After many miles, three textbook chapters and five quizzes, it's safe to say senior Caroline Garcia made the most of her time studying on one of the Texas A&M library's new bike desks.
The communications major, who was studying in Sterling C. Evans Library on Wednesday, said not only was she happy with her productivity, but she even found the FitDesk Bike Desk to be more comfortable than its counterparts at the university's student recreation center.
The six stationary bike desks were installed and open for use Tuesday in three locations across the campus: Evans Library, the West Campus Library and the Medical Sciences Library. The adjustable units include an attached desk space, a water bottle holder and a ride computer to track the time, distance and calories burned during each session.
Jared Hoppenfeld, interim director of the West Campus Library, said at about $300 per unit, he is confident the bikes will be a good investment. He said not two minutes after installing the units at his library, a group of students had already gathered around to give them a try.
"I went downstairs to get the signs, and when I got back three students were taking pictures, sitting on it and asking me questions about the bikes," Hoppenfeld said.
He said in the first day of being installed, eight students responded to a voluntary online survey about the bikes and several indicated that they would be "more likely to come to the library to study if they could use the bike."
Garcia while she had been aware of the bike desks being installed at the West Campus Library, she had no idea they would be at Evans Library as well until she arrived Wednesday afternoon.
She said riding the bike while doing her school work made her feel more productive than just sitting at a table, while simultaneously saving her the time of heading to the gym for a workout afterward.
"I used to take books to walk on the treadmill, but those are not designed to hold a text book," Garcia said. "I'm very kinesthetic, so I'm much more productive if I'm moving."
Hoppenfeld said the bike desks are a part of a larger effort in the libraries to implement innovative strategies and technologies. As resources increasingly move online, Hoppenfeld said they are hoping the new opportunities help keep the libraries relevant.
"For a long time libraries were here to provide information, but that has changed formats over the years," Hoppenfeld said. "... It's not just about information now; the library as a place has evolved to include collaborative spaces and be more welcoming and open. [The bike desk] is just another innovative idea."
He said the idea for the bike desks first came about just over a year ago when a library staff member saw the units in the American Libraries magazine and suggested it as an idea for an innovative addition to their facilities with beneficial health implications. According to a study conducted at Clemson University, Hoppenfeld said the use of bike desks "led to improved information retention, sleep quality and academic performance."
Hoppenfeld said he and his colleagues have been pleased with the positive response the bikes have received over the past two days and has high hopes for their popularity when the new semester starts at the end of the month.
Garcia said now that she has had a hands-on opportunity with the bike desk, she is certain she will return.
"It was great," she said. "I'll definitely be back."