Oklahoma State University senior Tara Gradney commutes by bus five days a week from her home in Tulsa.
But when she arrives on campus in Stillwater, she is not without transportation.
Before she starts her day, Gradney visits the Multimodal Transportation Facility on Hall of Fame Avenue and checks out a heavy-duty Worksman Cruiser, one of a fleet of 30 bicycles now available for rent as part of the Orange Ride program at Oklahoma State.
“For those of us who commute, we don’t have to worry about hauling a bike back and forth on the bus,” Gradney said.
Bikes rent for $2 per day, $8 per week or $30 per semester. The rental fee includes a bike lock that renters can use to secure the bike while on campus.
“You could go buy a cheap bike for $100,” said Steve Spradling, director of parking and transportation services at OSU. “They might not last a year. And you come and rent one for the fall and spring semester for $60. You could rent a bike and have us take care of it for you for two years for the price of a cheap bike.”
The Orange Ride staff maintains the bikes and adjusts seat heights and handle bar settings for each client at no charge.
Gradney said a Orange Ride maintenance crew member recently made a house call of sorts to assist her with a “little mishap.”
“I had a little mishap the other day. I overfilled a tire, and it ended up popping out of the fender well,” Gradney said. “They actually brought a new bike out to me over at Life Sciences West. So I thought that was nice.”
Two baskets are mounted on either side of the bikes behind the seat, suitable for carrying class materials, iPads or water bottles. Spradling said he has been contacted by several businesses about buying advertising to place on the side of the baskets.
Gradney said students with classes located in various buildings across campus would find the Orange Ride program of great benefit.
“Sometimes you end up in classes in different parts of the campus, and a lot of times, you don’t have very much time in between classes,” Gradney said. “Riding a bike really cuts down on your commute time.”
Spradling said some students leaving for the summer or graduating would simply abandon their bikes on campus. Spradling’s staff is forced to collect abandoned bikes, store and inventory those bikes.
“The (rental) program is also a way for us to use our labor more efficiently,” Spradling said.
The Orange Ride shop is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those wanting to rent a bike for the weekend can pick it up on Friday.
The Orange Ride program is not just for OSU students. Anyone interested in renting a bike can visit the Multimodal Transportation Facility and fill out a registration and waiver form or call 405-744-2453.