Flashfleet will add more bikes, check-out locations


Brian Smith

A Flashfleet bicycle sits outside the Student Recreation Center on Aug. 28, 2013. Photo by Brian Smith.

Chase Bonhotel

Flashfleet, the campus-wide, bike sharing program enabling students and faculty to rent bikes for the day, rolls into a third-generation bike rental system.

Flashfleet started its free bike rental service in 2010 and provides almost 10,000 rentals a year. With the start of the spring semester, they are looking to host a new pilot program.

Dave Herpy, outdoor adventure coordinator for the Department of Recreational Services, said the upcoming program will partner with the university, PARTA and the city of Kent. The new program will feature bike-share docking stations at the Kent Central Gateway and at various locations on campus. There will be 10 bicycles between both locations and people will be able to pick-up and drop-off their bikes at each location.

“Let’s say a family comes into town to visit their son or daughter, they stay at the [Kent State] Hotel, they can just grab a bike and ride to the university and back,” Herpy said.

Members of the community who don’t have a student Flashcard will be able to check out bikes for a small fee, which will be announced in the spring.

Brandon Richards, bike-share student coordinator for the Department of Recreational Services, said the second-generation program implemented exercise and recreation, sustained green transportation, cut the amount of pollution and carbon dioxide in the air, reduced university traffic congestion and parking issues. He hopes the third-generation program will provide much more.

“We only need 10 percent of the Kent community to jump aboard with us to reduce emissions by 58 tons and save 6,000 gallons of gas,” said Richards. “We will also reduce traffic by 4,000 cars if we implement the program as planned.”

Herpy said the program currently has three-year-old bikes that have seen a lot of usage, so Flashfleet will add five new Jamis Hudson Sport Series bikes for the upcoming spring semester. These new bikes will have an internal shifting system (so you will no longer have to pedal to switch gears) will have less mechanical parts for easy maintenance and a redesigned braking system.

“The new braking system starts by engaging the rear brake first, so you have less chance of flipping over the handlebars or getting in an accident,” said Herpy. “We are really excited about the future and the goal is to roll those new bikes out spring semester.“

Student bicyclists are looking forward to the upcoming program and the addition of the new bikes.

“My parents come up to visit a lot, so I think it’s great that we would finally be able to take our bikes downtown,” said Dakota Dill, sophomore aeronautics major. “I usually ride my own bike to class, but now that they’re getting new bikes I might decide to check them out, especially if they’re Jamis bikes.”

Chase Bonhotel is the Student Recreation reporter for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]