Written by Tiane Davis // Photo by Macy Cox
With the start of spring comes the increase of fun outdoor activities such as biking, camping and hiking. HU Outdoors, a program started by professor of kinesiology J.D. Yingling, offers free outdoor equipment to anyone with a student ID.
Junior Collin Sewell, one of the students who works for HU Outdoors, said they offer an array of equipment, including tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, hammocks, cooking sets, hiking backpacks, head lamps and several yard games for tailgating or club events.
“It is super high quality, and not to mention, it’s free,” Sewell said. “It is so awesome to have the opportunity to go and camp and experience the outdoors for free, as well as being able to help others experience the outdoors.”
Sewell said he works with sophomores Lydia Radke, Caleb Johnson and Darcy Durden. He said the program started last semester when Yingling collected donations from alumni and faculty, but its popularity has risen since the weather became more pleasant in the past few weeks.
“I just really want to thank all the faculty and members of the community who have donated and given to this program, as well as professor Yingling for all the work that he has put into Harding Outdoors,” Sewell said.
HU Outdoors recently added tandem bicycles to its inventory, and Sewell said they have been very popular this spring.
“People have been loving riding them in the spring weather, as well as our brand new kayaks,” Sewell said.
Sophomore Gillian Hinckley said she rented out the tandem bike with her boyfriend in February. She said it was difficult to get used to riding on the back seat, since she had no control over the steering.
“It was a little scary, because all I could see was his back, so I didn’t know where we were going to go, but eventually he started calling out the directions,” Hinckley said. “I also think I had it easier, so I wouldn’t trade it.”
Hinckley said it was fun to see people they knew while they were riding around campus.
“It was funny because some people had really good reactions and were smiling, and some pointed at us,” Hinckley said. “Some people just looked shocked to see us. I would do it again, though, 100%.”
Hinckley said it was a great way to spend time with her boyfriend in a unique way. She said she would recommend it to anyone.
“I would suggest that everyone takes this opportunity to use the tandem bikes,” Hinckley said. “It’s a super fun experience that you can just take a hold of right now for free.”
Junior Regan McClure said she rented a tandem bike with junior Gracie Hamlett, and they try to rent it out every Tuesday with friends. She said students are allowed to rent equipment out for a week at a time.
“It was the perfect spring experience,” McClure said. “It was one of the first warm days of the semester, and it was so sweet and silly to see everyone on the front lawn while we rode by.”