Students prepare to take off on a guided bike trip from Glen House.

Campus activities may look a bit different this semester, but students interested in exploring the nearby outdoors can still enjoy the Mohawk Valley, thanks to new bike borrowing and guided ride opportunities.

“When the word came that there would be no travel off-campus … everything changed for the Outdoor Leadership Program,” said program director Andrew Jillings. Many students will miss going off the Hill to participate in sports competitions, Hamilton Outing Club-led hikes, or even nearby trips to go apple picking,” Jillings said. “[But] we’re lucky; we’ve got amazing opportunities right here. Two of the obvious ones are hiking and biking.”

The Glen House currently has 10 road bikes, seven mountain bikes, and five fat-tire bikes that are generally used for XA (Exploration Adventure) orientation trips but are now available every day of the week. Hamilton community members can borrow them by visiting the bike loaner sheet on the Outing Club page.     

Jillings and the student leaders are also leading guided group rides. Hans Wydler ’21, a bike trip leader who helped organize the program, said they are offering opportunities for people with all skill levels.  Sign-ups for guided group rides can also be accessed through the Outing Club webpage. Rides are listed with level of difficulty, as well as the expected number of miles, to help participants choose the right ride for them. There is great interest in the guided trips, with waiting lists filling up.

Beginning bikers have a lot to gain from the program. Wydler said leaders are “working to provide resources for people to learn the basics and then go on their own.” Signing up for a guided ride is one way to learn the basics on more specialized bikes. In addition, Jillings and student leaders are offering beginner trail skills and easy trail ride options. The skills park behind Minor Field offers opportunities to brush up on mountain biking skills before hitting the trails. For those with some biking experience, the team is also suggesting biking routes and tips to adjust to different types of bikes.

For students who enjoy exploring campus and being outdoors, keep an eye out for Glen hikes organized by HOC leaders in the coming week.

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