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Campus Christians minister runs free-of-charge bike service to give PSU students a means to get around

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For more than 30 years, Don Smith has supplied a big demand on campus: two wheels.  

He fixes up old bikes and loans them to students. The cost is minimal: just a $35 deposit that students get back when they return the bike.

It's certainly a busy operation.

"Student's some here everyday," said Smith.

Spend just a few minutes in his workshop, and it starts to feel like a hostel.

"Well you know, international students come to Pitt state and they need transportation around town," said Smith.

Take Elodie, for instance. The native of France has visited smith several times.

"When you are an international student, you don't have lots of money to spend on a bike," said Elodie Rhami. "Here you can have it. And Don is really nice."

And there's Roque, a Brazilian who spends part of his time out of the classroom helping Smith oil, tighten, inflate, you name it.

"He's a really really nice man and he's been helpful," said Roque Ventura.

You don't have to be from another county, or even be a student, to reap the benefits of Smith's service. Charles Heioig looks to Smith to fix his own bike.

"It's a lot better than go to, like, Broadway, and paying so much money to get it fixed."

The job isn't really a job for Smith, but more of a way to give back and help others. But that's not to say there aren't challenges.  

"Unfortunately some bikes are stolen," said Smith. "That's become a community problem in fact. Or some bikes, just, never come back."

Smith started off this school year with a waiting list of more than 50 people.

He's whittled it down, he says, but there's always a need for donations, parts and volunteers; anything to keep the wheels turning and the students moving on campus.

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