Auburn Outdoors is an adventure-based education program providing numerous avenues for outdoor recreation. It offers adventure trips, indoor climbing and weekly events on and off campus. Programs include backpacking, paddling, climbing, biking, a rental shop, bike shop and more.
Bethany Foust, senior in geospatial and environmental informatics and rental shop manager, shared what all is being offered to students during the pandemic and what is currently closed.
“We offer a free bike shop to all students and members of the Recreation and Wellness Center,” Foust said. The bike shop is a great resource for people to learn about their bikes and get help fixing them. We have specially trained bike technicians on shift that offer one-on-one help to educate members so that they have the knowledge and tools for repairs in the future.”
The bike shop remains open so students who have problems with their bikes can still access this resource on campus. If students have problems with their bikes, they can still get them fixed within the Rec.
“Some of the services include filling tires with air, tube replacement, wheel truing, break adjustments and general maintenance,” Foust said. “If students don’t have their own bikes, we have mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrid bikes, helmets, bike gloves and bike locks available for rental.”
Students do not have to own bikes to go into the bike shop. The shop also offers rentals to students who want to rent a bike for a few days to try one before making the decision to buy one. Students who do own bikes can buy protective equipment within the shop as well. The rental shop also offers other equipment.
“The rental shop offers day, weekend and week rates for rental equipment and any other gear needed for an outdoor adventure,” Foust said. “The staff can help students pick out all the gear needed for their dream camping, hiking or backpacking trip. Bike techs and rental shop staff have great recommendations for where to take gear for all activities as well.”
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Items for rent include tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, Eno hammocks, stoves, fly fishing rods, kayaks, canoes and paddle boards.
The staff of Auburn Outdoors hope to keep all rentals available to students during the pandemic, Foust said, so they are taking extreme sanitizing precautions after every rental.
“Due to COVID-19, we’re only allowed to let one member in the shop at a time, but this allows us to intentionally serve each member the best we can,” she said. “The bike shop offers one bike station inside and two separate bike stations located outside of the rental shop. We also deep clean all the gear once it is returned to us and keep in protocol with social distancing and wearing masks.”
Though the Auburn Outdoors office will stay open, it has limited capacity and shorter operating hours. While staff are following safety guidelines, there are things that they cannot leave open this semester, Foust said.
“Unfortunately, our beloved climbing wall ... is not currently open,” she said. “Our trip program, which is usually open to all students and features camping trips, climbing trips, guided bike rides to Side Track in Opelika ... is not running this semester either. We’re working hard behind the scenes to hopefully be able to offer these experiences to the student body soon.”
Foust said the climbing wall is hard to keep regularly sanitized, and the events are difficult to host because of the number of students that usually participate. There are some new programs Auburn Outdoors is offering this semester to make up for those lost.
“We are offering our Explore More Program, which allows members to meet with professional staff to plan their perfect trip,” Foust said. “We equip people with gear, itinerary, maps and the knowledge of how to truly explore the outdoors. Another event we have weekly is disc golf, [hosted] 3–5 p.m every Wednesday at the Red Barn. And if students are interested in learning about bikes, we are running our Intro to Road Biking workshop.”
Auburn Outdoors is located downstairs at the Recreation and Wellness Center. Hours for the bike shop this semester are 12–6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
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