SIUE resumed its Bike Share Program for the 11th year earlier this month, allowing students to borrow bikes and hit the trails or travel the campus. The Student Fitness Center also increased in-person cycling classes for students and members, promoting active, healthy lifestyles.
Thomas Perez, graduate teaching assistant with Campus Recreation, said the program — which opens every year after Spring Break — opened strong this year.
“It’s been going pretty good,” Perez said. “I think within the first week, the stats that I’ve looked at, we’ve had give or take, [about] 50 checkouts [of bicycles].”
Sophomore criminal justice major Bryce Thompson, from Springfield, Illinois, said students use the bikes to ride around campus, the bike trails and can access maps online or at the Student Fitness Center.
“We have maps here that people don’t really know about, but we have an Edwardsville area map,” Thompson said. “You can ride the trails wherever, but typically, most use them to get around campus or just for fun on a nice day.”
Perez said there are bike racks and multiple bike repair stations located on campus.
“Throughout campus, we have seven bike repair stations. They are posts that they can hang their bike up from, and there are tools … and bike pumps,” Perez said. “There is one by the gym, one by the Cougar statue … by Evergreen and Woodland Hall, one off the bike trail where the parking lot is on Stadium Drive, one by parking lot 10, and … by Cougar Village.”
According to Natalie Rosales-Hawkins, assistant director of recreational programs, for those who prefer to be inside but want to increase their exercise regimen, in-person cycling classes are being added to the calendar.
“I believe we are in our fourth or fifth week of Saturday Cycle, and then one of our adjunct instructors … just came back on to teach boot camp on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. He added his Cycle 60 class on Wednesdays at 5 p.m.,” Rosales-Hawkins said. “We’ve already seen registration numbers being almost 80-90 percent filled for those classes.”
Students and members who want to attend an in-person fitness class or one of the virtual classes still being held can always sign up on IMLeagues.
Rosales-Hawkins said if members don’t want to join cycle classes, workout bikes and cycle bikes are available in the Cycle Zone and fitness rooms as part of what the center calls open rack, where someone can come in and use any service or equipment that is available.
“We don’t have any reservations right now, it’s a first-come, first-serve basis, but I can personally tell you that room is not being heavily utilized,” Rosales-Hawkins said. “Whether students don’t know about it, or they just think it’s a class, you know, it’s a cycle zone for classrooms, but we intentionally leave that door open so those bikes can be utilized.”
Amanda Couch, campus recreation fitness coordinator, said cycling can help build stamina, but does differ from outdoor biking.
“You’re building up those same muscles … even just the cardiovascular endurance if you’re wanting to do longer rides, but there’s going to be some ability to cross over, and it’s a good place to start,” Couch said. “I know a lot of cyclists who use that when the weather isn’t great, to just be able to keep up through that indoor period to be able to jump right back into the outdoor season.”
Couch said including biking or stationary cycling as exercise regimens helps with cardiovascular and core fitness and mental health.
“I think it’s like, around 150 minutes per week of at least moderate-intensity exercise, to just kind of stay in a healthy place,” Couch said. “I think, not only from the standpoint of the physical aspect but also, especially right now, that mental aspect of what being able to get in and raise your heart rate and increase those endorphins can do for our mental health is probably just as important as what exercise can do for our physical health.”
Couch said cycle coaches help students learn to adjust the bikes, and users control the bikes’ resistance. Both new students and students looking for a heavier workout can benefit from the same class.
Rosales-Hawkins said that any students who need assistance with equipment or fitness at the center should reach out to the fitness attendants to ask questions. The fitness center is also hosting mini-health assessments on March 31 with staff for 15-minute appointments.
“If someone is like, ‘I don’t know where to start,’ they can [sign up], and this is a free program for students and fitness center members,” Rosales-Hawkins said. “They can talk to a certified personal trainer or one of our students that is assisting us with nutrition counseling.”
Thompson said any student can use the Bike Share Program for free. Faculty, spouses and employees with memberships to the center are also eligible. Information about renting a bike or other sporting equipment can be found on SIUE’s Campus Recreation website.