Rising gas prices have students trading

Gas prices are at an all-time high around the country. Kent State University students, just as everyone else, can feel the pinch on their wallets and some have resorted to other means of transportation to get around campus. Steven Mantilla | Summer Kent S

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VIEW a list of bike safety tips.

With gas prices hitting record highs and people scrambling to do what they can to conserve fuel, riding a bike is becoming an attractive alternative.

Bob Teyak, owner of Falls Wheel and Wrench Bike Shop in Cuyahoga Falls, said he hasn’t seen much increase in new bike purchases, but he’s noticing new customers coming in for bike repairs.

“My guess is that people are digging out old stuff that they haven’t ridden in a long time,” Teyak said. “We see people who bought bikes back in the 1980s and early 1990s and now they’re breaking them out. You can tell the people (who) owned them didn’t put many miles on them.”

Teyak said he has noticed an increase in sales for bicycle racks that hook onto the back of vehicles, as well as rear wheel baskets for people who are now commuting to the store or work.

He says he thinks prices of bicycles and parts will probably increase because manufacturers are going to pay more for the fuel required to ship their products.

Health Benefits

Aside from being wallet friendly, riding a bike has many health benefits.

Jacob Barkley, assistant professor of exercise, leisure and sport, said cycling and other cardiovascular exercise may not make you strong, but it will lead to a longer life and better overall health.

He said cycling is low-impact compared to most other kinds of cardiovascular exercise.

“(It’s) a great type of exercise for some people who can’t run due to ankle, knee and back injuries,” Barkley said.

Barkley said he can’t give an exact number of calories burned while riding a bike because it depends on distance, speed and terrain.

“It’s very dependent on the intensity you’re working at,” Barkley said.

According to an article written by Charles Platkin for WBAY in Minnesota, a 155-pound person “riding at a leisurely pace of 10 to 12 mph” can burn 423 calories in an hour, or seven calories per minute.

Bike Police

Don’t drink and ride.

The Kent State Police Department’s bike patrol may pull you over.

The department has had a bike patrol since the early 1990s.

Kent State Police officer Miguel Witt said the initial decision to have a bike patrol wasn’t based on fuel prices. The department started using it as another means for patrolling the campus, Witt said.

Besides saving the department money on fuel, he said the best part about being a bicycle officer is being more approachable to students.

“We can actually talk to people as opposed to being in a cruiser,” he said. “The bicycle uniform is somewhat less intimidating, formal and official than the regular police uniform.”

Kent City Police Department Lt. James Cole said although his department does have bicycles, they are seldom used to patrol the city.

“We got the bikes maybe 10 or 12 years ago and, at the time, we had roughly a dozen officers trained to ride them,” Cole said.

He said the staffing level has decreased, and the department doesn’t have the manpower to have bicycle patrols full time.

He said the department still uses the bicycles for parades and festivals.

Cole warned that cyclists are subject to all vehicle laws and, although it’s fairly uncommon, an officer will pull a bicyclist over for traffic violations.

“There have been cases where we’ve arrested people for riding their bike while drunk,” Cole said, “but comparing it to the total amount of traffic citations we issue, the volume isn’t there.”

Contact general assignment reporter Tim Jacobs at [email protected].

Contact transportation and grounds reporter David Ranucci at [email protected].