One of the most iconic and exciting parts of living in Lund is Lund’s bicycle culture. There are separated bike paths all across the city and it is the fastest and easiest way to get around. This mode of transport is especially popular among students so there is a roaring trade in bikes and bike paraphernalia, especially during a change over between semesters. Some students begin to get a bit panicked if they have not found a bike within a few weeks of arriving, but this should not lead to an impulse bike buy! As we are coming to the end of change-over season, here are some things I have learned about buying a bike in Lund.
Breathe. Students are coming and going all the time meaning that bikes will become available throughout the semester.
It is ok to say no. I, like most students, found my bike on a facebook group designed to help students buy and sell household goods. This means that based on a small photo and a short description of the bike students set up a time and place to meet the seller. Once a meeting is set up it is easy to feel pressured to buy the bike, especially if the seller had to go out of their way for the meeting. This should not lead to a hasty decision! Try the bike out first! Does it make noise while riding? How are the brakes? Do any gears work? If the bike works for you, then go for it! But if it does not, don’t be afraid to walk away.
That was my problem, I am easily swayed so I set up a meeting to see a ‘lovely green bike’ which supposedly had three working gears. I took a very brief ride to test the breaks and then took it for 500SEK. Big mistake. On the ride home I realized it had zero gears and the chain made a persistent clicking noise so loud that people heard me coming for miles! I sold the bike for the same price a few days later.
Make sure the bike wasn’t stolen. Bike theft is a big issue in Lund because bikes are in such high demand. There are a few ways to do this; first assess the reliability of the seller. If the seller is another student who is selling their very ordinary bike before leaving Lund, and you meet in a public place things are likely as they seem and it is safe.
However, if you are asked to meet to buy the bike out of town, if the seller has multiple bikes, or is not a student, then the bike may have been stolen and it is time to consult with police. The police spend most of their time dealing with bikes—there is not much other crime in Lund—so, they would be happy to help. I bought my bike from a friend of a friend who seemed to have their story straight, so I wasn’t worried, but it can still be a good idea to double check.
Make sure your new bike doesn’t get stolen. Many bikes are sold with lights, bell, and lock since they are being sold by students. I brought my own lock and lights from home, which turned out to be lucky since the bike I bought came with the titchiest little lock you can imagine. A wee little pink wire lock that could barely wrap around the bike wheel and frame, luckily I brought my rough and tough, Toronto tested thick lock.
Keeping all this in mind I wish you the best of luck finding a suitable bike for your cycling needs! Lund is a wonderful place to have a bike, the sea shore, museums, and stunning forest walks are all reachable within an hour by bike! And on that note, I am off to the sea shore…