20 bucks well spent

Castleton University student Cameron Wilks with his tricked out mountain bike with a motor and gas tank. Now, he rides around campus zooming past students walking to class. Photo by Mike Buonocore.  

Walking to class is no fun and everyone knows it. On this campus, it’s usually a minimum five-to-10-minute trek to class, depending on where you live.

Cameron Wilks solved that issue in a unique way.

“It didn’t run when I bought it,” said Wilks, a freshman at Castleton.

He rides his old school Cannondale mountain bike to class daily. But this isn’t your normal bike that you bring to school to get around campus. His bike has a motor mounted on it to spin the tires instead of using his legs.

“I just look over and I’m like, yeah you wish you had this,” Wilks said when describing his journeys to class. He said the bike reaches speeds of up to 30 miles per hour under the right circumstances.

“It runs better when it’s cold,” he said.

He bought the bike this summer from someone who just really needed the money.

“The guy wanted $40, I walked up to him and said well it doesn’t run. I’ll give you 20 bucks right now. And he goes, ‘all I wanted was a pack of cigarettes and some gas so that’ll work,’” Wilks said.

With those 20 bucks, he’s made quite the name for himself on campus.

“As a car enthusiast, I love the crap out of that thing,” said student Manny Rentumis. “Not all heroes wear capes. Some are lazy and smarter than others who just walk. Some ride a jimmy-rigged hot rod bike.”

Rentumis isn’t the only student who has noticed the bike ripping around campus.

“I was walking to class earlier this year and heard something with a motor coming up behind me and honestly thought it was just a weed whacker,” said student Olivia DeCell, “Then a kid on a bike came flying by me.”

This isn’t the only motorized vehicle Wilks owns.

“I own a 2003 KTM 200 SX,” he said.

That is a full on dirt bike, which would be even more amusing for him and other students if he were to ride it to class.

“We ride two-up on it all the time,” he said, referring to having two people on the bike. “It’s basically just two bolts with nuts on the ends,” he added, describing what he calls “redneck foot pegs.”

With winter approaching, Wilks began talking about riding the bike when it’s cold.

“It gets really cold while riding it, like going fast, especially with no wind breaker. It’s just straight through the sweatshirt,” he said.

But he plans to winterize the bike with some studded snow tires so that the cold winter months don’t stop his quick commutes to class.

“I have 20 bucks in to it. If someone steals it, if someone breaks my lock, oh well, have fun, but they couldn’t really ride it around. I’m the only person here with one,” he said with a smile.

“It’s the best 20 bucks I ever spent.”

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