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We see them rolling: Students use nontraditional wheels to get to class


Freshman Benjamin Kroll rides his scooter around campus. Kroll has to travel to Swain Hall for classes every day and said riding back to his dorm is nice because it is downhill. Alex Deryn Buy Photos

Freshman Benjamin Kroll carried his folded blue Razor scooter under his arm Monday as he walked out of Wells Library. With one flick, the scooter was on the ground and Kroll rolled past students, the scooter clicking down the sidewalk.

For some, Razor scooters might bring back memories of childhood, but they – along with other nontraditional methods of transportation – are emerging as means to traversing campus. 

Kroll said he and his roommate Henry Jiang bought matching scooters for about $60 from Target after the first week of school.

“This was a lot cheaper than a bicycle, so that fact that I’m a broke college kid really comes into play,” Kroll said.

He said he rode a scooter when he was younger but thought to buy one for college once he realized how much he would be walking on campus. 

“I think a lot of people just brought their bikes from home, but I didn’t have a good bicycle at home,” Kroll said. “So this was kind of a cheap alternative instead of bringing a broken bike to college.”

Cost also played a factor for freshman Heather Hoffmeyer, who also bought her scooter at Target after the first week of classes. Another reason she said she bought one was because she was late to a class the first week of school. She was having trouble walking from Swain Hall to the Global and International Studies building across campus in 15 minutes. 

“I got myself a scooter to be more punctual,” she said. 

Hoffmeyer said she decided on a scooter instead of a skateboard because a scooter has brakes. 

But people who might be thinking about buying a scooter should use caution: she learned the hard way brakes aren't as effective after it rains.

“Apparently the brakes on a scooter don’t work when it’s wet, so I ate concrete,” she said.

Both Kroll and Hoffmeyer said they have only seen a few other people riding scooters. Kroll said he doesn’t thinks it's a popular thing. 

Other students are using motorized skateboards to get around. Unlike the scooters, they are typically more expensive and can cost $1,000 or more. 

Freshman Ryan Braverman said he bought a Boosted Board, a popular brand of motorized skateboard, about three weeks ago. They are controlled by a remote that the rider carries with them.

He found out about them about three years ago because YouTube vlogger Casey Neistat owns one. 

“I always wanted one,” he said. 

However, he didn’t buy one until college because he didn’t have a need for it. Braverman said he feels that it is a niche community of people on campus who use them. 

“I don’t see a whole lot,” he said. 

Senior Kody Wagner uses rollerblades to get around but said he has not seen anyone else using them.

He has rollerbladed since he was a kid while playing street hockey in his cul-de-sac, but this is the first year he chose to bring his rollerblades to school with him. 

“I brought my rollerblades this year because I rollerblade during the summer, so I was like, ‘might as well bring them to school to get from point A to point B,” Wagner said. 

He now plays ice hockey with the IU club team and said rollerblading helps him stay in practice, but rollerblades do have their downsides, Wagner said. 

“The biggest problem is going down a hill,” Wagner said. “I have to stop, and I don’t have brakes on mine, so I have to tread with caution.” 

To stop, he drags his blades. This means he has to buy new wheels more often than rollerblades that do have brakes. 

Even with this issue, he would recommend rollerblades. 

“It’s more fun and it’s a good light workout and it feels good when the wind is blowing in your face,” he said. 

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