The Board Blazers Blog


Bikes vs. Boards: Which to Choose for College?

A bike or a skateboard is a must for getting around a large college campus, but we know it can be hard to decide between the two! Here’s what to consider to make the right choice. 

First off, if you’re trying to decide if transportation is even necessary, the answer is a resounding YES! Especially if you don’t have a car, a skateboard or bike is practically a necessity. Not only will you be able to get to class faster (perhaps saving a valuable 5 minutes of sleep in the morning!), but it will also allow you to pack more into every day. Want to play on an intramural team, but the games start all the way across campus 5 minutes after class ends? No problem, if you’ve got a ride. Want to meet a friend for lunch, but worried you can’t squeeze it in between classes? With a bike or board, you certainly can! Most of all, transportation affords you a sense of FREEDOM so you don’t feel trapped on campus. 

Board Blazers was born at Arizona State University, so we know a thing or two about riding on campus. Here’s what we’ve found:

Practicality

In this category, a bike has several advantages that a board can’t match. Most of all, you can go faster and further on a bike. For these reasons, if you’re living off campus and looking for a way to commute to campus, you’ll definitely want a bike. Plus, bikes are much better for carrying stuff. If you’re taking books, a laptop, or a project to class, either use a backpack or get a bike with a rack or basket. Need to make a grocery run? Carrying all those bags home on a skateboard is going to be awfully tough. Plus, your bike can be used for recreation too! Invest in a solid mountain or road bike, then get out and explore the local terrain. Join a local cycling club to immediately make friends and get plugged into the local scene.

Cost

Score one for skateboards, and make sure to pick the right type of board. Longboards are common on campus, and will typically cost you $99 – $149. Penny boards (aka “plastic boards”) are a little smaller, and are often the best type of board for campus cruising.  A solid penny board usually costs between $49 and $99. If you’re going to buy a skateboard, make sure to visit a local skate shop, not a big-box retailer. Even if a local shop is a little more expensive, they’ll hook you up with better equipment, personal service, and local insider knowledge that’s worth the extra cash.

Bikes have a much wider price range, but you’re almost guaranteed to spend more than on a skateboard. Expect to pay at least $200 for a decent quality new cruiser, and even more if you want a good mountain or road bike. Plus, bikes require some maintenance. Fixing a flat and an occasional tune-up aren’t costly, but they’re expenses that skateboards don’t require. When buying a bike, a local bike shop is the way to go. If (and when) your bike needs maintenance, they’ll often fix it for free or a reduced price if you originally bought the bike there.

Lastly, remember to look for deals on used bikes and boards! Many students sell their rides when they graduate, so ask around. If you’re a new student, ask your campus tour guide if they know anyone selling a used bike, and which method of transportation they prefer.

Maneuverability

Bikes have brakes! College campuses are crowded places, so keep in mind that you’ll be maneuvering through crowds and dodging other riders. Especially at hilly campuses, bikes are better. Sure, you can always brake with your foot or jump off a skateboard, but then your board often goes darting off into a crowd. Many campuses have even implemented “walk-only zones” or other safety measures in an effort to decrease the danger for pedestrians and improve traffic flow. Potholes, uneven sidewalks, and even trash also pose a problem for unstable boarders. In this case, bikes are a better choice.

Storage

Once you reach your destination, don’t forget that you’ve got to lock up your bike every single time. Bike racks are common at many schools, but often so crowded they turn into a demolition derby. Sometimes, there’s no rack close to your destination, leaving less desirable options such as locking to a tree, post, or even just running the lock through the tires. Plus, if you move around campus during the day, it might be a hike back to where you left your bike.

After you arrive, you have to carry your skateboard, which has both advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, you’ve always got your ride with you, so you can hop on wherever you’d like. But, it can be a burden to carry around all day, and if it’s a particularly large longboard you’ll have to leave it by the door when you get to class. This is dangerous, because skateboard theft is common at many schools. Because of this, we highly recommend a penny board since it’s easier to carry and you can keep it with you at your seat in class. Or invest in a backpack that stows your board in place, like this one

Theft of both bikes and skateboards is rampant, so always keep your board with you, and be careful about leaving it in the back of a lecture hall. Or, if a bike is your thing, the phrase “buy a cheap bike and an expensive lock” rings true. Invest in a quality U-lock. Locking skateboard racks are becoming increasingly popular, but still aren’t mainstream.

In the end, choose whichever you feel more comfortable with or the option that best fits your needs. Check out your campus to see what’s most popular. That’s a good sign of the best option in your area. If you’re a commuter, have a lot of hills around campus, or just prefer the speed, practicality, and maneuverability of a bike, go for it! Or, if you’re looking to save some cash and don’t want to deal with the hassle of locking up a bike every time you stop, become a boarder.

What’s your pick? Hit us up on Instagram @boardblazers and let us know!


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5 Awkward College Moments Where A Skateboard Would Really Come In Handy

College is a breeding ground for awkward moments. Emailing the wrong professor? Check. Totally forgetting someone's name after you've met multiple times? Check. Trying to act cool in front of someone and accidentally walking into a bench/pole/door? Triple check.

Luckily, some of these awkward moments can be salvaged...with a skateboard. Don't believe me? Read on.

 

1. Being late to class because all the bike racks are full

So maybe you left on time to get to your calculus class—but you definitely didn’t expect that every single bike rack at the building’s entrance would be jam-packed. By the time you find an open bike rack, you’re interrupting the professor’s lecture with a ridiculously loud and squeaky door, and everybody is swiveling their heads to see the latecomer. Ick.

A skateboard solves the problem tenfold. Not only can you bring it with you to the classroom, bypassing crowded bike racks, but carrying a skateboard significantly ups your “cool points” (I’m sure somebody’s keeping a tally).

 

2. Trying to bike in a crowd

Anyone who’s ridden a bike on a college campus has experienced the weird struggle of crowd-biking—when you inadvertently end up in a mob of people, so you can’t go faster than walking speed, but there’s also not enough room for you to effortlessly hop off your bike and walk it. End result? You, on a bike, gently wobbling as you try to stay upright.

Not so with a skateboard! With no two-wheeled balance to keep, you’re free to maneuver as quickly (or slowly) as the crowd dictates.

 

3. When you’re looking for an excuse to talk to your crush

There you are—sitting at a table in the dining hall. There’s your crush—sitting at a different table that’s near-ish you, but not so near that it would make sense to walk up and talk to them without some sort of invitation. And while you rack your brain for ways to start a conversation, you don’t realize you’re staring until you’re caught.

Your skateboard can save the day! If you set it on the floor and absentmindedly push it in their direction, you immediately have an excuse to hop over, retrieve it, apologize, and then introduce yourself like a normal person. Come on, you can do it—I believe in you.

 

4. When you’ve got too many textbooks and no selfless assistants to carry them for you

So you went to the bookstore to buy yourself some required reading material. Good for you! Except...you’ve got a class on the other side of campus, and you didn’t really realize that three textbooks would get so heavy after the first thirty steps. What’s an average-armed college student to do?

With a skateboard, you have an immediate wheeled assistant. With something to secure your books and add a leash (any kind of cord will do), you’ll save your back and allow the entire college campus to bask in your cleverness.

 

5. Running into your ex

It’s happened to everyone. You’re walking along, enjoying the shining sun and the chirping birds, when all of a sudden—your ex??! Without a skateboard, you could be trapped in an awkward conversation for an indeterminable amount of time. Say it ain’t so!

But with the help of a skateboard, you can whiz right by, the breeze in your hair—maybe pulling a trick or two to really show them what they’re missing.

 

Lesson learned? Even though a skateboard can't get you out of EVERY tricky situation, it can definitely be your knight in shining armor in a few choice moments.

Readers--anything else you'd add? When has a skateboard helped you out?


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Meet David Elizondo: Why a College Freshman Chose to Skateboard

This month we sat down with David Elizondo, an avid skater and student at Arizona State University. He’s 19, from San Diego, California, and currently studies business at ASU. Although David has only been in college for one year, he has a ton of great advice for incoming freshman as well as other current students. Read what he has to say about skating from class to class.

Favorite Hobby: Snowboarding

David ElizondoFavorite Place to Eat: In-N-Out Burger

Favorite Movie: Inception

1.) Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m an avid adventurer and am always looking for new areas around San Diego and ASU to enjoy and explore. I just finished my freshman year at ASU and am looking forward to reconnecting with friends when I return in the fall.

2.) What activities are you involved with in school?

I’m currently a member of the outdoor adventure and business law clubs at ASU and am looking forward to participating in intramural soccer next semester.

3.) Do you think having a means of transportation is necessary for college students?

Being able to transport quickly is definitely necessary for college students, particularly at a large campus like ASU where walking from corner to corner can take over 15 minutes.

4.) What is your preferred means of transportation, especially around the college campus?

I love skating around campus and between classes because it’s quick, fun, and more secure. I can bring my board inside with me without having to worry about locking it up like a bike.

5.) Why do you enjoy skateboarding?

Skateboarding can be a relaxing cruise or a high-speed adrenaline rush. The variety ensures that it’s always exiting.

6.) When did you first learn to skateboard and what sparked this interest?

I really started skateboarding while looking for a summer activity to replace snowboarding and found it to be a fun alternative. You can skate nearly anywhere that has sidewalks for free and it gives you a ton of freedom since you can get around faster and easier.

David conquering the slopes

7.) What tips do you have for people learning to skateboard?

Be patient and don’t give up! The best way to improve is by pushing yourself to try new things and get comfortable on a board.

8.) For the students who only walk to class, what do you have to say to them?

Grab yourself a skateboard, a set of Board Blazers, and get moving!

9.) Tell the readers some of your favorite benefits of skating.

Riding a board is a great way to relieve stress and have fun with friends. You can ride nearly anywhere and once you have your equipment it doesn’t cost a cent!

10.) Why do you think Board Blazers LED lights could heighten your riding experience?

Besides the fact that they look awesome, having lights under my board just makes a lot of sense. It increases nighttime visibility.

11.) What’s up next with your Board Blazers?

Going out tonight and showing off to my friends!

Whether you’re college student or the parent of an incoming freshman, we hope David was able to shed some light on shredding around campus. Connect with David on Facebook and comment below if you have any questions for him.

 

About The Author:

Yogin Patel HeadshotYogin Patel is a serial entrepreneur who currently attends Arizona State University. At the age of 16, Yogin became an independent marketing consultant, along with an avid blogger and online marketer. In the past year, Yogin has worked with several small businesses, including local restaurants, hotels, and personal brands. He builds clean websites, ranks businesses on the first page of Google, and manages social media for brands. In his free time, Yogin likes to read thought-provoking books and play basketball with friends. To learn more about Yogin, or to get in touch with him, go to YoginPatel.com, or add him on his LinkedIn. Yogin blogs at Doolid.com.


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