chain down the centre of a wire rope cover are hard to chop, even with hydraulic cable cutters.

Oh, and trust me, I've got a reasonable experience of this.

28. amram   
May 24 2004 17:22

Dear Mech Engr, was talking about the one in level 3 (next to mech eng library).

May 24 2004 18:34

Ah the one on Level 3 is small but you'll notice that because of this you can actually lock the whole toilet area on the outer door when you want to use that one so you get the whole place to yourself. Which is bigger than most halls bathrooms.

May 24 2004 20:23

OI stop 'editing' posts!

I thought this was a discussion forum, where the world could be put to rights by a bunch of anonymous losers who have nothing better to do!!!!

or one day i'll just have to write a script that posts millions of inane comments just to clog up the server.....

31. alex C   
May 26 2004 01:05

I think that a perfectly workable script for that already seems to be in operation...

32. ant   
May 26 2004 16:41

yeah i believe the script is executed by command phrases like 'middle east', 'Bush', and 'Palestine'

Sep 29 2004 15:36

The reason it has been done IS to "tidy up" the college, security say so on their website. There is also a health and safety aspect, people might sue if they injure themselves on a bike chained to railings. Obviously rubbish. As someone already said, what about the cars and motorbikes (some of the old bike parking areas have turned into motorcycle parking areas! No less messy, more so in fact).

However there are several issues with the new facility:

1. you can't use most D-locks or other locks when the bikes are in the slot - they are too small to get around the frame and wheels and the slot your bike goes in

2. the racks are not suitable for thin wheeled bikes, such as racing bikes, or folding bike, recumbents, trikes and so on.

3. If someone falls against a bike the wheels might bend or tyres puncture

4. it is *up some stairs*... what idiot designed that? I know there is a small ramp but you have to hold your bike at 30 degrees to avoid scraping your pedals. It is easier to get a car up a ramp than a bike up some stairs, why not swap the two levels?

5. it is impossible to use ALL the rack positions. Try putting your bike inbetween two others, AND putting on a lock - it is impossible. They will claim there are 1000 spaces (or whatever) when there are only really 500.

6. the racks are totally insecure, a bike may be easily removed by undoing the bolts at the top or bottom of the slot

7. the CCTV is only in one place, cannot spot suspicious behaviour, and CCTV is a poor security device anyway

8. you have to lift the bike and handle it carefully to get it into the slot. Some people may not be able to do this.

The only advantages are it is dry, well lit, and perhaps a bit more secure against opportunist theft. A steal-to-order thief will love this store, it like Halfords without the tills.

It is clear that they have been constructed without consultation with IC cyclists. No cyclist would ask for those dumb racks.

Is there an IC-wide cycle user group??


Sep 29 2004 17:36

"Is there an IC-wide cycle user group??"

No, but there are plans to set one up this year.

35. tom t   
Sep 29 2004 18:45

Greetings ben, and others.

Latest pronouncements are that College was scruffy, you're correct, so Sir Dick decided that instead of doing something useful with the estates budget, he'd build a lego block and remove all the bike racks.

Over summer, note, so that the UGs wouldn't have a chance to complain / notice.

Anyhow, there are plans afoot to introduce a Cycle Group, as collectively it's felt that they might listen to reasonable demands from reasonable academics, if there's enough of us. Please DO come! I'm sure it'll be announced here, in FELIX and other places etc. Of course one can't really complain about the lego bike store, other than it is too small. Sir Richard does do a rather nice demonstration of how to lock up a bike in these new racks though. What we can get them on is complete lack of bike facilities elsewhere on campus, while provisions for any sort of motorised, expensive transport has been enhanced. Just the sort of joined up thinking you'd expect from an organisation 'where science is leading'. Point is, Ben, that more rich overseas students will come if the campus looks like an ill-conceived corporate HQ somewhere off the M4 in Berkshire, rather than a place where young people come to undertake academic study. "If you want to ride a bike, go to Cambridge" (R) 2004 SirRichardSykes Promotions Ltd.

PS, the security staff seem to be expanding and expanding, getting new hats and designated parking slots for all 5 vans, at least four of which are never moved, so it's clearly not their job to attempt a bit of bike theft prevention....

36. amram   
Sep 30 2004 01:29

several questions to Tom T:

1. How many people cycle to college roughly?

2. How many racks are their currently?

3. did the Rector actually say ""If you want to ride a bike, go to Cambridge"" or is this just hyperbole.

funnily on this issue I am rather neutral (normally i oppose anything tom t says for good measure) and would like to know more.

BTW does anyone know of a good bike shop nearby? i would like to buy a helmet.

many thanks

oh and Tom t do you still count as one of these "young people" any more- :-)

Sep 30 2004 13:21

several questions to Tom T:

1. How many people cycle to college roughly?

2. How many racks are there currently?

3. did the Rector actually say ""If you want to ride a bike, go to Cambridge"" or is this just hyperbole?

funnily on this issue I am rather neutral (normally i oppose anything tom t says for good measure) and would like to know more.

BTW does anyone know of a good bike shop nearby? i would like to buy a helmet.

many thanks

oh and Tom t do you still count as one of these "young people" anymore?


Oct 04 2004 17:25

There is Action Bikes near St. James Park:

Good, proper bike shop, with LCC discounts etc.! Might be one closer but I have yet to locate it. Wait a couple of months and Evans will open up somewhere!

The more I see what has happened over summer, the more angry I get. All the cycle parking spaces have been replaced by motorcycle or car parking spaces. Given the inevitable CC in K&C, this seems terribly short sighted.

If they want to tidy up college, cover the car/motorbike parking spaces with grass and a few benches!


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