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Projects Updates for Topic: Campus Bike Center

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  1. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last Monday we had the bike warehouse move out event on Monday. As I mentioned last week, we moved out about 317 bikes. Some of the bikes we kept and moved back to the CBC have already been claimed as build-a-bikes, which is great. The rest will be cleared out at a TBD date.

    Belatedly announcing this but: Lily and I and Amy tabled at an event at the Union on October 5th.  It was a University employee expo of sorts. The very first person I spoke with was misinformed about safe passing distance for cars, something I was able to correct. It was a welcomed change and challenge to inform a lot of vehicular road users about how to interact with bicyclists and pedestrians, considering all the gripes I heard from employees about walkers and bikers—as most employees drive to work from out of town (or at least the ones I spoke with do). I was also pleased to see a lot of familiar faces of people that have visited the Campus Bike Center.

    This week is the bike census, happening on Wednesday. Hopefully we’ll get good weather and a good snapshot of the state of bicycle parking on campus.

    The numbers:

    Sales: $635.50

    Memberships: 13 for $390
    Bikes (Refurb): 0 for $0
    Bikes (B-a-b): 0 for $0
    Tires/tubes: 10 for $54

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  2. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, nothing major to report last week. Shop was open, people came in, same as usual. I coordinated with Working Bikes for our shipping event that happened yesterday. We packed up 317 bikes to go back to their warehouse in Chicago and then onto South Africa. There are still 67 bikes left that WB said they will return for later this fall. There is also a collection of the good bikes we are saving for ourselves. Those total about 50 or so.

    Our new policy of allowing for free used tubes hasn’t caused any problems. Maybe 5-10 people have taken us up on it. Surprisingly one person insisted on patching despite the free tube. That might change next Spring/Summer. It will also help to expedite peoples’ stand time, as it’s obviously quicker to grab a used tube than mess with patching.

    Tomorrow is the Bike Census. I will be helping Lily with that. I will also be shuttling the good bikes from the warehouse back to CBC and moving some over to the Urbana shop as well. CBC is currently packed to the gills with bikes.

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 91
    Sales (overall): $1,221.50

    Memberships: 11 for $330
    Bikes (refurb): 3 for $555
    Bikes (B-a-B): 0 for $0
    Tires/tubes: 18 for $132

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  3. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, the major news of last week was the Light The Night event. We installed roughly 870 light sets this year! We completely sold out, which is a first for me in the 4 or so years in which I’ve been involved with this event. With it still being warm out, I hope we can get some valuable feedback from people who’re using the lights in regards to which ones they like, how they’re performing, etc.

    Last week was also the Members’ Meeting for the Bike Project wherein it was decided that used tubes will henceforth be free of charge for in-shop repairs. While this will cut into profits, it is a better choice as we do not have the ability to maintain proper quality control with our used tube selection. If a person wants to buy a tube for later use, however, they must still pay for it.

    Late Friday I got a message from Working Bikes in regards to coordinating for emptying the Bike Warehouse. They would like to do the event next Monday (October 9th). I will discuss with the Bike Project and decide if this is doable.

    The numbers:

    Sales (overall): $867.95
    Memberships: 12 for $360

    Bikes (refurbished): 0
    Bikes (Build-a-Bike): 0
    Tires/Tubes: 26 for $180

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  4. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, The big event for last week was an unruly member who I had to kick out of the shop on Wednesday. Other than that, the week went smoothly.

    Lily and I tabled at the Volunteer Fair in the Union on Tuesday. We got a dozen or so signatures (maybe more?) for general volunteer interest in the Campus Bike Center and help with Light The Night.

    On Wednesday, I got a count of the bikes that we’ll be donating from the Bike Warehouse to Working Bikes. This year a portion of the bikes will be going to Houston to help with hurricane relief. Tally for the bikes was 332, give or take.  I will be coordinating with Working Bikes and Parking this week to finalize a date.

    This week is Light The Night on Tuesday. I will close the shop for the event. The signs for the event were dropped off on Friday.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 131
    Sales: $1,584.85
    Memberships:  24 for $720
    Bikes (Build-a-Bikes): 2 for $171
    Bikes (Refurbished): 0
    Tires/Tubes: 36 for $196

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  5. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week’s big news was the implementation of a new sign-in system that expedites the process and allows for better tracking of our members’ status (expired or current memberships). The new system scans membership cards, I-cards, and drivers’ licenses, tracks first visits, and requires zero interaction with a keyboard, saving minutes of valuable time and keeps things from bottlenecking at the entrance to the space when people are arriving. While there is a learning curve, those who’re familiar scan and record their visit in about 5 seconds as opposed to the usual 15-30 with our previous system.

    The program is still in development and kinks/concerns are addressed with the developer as they arise. The system does not track names, however, unless you are in our database system already. If that is a problem, as far as the University is concerned, please let me know so I can correct it.

    To the numbers:
    Visitors: 129
    Sales (overall): $2,200.20
    Bikes (refurb): 3 for $620Bikes (B-a-B): 3 for $304
    Memberships: 20 for $635
    Tires/Tubes: 40 for $208

    This week I will build bikes, attend a Volunteer Fair on Tuesday, and coordinate/organize for Light The Night. I anticipate continued high visitor numbers, as the weather continues its summer ways.

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  6. Weekly Update

    All, last week was fine. The student workers are getting into the swing of things. Those that were away for the summer are remembering how everything works and that in turn makes them a more helpful. Our suspension of “First Visit Free” has been received well; most people are amenable to the membership fee, even if they only have a very small repair. Only a couple instances of people complaining and they leave unhappy but on the whole I consider it a success. We’ve had a lot of people who’ve had to wait significantly for stand time even with the membership-required policy. It’s unfortunate, but also speaks to our success and the demand for the space. I’ll count it as a positive and a negative both.

    Visitors for the week: 154

    Last Friday we had a good-sized ride from the CBC totaling about 8 or so people. This time of year is especially well-suited for riding, which I hope translates to more interest.

    Last Tuesday was the first Fix-a-Flat class that Simon and Lily ran. From the both of them, it sounded like a success. This week 12-14 people have signed up, most appear to be grad students (not a bad thing).

    This week I will continue to publicize and talk up LTN as well as print off some basic text fliers for the event to hand out in advance. Funnily enough the younglings with their smartphones have been asking for fliers for the event! I’ll build bikes and organize, per usual, as well.


    Sales (overall): $1,533.10
    Bikes (refurb): 0 for $0 (we have two for sale!)
    Bikes (B-a-B): 2 for $143
    Memberships: 24 for $720
    Tire/Tubes: 47 for $283

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  7. Weekly Update

    All, last week was a blur! According to our sign-in data, we had 277 visitors. That seems high but numbers don’t lie. We were pretty much all-stands-full within the first half an hour. Unfortunately that means some members have had to wait for stands to work on their build-a-bikes. Nothing we can do about that, unfortunately.

    The numbers:
    Sales (overall): $1,867.60

    Bikes (refurbished): 1 for $180
    Bikes (B-a-B): 1 for $46
    Memberships: 26 for $780
    Tires/tubes: 47 for $244

    This week sees the beginning of the fix-a-flat class that Lily has shepherded into existence (Thanks, Lily!). I already have told people about that to much positive interest. There also is a community ride happening in the middle of the week that I will attend. I will also help with LTN preparations this week. A couple new student workers are starting this week, too, which will be good.

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  8. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was—according to the visitor numbers—an unprecedentedly busy week. According to our tracker for visitors we had 239 people into the shop last week. I pored over the list of visitors and cut down two duplicate sign-ins from the original 241, but other than that the numbers bear out: we averaged about 50 sign-ins per day. Most must have been those looking for bikes and since we’re sold out, moved on quickly, because the shop never felt unbearably busy.

    Sales: Overall: $1,865.70; refurbished bikes: 3 for $440; B-a-Bs: 3 for $199; memberships: 17 for $510; tires/tubes: for 31 for $147.

    Yesterday was Quad Day. I think it went very well. We handed out bike registration flyers and successfully registered a few people’s bikes thanks to the iPad Lily brought. I will be interested to see how many people show up for registration stickers this week (hopefully a lot). Most people did not realize it was required to register your bike on campus.

    On Friday, Lily, Scott (from Parking), Officer Briggs from UIPD and I had a meeting to discuss theft and removal of abandoned bikes on campus. We will have a follow up meeting at a TBD date to discuss ways to streamline removal of abandoned bikes without advertising that fact to thieves and the like as well as how to better educate students about bike registration and locking technique.

    This week I will build bikes, have volunteers count and sort all the Light The Night light sets, and attend the TBP member meeting. I will brainstorm ways to expedite the registration sticker procurement process here at CBC, as last week we had a long line of people who didn’t understand (despite many announcements) that they could do the majority of the registration process on their phones beforehand.

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  9. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, most notable thing last week: Everyone was very good about leaving in a timely manner. Two or three times the stands were empty and staff were cleaning up with a solid 10 minutes left for open hours. That was a pleasant surprise.

    The bulk of the LTN lights arrived last week. I will have a volunteer this week get a tally on total units received. Todd, TBP volunteer, came and picked up scrap on short notice, which was very helpful.

    Sales were good. Overall: $1,163.50; 2 refurbished bikes for $310; 3 B-a-Bs for $174; 6 memberships for $180; and 12 tires/tubes (used and new) for $131.

    This week I will build bikes, work on organization, and did I mention building bikes? There has been a strong demand for them. And while I love selling bikes, the retention rate on B-a-Bs is getting better, I think. The majority still abandon them but there have been a considerable number of people who stick with it and express an enjoyment and interest in working on bikes because of it. That’s a win in my book.

    This week I will also meet with Parking and UIPD about abandoned bikes on campus.

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  10. 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

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