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Projects Updates for Topic: Campus Bike Center

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  1. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, this past week was comfortably slow. Sold out of bikes.

     

    I reached out to Working Bikes about them coming down to pick up bikes but haven’t heard back yet. Will follow up this week.

     

    I’ll also be picking up bikes from UIPD and processing them. I got a report that the pump at Altgeld/Union is on the fritz. I’ll check that out this week and see if I can get it operational without ordering any new parts. Fingers crossed.

     

    Tuesday morning I’ll be meeting with someone from the Illini Gadget Garage. They do a very similar thing to the Bike Center, except with electronics/small appliances: teaching people how to repair them.  

     

    Thursday is LTN 2018. We’ve got a record number of lights to install this year!

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 116
    Sales: $1,086

    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $180
    Bikes (B-a-B): 2 for $97.50
    Memberships: 17 for $510
    Tires/tubes: 23 for $153

     

    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  2. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, this past week calmed down a bit. We were still busy but manageably so instead of overwhelmed. Friday’s heavy and constant rain kept visitor number low for that day. Last week I interviewed and will be hiring a new student worker. I reached out to Working Bikes about them taking a lot of our abandoned bikes as in years past but I haven’t heard back from them yet.

     

    I taught a Bike Maintenance 101 class last Monday. It went well, even if there was  low turnout. I picked up 12 bikes or so from UIPD. They’ve got another 10 – 12 for us and I’ll coordinate with them this week on that. I’ll also be finishing up some bikes so we have a few for sale, stripping some of the junkers that we got from UIPD and working on inventory as we look towards fall.

     

    The numbers:

     

    Sales: $1,586.00

    Memberships: 11 for $330
    Bikes (refurb): 4 for $695
    Bikes (B-a-B): 2 for $104.50

    Tires/tubes: 14 for $112

     

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  3. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, busy, busy week, as it always is this time of year. A few members completed their B-a-Bs, sold more memberships due to the suspension of the First Visit Free policy. Very few instances of people scoffing at the price/cost of entry, as most understood that a membership is a darn good deal. At its worst we had 10 people waiting for stand time.  


    One of the student workers, Tovah, gave her 2 weeks’ notice last week, as her class schedule is too demanding for her to also work here. I’ll be interviewing/hiring a replacement ASAP.

     

    Todd helped out with picking up scrap over the weekend and Barry got the sign-in computer up and running (though it could die at any moment). Lucas and Logan (former staffers both) visited the shop on Friday and ended up volunteering, which was super awesome of them. Thanks to all four gentlemen for their help!

     

    This week I’ve got the Bike Maintenance 101 class tonight at the ARC. I’ll be building bikes (2 for sale right now), coordinating with UIPD to pick up some donated bikes they have for us, and reaching out to Working Bikes and the Parking Dept. about our annual Bike Warehouse Clean Out.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 83 (actual number was much higher; sign-in computer was down)

    Sales: $1,891.50

    Memberships: 21 for $630
    Bikes (refurb): 4 for $520
    Bikes (B-a-B): 3 for $246.50
    Tire/tubes: 27 for $136

     

    Thanks!

    - Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  4. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, busy times have arrived! We’ve mostly sold out of bikes (4 left), and been registering bikes like crazy. With a dearth of for sale bikes, we’ve got an uptick of B-a-Bs, for better or worse. The tail end of last week I officially suspended the First Visit Free option for the Campus Bike Center. Just too busy to accommodate freebies. I’ll reinstate FVF when it calms down, usually in October. I’ll add that info to the website today.

    Last week featured a lot of stern talking-tos with members about the concept of not being allowed to work on your bike without a stand. There’s a lot of pushback on it and I’ll attempt this week to emphasis the safety aspect and maybe that’ll help.

     

    Over the weekend were two outreach events: Quad Day and Illini Frenzy. Both were well-attending and well-received! I handed out a lot of registration forms and TBP hours pages.

    This week I’ll be interviewing for a potential new hire, building bikes, attending the Bike Project monthly meeting, and stripping the junk bikes we got donated last week to keep the shop as clean as I can during the busy times.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 123

    Sales: $1,677.00

    Bikes (refurb): 6 for $960
    Memberships: 8 for $240
    Tires/tubes: 19 for $83

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  5. Weekly Update

    All, this past week began to show the signs of student life. Shop got busy, we sold a bike-a-day (it felt like) and I think probably three or so B-a-Bs were started. It helped too that construction on Pennsylvania is finally completed—in fact, I got to witness sharrows were being striped and new “Share The Road” signs being installed. It was heartening!  Andy (Campus Rec IT) and Alana (Boss) came by on Wednesday to assess the IT/computer situation. More on that as it develops. Unfortunately, the very next day the Mac computer that we use for sign-in went on the fritz. It currently shuts down halfway through  booting up. Old pen and paper to the rescue! Not ideal but it gets the job done.

     

    This week I’ll aim for 5 new shop builds for the sales floor, rough draft a schedule for the student workers (potentially including some morning shifts), and continue to feed the dumpster. I polled the student staff on morning shifts and they’re interested; the extra help would be safer for me and getting new staff better acquainted with the shop and repairs when it’s not open hours will only help. This week I’ll also get a staff guide on opening/closing procedures written up to help formalize that process for the current and future newbie staff.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 100
    Sales: $1,594.10

    Memberships: 8 for $240
    Bikes (refurb): 5 for $810
    Bikes (B-a-B): 1 for $71

    Tires/tubes: 20 for $110

     

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  6. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All,

    Last week was a whirlwind of cleaning and reorganizing. On Monday afternoon a large dumpster was dropped off and on Tuesday a bunch of new furniture and cabinets came. The old furniture and cabinets went into the dumpster and the new stuff has been put in its place. On Friday a new big metal work table was dropped off to replace the smaller, broken, and less effective one. Overall, the shop is still in progress but will look a lot better shortly. Unfortunately, on Friday and over the weekend, we got 4 more bike donations, which is counterproductive as far as a clean shop is concerned but they’re good bikes that we can get

    In moving some of the computer stuff to the new desk some cables got plugged in incorrectly and this caused a major headache for the IT dept and the Bike Project. A large thanks to Barry and the two guys from F&S IT who helped right the ship.  

     

    Despite the continued construction on Pennsylvania, we were jam-packed for an hour on Thursday. We still haven’t been so busy as to require the suspension of the Free Visit policy. I’ll gauge how busy it is today and go from there.

     

    Last week I ordered the lights for LTN 2018. They should be here Wednesday.

     

    This week I will finish up the dumpster-required work and spiffy up some more. We’re starting to sell bikes on the regular and thusly stock is starting to dwindle (this is good!)  so I’ll finish up a few more shop builds this week, too.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 65

    Sales: $1,056.25

    Memberships: 7 for $210
    Bikes (refurb): 3 for $455
    Tire/tubes: 12 for $73

    Thanks!

     

    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  7. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week seemed to pick up towards the end of the week. We had to herd people out of the shop at 5:30. Even with the street closure, people are managing to find us. I’ve taken the sandwich board sign off the trike and placed it next to the garage door facing east since most of our traffic is coming from that side nowadays. I’ll reconstruct the trike and start using it again once Pennsylvania is reopened.

     

    This week I’ll be bringing the student staff in during the mornings to help clean and purge since we’ll be getting a pan dumpster and some new furniture. The disruption won’t affect open hours, as most of the cleaning will be in the back end of the shop anyway. We’ve got a dumpster here until Friday, so the staff and I should be able to concentrate all the cleaning to the mornings and have things back to functional order in time for open hours.

     

    I think either this week or next I will be suspending First Visit Free. This past week it was already affecting usage/stand availability for members. I’ll put a bulletin on the Bike Project website alerting people to that fact when I institute it.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 79

    Sales: $468.00

    Memberships: 2 for $60.
    Bikes (Refurb): 1 for $170
    Bikes (B-a-B): 1 for $56
    Tire/tubes: 10 for $50

     

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  8. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, had a strong and busy finish to the end of last week. I think the student population is making its way back in advance of the new academic year.

     

    Last week I ordered the light sets for Light The Night, although a snag has just been brought to my attention. I spoke to the customer service representative at Dero on Friday and beyond his giddy reaction to the squirrel problem, he told me that they have on-order a new all-metal pump head that will withstand all the abuse (and squirrels) that our campus can muster.

     

    This week is a TBP Members’ Meeting. I’ll also work on resolving the issue with the Light The Night order, scrap more bikes in advance of the Big Clean as well as begin rounding up some volunteers to help out for the event.

     

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 87

    Memberships: 5 for $150

    Bikes (refurb): 2 for $330
    Bikes (B-a-B): 2 for $105
    Tire/tubes: 6 for $29

     

    Sincerely,

    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  9. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was slow, for the most part. Felt like we got a lot of donations. Trained a new staffer, waiting on clearance to train one more. Still building and scrapping bikes on the regular. My checklist sheet for shop builds is working—for the most part. There are still detail things that the staff don’t really notice, a slack chain on a single-speed for example, or cable ends are too long. Overall, I think it’s helping but the details matter and very much can still result in an unsafe bicycle. I’ll look at revising it a bit this w eek.

    This will be Dennis’s last week here (I think, will check on this). He has been a great staffer and we’ll miss him!

     

    This week I will begin prep for our big clean out/purge at the beginning of August. I’ll poll the staff for availability and iron out the details for how many days we’ll be closed (best-case scenario: one day). We’ll begin August 6th. We’ll be pulling all the bikes out and moving furniture around to give a solid, deep clean, and toss out the junk that has accumulated. We haven’t ever done a big clean like this during my tenure here and it’s wholly overdue. While we might lose a day or two of open hours, the end result will be a better functioning and cleaner/easier to navigate space.

     

    This week I will also be getting in touch with Lexco about ordering PB Blinky lights for LTN 2018!

    Numbers:

    Visitors: 75
    Sales: $724
    Memberships: 7 for $210

    Bikes (refurb): 2 for $220
    Tire/tubes: 11 for $88

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  10. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, a nice and generally manageable number of visitors to the shop this week. 2-3 people working on shop builds and some fix-a-flatters in every day.

    I rode down Green St last week and that was a delight. Great new markings!

    Thanks to Todd for grabbing the scrap pile over the weekend.

    This week I will be contacting the Dero bike pump people about the problem with the Altgeld pump: squirrels keep chewing off the pump head, rendering it unusable. I’ll check with them to see if they’ve got any solutions.

    I will also be setting up a meeting this week with a student group who are looking to solve bike waste on campus.


    Numbers:

    Visitors: 88
    Sales: $777.45
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $160
    Bike (B-a-B): 2 for $158
    Memberships: 3 for $90
    Tire/tubes: 23 for $123

     

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager

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