The Best Ways to Get Around Ball State’s Campus

To bike, skate or ride? A guide to shopping for the right set of wheels for your commute around Ball State

Students ride long boards, skateboards, and boosted boards around Ball State University’s campus. Jacob Haberstroh,DN
Students ride long boards, skateboards, and boosted boards around Ball State University’s campus. Jacob Haberstroh,DN

Trying to get from one side of campus to another in a short amount of time can be a challenge when you’re late for class or a meeting. On any given weekday, students will zip around campus on scooters, bikes, hoverboards, longboards and more. If you’ve ever considered buying your own set of wheels to bypass the foot traffic, here are three things you should consider when you step into the store. 

  • Price

For college students who are running on tight budgets, a skateboard or a longboard are cost effective choices, ranging from $35 to $70 dollars depending on the brand. Some brands include the Alamada Skateboard from Retrospec. Skateboards can increase in price significantly based on the style and quality of the deck, board the rider stands on and quality and longevity of the wheels.

Adult-size kick scooters are pricier, ranging from $60 to $120, such as the Razor Carbon Kick Scooter from Walmart, but have a variety of options and adjustments for riders’ heights.

Hoverboards, like the Hover-1 Ranger Hoverboard, fall into an average price of  $100 to $200. Bikes can be priced anywhere between $100 to over $600 depending on the size of the bike frame, wheels and special additions such as reflectors, lights and mounts for phones.

Electric scooters can be just as expensive, ranging from $150 to $500. For instance, the Apex Electric Scooter by GOTRAX costs $349. 

  • Man Power vs. Battery Power

A bike is a good choice for those who are looking for daily exercise. If you don’t think you have the leg power and coordination to ride a manual kick scooter or a skateboard, consider buying a hoverboard or an electric scooter. These battery-powered options are generally faster and require the rider to do little operation other than pressing a handle or a pedal.

Most electric scooters can reach up to 20 mph, while many razor hoverboards have speeds from about 6-8 mph, making it easy to zip through campus in minutes. However, forgetful students should be wary. If you forget to charge your scooter or hoverboard, you may have to ride the bus to class or worse: walk. 

Sophomore Brock Ellis rides his skateboard to class everyday, but he’s considering buying an electric scooter over purchasing a bike. 

“Electric scooters are similar to skateboards but faster and not leg powered,” Ellis said. “But electric scooters just got popular … and I already have [the skateboard], and I have a lot of fun riding it.” 

However, junior Lars Arceneaux rides his bike down McKinley Avenue daily because he said he doesn’t have the coordination to skateboard, and he has concerns about scooters.

“There are the razor [kick] scooters, and they're a bit slower than a bike,” Arcenaux said. “I feel like electric scooters are a bit much. I don’t want to have to deal with having to charge them, plus the bike gives me a good workout.” 

  • Storage

Some of these options are easier to store than others. Skateboards, foldable scooters and hoverboards can fit in spaces as small as a closet or under a bed.  Carrying those into class, however, could make walking down aisles of desks more difficult when trying to keep them with you.

If you're interested in purchasing a bike, there may be additional costs to make sure you still have a bike when you go to retrieve it the next day. Bike locks, such as the “U-Locks” recommended by University Police, are useful for the bike racks located outside dorms and academic buildings.

However, if it rains or snows, one might have to dry off their bike before going to class. Ball State also provides bike lockers outside residence halls, such as Studebaker West, Noyer, Park, Kinghorn and Anthony Apartments for a $50 fee at the beginning of the academic school year. 

  • Safety

After choosing the best option for you, don’t forget to think about safety. Make sure you find a proper fitting helmet before you start riding at high speeds. Also, being aware of your surroundings and giving verbal cues to pedestrians is very helpful in preventing accidents on a sidewalk of bustling students. Quick and smart navigation is a part of safety. 

By considering all of these factors when purchasing your new set of wheels, you’ll be ready to hit the pavement. 

Contact Imani Butts with comments at or on Twitter @imani_butts.


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