FlashFeet debuts new generation of biking


Brian Cannon, Executive Director of Undergraduate Student Government and Lauren Mazurkiewicz, Co-president of the Student Recreation Council cut the ribbon during the dediciation ceremoney of the new 3rd Generation Flash Fleet of bicycles avialable to rent by both Kent State students and residents of Kent on September 11, 2015.

Paige Verma

FlashFleet debuted its third generation-based bikes to students and community members Friday morning in downtown Kent.

FlashFleet is a program that is run through the Student Recreation and Wellness center. The program began in 2010 at Kent State University. With the third generation technology-based bikes, renting, riding and returning is much easier for not only students but the Kent community as well.

Kent State is the first college campus to have nextbike bikes. The debut revealed new bikes, which now include a computer system within kiosk locations, to make renting and returning bikes easier with no time restraint on when the bike must be returned and eight locations where bikes can be rented and returned.

Kimberly Rufra, associate director of Kent State Recreational Services, founded the original FlashFleet program.

“The program starting out was very popular,” Rufra said.

The third generation technology became available when the program came to Kent State, but at the time it was not needed, Rufra explained. The program grew the first three years and then plateaued.

“Students began asking for better locations and hours for renting bikes,” Rufra said.

The new technology responded to those wants.

Before the new technology debuted, students were able to rent bikes from the recreation and wellness center free with their flashcard and take the bikes round trip. Abby Millsaps, marketing director for recreational services explained the process.

“You’d come into proshop at the recreation and wellness center, you’d present your flashcard, we would give you a key to unlock the bike.  You’d take that bike and ride it around campus or even to class, then have to bring it back to the recreation and wellness that same day, and check the bike back in at the proshop while facility was open,” Millsaps said.  

Chris John, assistant director of FlashFeet, began with the program in May 2014.

“We hope to maintain the level of student participation that we have in the past.” John said, with now having a small charge added when renting the bikes, “We hope that students will have value in the membership and see the membership fees reasonable for the value they receive,” John said.

There are now eight FlashFleet locations across campus and downtown for renting and returning bikes: The Student Recreation and Wellness Center, Eastway Center, Van Campen Hall, Tri-Towers, Terrace Hall, Stopher-Johnson, the Kent Student Center and PARTA in downtown Kent. Students and community members can either become a member and pay a one-time fee or can pay as they go.

“Why be late looking for a parking spot when I could just grab a bike instead of being late to class or fighting over a spot?” Graduate student Karuna Ramcharran asked at the FlashFleet debut.

Students and community members must first register with a credit or debit card. Registration can be done at a FlashFleet kiosk, on the nextbike mobile app, at www.kent.edu/recservices/flashfleet or by calling their customer service at 330-474-0785. 

Contact Paige Verma at [email protected]