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Projects Updates for Topic: Campus Bike Center

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  1. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was fairly busy. We had a few days wherein there was extended waiting times for free stands. We had been averaging about 100 people in the space per week but this week we were at 117, and I’m sure there were half a dozen who we missed. As it nears the Great Student Migration we’ll see more and more visitors.

    Sales: Overall: $1,661.20; refurbished bikes: 6 for $860; Build-a-Bikes: 2 for $220; memberships: 4 for $120; tire/tubes (new and used): 20 for $117.

    On Friday a Bike Project volunteer and I went to the warehouse and picked up about 20 bikes for refurbishment, 3 of which were Neutral Cycle rental bikes that were mistakenly confiscated. I coordinated with their manager to return them. As I was leaving the warehouse two college-aged kids walked up asking if they could “get a bike for $10”. It was a little suspicious.

    This week I will process and hopefully build up a lot of the bikes we pulled from the warehouse. With more and more people returning to campus, demand for bikes is ramping up. On the one hand, when we are low on for-sale bikes, it curbs the entitled customer corporate/retail space idea that a lot of people have when they come here. On the other hand, less bikes available for people who want to ride is definitely a bad thing.

    I plan to deactivate our “One Free Visit For One Small Repair” policy this week, as demand for stands and space is approaching its yearly zenith. This was successful last year and was agreed upon at the last Bike Project meeting. I’ll reinstate One Free Visit sometime in October when we are no longer operating beyond capacity.

    Sincerely,

    - Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  2. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was pretty relaxed. We only had 87 visitors into the space. Our sales were: $1,072 (overall); refurbed bikes: 5 for $640; memberships: 5 for $150; tires/tubes (new & used): 9 for $38.

    This week I have a meeting with a prospective student employee. I will also scrap the deluge of bikes that have been donated. Last week we received at least a dozen junk frames/broken bikes. A rare few of these bikes are salvageable, unfortunately. I will build bikes and continue to organize, clean, and otherwise prepare for the deluge of returning students in the coming weeks.

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  3. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was slow at the beginning every day of the week but by around 4pm things would pick up drastically and we’d be “All Stands Full” for the last hour or so. I used to blame the uptick around 4pm on class schedules but it’s summer so now I have no idea why we get busier then.

    Visitors count was at 100 even (for the second week in a row, I believe).

    Total sales: $1,363.10; refurbished bike sales: 3 for $430; Build-a-Bikes: 3 for $250; memberships: 11 for $330; consumables (cables/housing, tires/tubes): 27 between the four of those, totaling $85.10.

    Last week was the conclusion of having Kameron, the high school student, helping here at the CBC. He really warmed up to being here, I think (or so I tell myself) and was much more comfortable organizing and sorting small esoteric bike parts than doing anything bigger like stripping or building up bicycles.

    On  Friday I made a bike run to the warehouse and picked up 10 bikes. I saw a great number of decent and capable commuter bikes, dotted amongst the majority of WalMart-level junk. It was good to get an injection of new bike blood into the crop of bikes available here.

    I also put the final touches on the ECS bike share bikes and outfitted them with baskets.

    This week I will process and build some of the new bikes as demand for for-sale bikes is increasing. I have begun to hear back from returning student staffers about possible scheduling, which is helpful, so I will continue to plan for that.  

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  4. Weekly Update

    All, last week was a little hectic. The keyboard broke for the sign-in computer, leaving us with only pen and paper to track visitors. It was fixed by the end of the week, which was good. They also replaced my damaged monitor, keyboard, and mouse. (Thanks, IT!) It was also so hot on Friday that I experimented with keeping the garage doors closed, and while that sounds worse, it was in reality a better experience: less sun reflecting off the driveway, and we cranked the fans to simulate the air movement. It got to 91° inside but everyone seemed okay with it. I filled the water cooler with ice water, too, and that helped.

    Our visitor numbers, including the paper sheets: 100 for the week. Sales: $1,110.60 total in sales; 5 refurbished bikes for $745; zero B-a-Bs; 3 memberships for $90; 13 tires/tubes (used and new) for $56.  
    Late last week Scott, from Parking, stopped by to discuss the bicycle warehouse situation: he’s got 540 or so bikes in the warehouse. He tagged 1,300 for removal. So almost 800 bikes were removed from the tagging period to the confiscation period. That’s pretty good! And it made me feel a little better about the abandoned bike problem on campus. I will be in touch with him this week to go cherry-pick the good bikes out of the warehouse and get a better idea of what’s in there.

    I replaced the Altgeld fix-it pump hose again, which is at least the second or third time I’ve had to do this since we’ve upgraded. It is unfortunately the kind of damage, I think, that could easily be avoided with a little more care by users. But short of a some kind of massive public awareness campaign, there’s no changing people’s attitudes towards simple, free, outdoor machines like that.

    This week I will coordinate with Scott from parking for a warehouse visit, direct Kameron (the H.S. student) on morning volunteer tasks, build bikes, and continue to work on student scheduling for the impending Fall semester.

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  5. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was abbreviated: first by the weather on Wednesday (95° was the afternoon high, so I did not have open hours for safety reasons); and then on Friday as I was out of town for my  grandmother’s funeral. We only totaled 62 visitors for the week. Sales were $368 net for the week. We didn’t sell any refurbished bikes. We sold one build-a-bike for $43; four memberships for $120; 10 tires/tubes (used/new) for $41.

    This week I plan to build more bikes, organize parts with Kameron (the high school student), and work on scheduling for the Fall semester. It projects to be very hot the tail end of the week so I will explore options and ways of trying to keep the Bike Center from being dangerously hot so we don’t have to shutter the doors again.

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  6. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week felt on the slow side but I suspect that is a false memory, as our visitor numbers were at 102. That’s about on par for this time of year.

    Sales for the week were: $795.50 overall; one refurbed bike ($210); one B-a-B ($41); one family and three standard memberships ($155); and 21 tires/tubes ($136).  Also of note: $94 in lock sales.

    Last week I had Kameron, the high schooler, come in again. He has really taken to organizing and his efforts are paying off. The shop is overall still a mess, but the small parts are being meticulously organized which helps everyone find what they’re looking for—used parts-wise—that much faster. He will be joining me a couple days this week in the mornings as well.

    We had another Friday Community Ride organized by the student staffers. It went well; we rode to the Urbana First Friday event.

    This week I plan to process the donations we received over the weekend here, work with Kameron in the mornings on organizing and scrapping some of the junk that is cluttering up the space, and build more bikes.

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  7. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was uneventful—in a good way. People came, worked on their bikes and/or purchased one, and then left. We had 123 visitors. We netted $1,226.60. We sold: 5 bikes for $640; 1 Build-a-Bike for $84; 6 memberships for $180; 16 tires/tubes/wheels for $111.

    Last week we had what felt like a surplus of volunteers—and inexperienced ones at that. I think at one point there were 8 people in the shop, all staff/volunteers. I will have to do a better job of creating manageable tasks for unskilled labor.

    One longtime member of the Bike Project came by last week to bid farewell, as he got a job in Washington state. He was very thankful for what we do at CBC/TBP and expressed concern over finding a place in Washington as nice and helpful as we are. In parting, he donated some nice studded winter tires since, as he said, it doesn’t snow in the pacific northwest.

    This week I will tackle establishing a manageable system for organizing the pile of bikes in the back. I think sorting by “Starting Price” would be useful, since that is always the first question asked. It would speed up the process and save me some of the anxiety of people pawing around in a potentially dangerous pile of bikes. This week, I will also create more zero-bike-knowledge tasks that volunteers can accomplish without me having to explain the esoterica of bike “standards”. And, of course, bikes will be built.

    Sincerely,

    Jake Benjamin

    Campus Bike Center Manage

  8. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was the first steadily and surely busy week we’ve had this summer. Within the first hour or so we were at capacity stand-wise all five days last week. We had 119 visitors and there were probably a dozen or so more people that we missed.

    Our sales for the week: Grossed $799.50; sold 10 memberships for $300; one refurbished bike for $50; 21 tires/tubes (new and used) for $113. While those numbers belie the visitors count, we did have a good amount of used cables/parts sales, indicating a healthy usage of the space that simply doesn’t translate into high dollar amounts. It probably didn’t help that most of our medium-sized stock of refurbished bikes has already sold out, leaving our small and large bikes only. That will be a focus for the coming week as far as shop builds are concerned.

    Last Friday we had the Full Moon Bicycle Ride, a community social ride that I heavily advertised and promoted—so much so that a few people thought the Bike Project/University was sponsoring it. Rough conservative estimates tallied 160 or so people, so it was probably closer to 200. It was an affirming experience to see so many people coming out for such an event and really speaks to the strong presence of cycling in Champaign-Urbana. I lost count of how many people I recognized as visitors to the Campus Bike Center. Impressive, too, was how many folks were not decked out in full-on cycling gear but instead riding commuter-level bikes in the same clothes in which you’d walk your dog. That speaks strongly to the normalization of riding a bicycle and a good sign for the growth of the mode share.

    The temperature is projected to be in the 90s all week and so I will bring out the big water cooler, fill it with ice and be diligent in telling all visitors to stay hydrated while here. I will build more medium-sized bikes this week as well as continue to free up space by scrapping more old and abused-beyond-repair bikes and parts.

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  9. Weekly Update

    All, last week we totaled 99 visitors to the Campus Bike Center (I blame the rain). Our sales were at $1,104. We sold one Build-a-Bike; three refurbished bikes for $570; five memberships for $150; $102  in tires/tubes; and $93 in locks.

    Beyond the numbers, last week was a doozy! We had Bike To Work Day on Tuesday and it was a great success. While I haven’t heard any official numbers, I estimated about 50 or so people at our station. There were 400 official registrants online as of 6am the morning of BTWD. And of course, the chilly and windy weather probably kept a few people home. Lorenzo, a CBC staffer, was interviewed for a Fox Illinois news piece during the event.

    On Wednesday we had a CBC staff meeting/pizza party. 7/8ths of the CBC student staffers were able to make it and we had a  good discussion and reflection on the experiences of working at the Campus Bike Center and how we can improve looking towards the future of the Center.


    On a sad note, Friday I got news that staffer extraordinaire Logan will not be able to work at the CBC this summer, as he’s taking a job up in Minnesota. I will have to scramble a bit to find his replacement (an impossible task, given his skills and familiarity with the Center).

    This week I will be interviewing for summer help, building bikes, checking on our Housing donation racks, and juggling all the weird finals scheduling mess that throws off everyone’s normal shifts for working here.

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  10. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was oddly slow at times. We had 110 visitors.  We grossed $956.60. We sold eight memberships for $275; one refurbished bike for $70; one build-a-bike for $96;  and $144 in tires/tubes.

    Last week I prepped for Bike To Work Day, attended a Bike Project Meeting, built bikes and helped organize an end-of-semester lunch get-together for CBC staffers and the TDM team. I spoke with a Parking employee and he expressed a great interest and appreciation for the Housing bike rack program and as of last week we’ve got one donated bike, but again, it’s still well before graduation.  

    I have been getting a lot of questions about summer hours at the Campus Bike Center, which is a little disconcerting for our publicity and visibility on campus. But then again, can’t fault people for being on the academic calendar at a University.

    On this week’s agenda is Bike To Work Day, which promises to be a great day for sustainability and healthfulness! This week will also be the last official BikeFace-operated Friday Ride. While hopefully they will continue in some fashion, they will no longer be organized and put on by BikeFace UIUC.

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager

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