Free wheels: Flashfleet offers bike sharing



Morgan Wright

Bike riding may not be the newest form of transportation, but at Kent State University it is expanding to be the easiest and most environmentally friendly way for both students and faculty to get around campus and the city.

Flashfleet, Kent State’s free bike-sharing program, is open for all Kent State students and faculty members. The two-year old program is an alternative for students who do not bring a bike to campus and would like to get to class quickly.

“It’s to promote green transportation, alleviate some of the parking and traffic issues on campus, and at the same time, get some exercise,” said David Herpy, recreation program coordinator.

The program has 62 bikes of four different types to accommodate all students and faculty. To check out bikes, students need a valid Flashcard. Bikes can only be checked in and out of the same location. All bikes provide water bottle holders, locks and helmets.

A new location was added this year at the Kent State Ice Arena, bringing the total number of locations to seven throughout campus. This was to better suit needs of international students and the International Studies department, located on Loop Road. Visit the program’s website for hours and other information regarding Flashfleet.

While all locations offer short-term rentals, the Student Recreation and Wellness Center has long-term rentals for members and nonmembers for a fee. In the future, the program hopes to expand and open a location in downtown Kent.

Flashfleet locations

Student Recreation and Wellness Center

Student Center

Ice Arena

Twin Towers desk

Tri-Towers desk

Stopher Hall

Dunbar Hall

“Right now, it’s available to Kent State students and faculty members, but in the future, we’d like to make this program available to the city in some way,” said Kimberly Rufra, associate director of the Department of Recreational Services.

For now, Flashfleet will not be adding any additional bikes or any other drastic changes from last year’s program, according to Rufra.

Flashfleet has shown to be a successful program, with many students and faculty preferring bikes over automobiles and parking issues on campus.

“If you ask anyone that’s involved with the program, they’re pleased with the results. The participation for the program was higher than we anticipated,” said Rufra. “The response we’ve received from the students has been favorable.”

Rufra also added that Wittenberg College recently contacted her saying it “felt our program was a premier program in the U.S. in regards to bike sharing.”

The Undergraduate Student Government, Provost’s Office, Department of Recreational Services and Office of Student Affairs initially created Flashfleet, and the program is continually funded through Recreational Services.

For students who own bicycles, all residential dorms have bike racks inside and outside of buildings. In some dorms, such as Centennial Court, storage rooms are available for bikes during the colder months. Other dorms have bike racks inside for winter storage.

Jill Church, associate director of Residence Services, said Kent State is a very bicycle-friendly campus and students are encouraged to bring a bike if desired.

Students and faculty who rent or own their transportation can travel off-campus to trails and destinations, including the Cuyahoga River, which flows through downtown Kent.

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporter Morgan Wright at [email protected].