NELSONVILLE, Ohio—There’s a lot of expense associated with going to college, but one cost that most people don’t think about is gasoline.
Whether you live on campus or commute, making sure you have enough money to get to and from class or run errands can be stressful for students.
Rodney Estrada is trying to help Hocking College students get around campus and Nelsonville, save gasoline and get some exercise.
“A lot of the students on campus don’t have a way to get around if they have classes that aren’t on the main campus, they live off-campus or they just need to go into Nelsonville to buy something,” Estrada said.
After seeing that need, Estrada decided to do something. With the college's permission, he started collecting abandoned bicycles from around the campus. He and other volunteers began repairing and rebuilding the bikes over the summer.
So far, in the autumn semester, Estrada’s been able to give out three bicycles.
Matthew Santurello, a second-year Natural Resources Law Enforcement student, was one of the first recipients.
Santurello is a resident assistant for the college. He lives in a residence hall on campus and said the bicycle will help him get to the off-campus halls quicker.
“If I have to go to Summit or Sycamore to help an RA, assist a student or help host events, it’ll help me get over there and save gas,” he said. The bike cuts the 20-minute walk to the off-campus halls considerably.
Wolfe works for and competes with the college’s archery team and said he plans to use his bicycle to help move archery equipment from the team’s storage building to the outdoor practice grounds. Using the bike will help save gas for Wolfe, who commutes to campus from Logan. He said he plans to keep the bike at the college and use it to get around campus instead of driving.
The bicycles also come with an invitation to Estrada’s new campus bicycle club.
“It’s all about using the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway,” Estrada said. “We have this awesome resource here that’s just very underutilized.”
Estrada said the club is open to all students, faculty and staff even if they don’t receive a refurbished bike.
“We’ll be doing distance competitions,” he said. The competitions will be based on Estrada’s own training goals for bicycle marathons and calculated weekly and monthly.
The competition isn’t the only part of the club Estrada is excited about. Health also plays an important factor.
“It’s a great way to get exercise and stay healthy,” he explained. “And with COVID, one of the things they say that helps a great deal is getting outside and exercising a lot. It allows you to stay away from people and not be in enclosed areas where the virus can more easily spread.”
He hopes students will take advantage of the club and use it as a way to stay on campus and not travel back home and potentially spread the coronavirus.
“It’ll help these students learn leadership, competitiveness, and how to bike technically,” Estrada said.
Anyone interested in joining the bicycle club should email Estrada at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’d like to donate a bicycle, bicycle parts, or, as Estrada said, “anything that goes with a bicycle,” email him at email@example.com. Cash donations for the club and refurbishment program are also accepted.