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Projects Updates for 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

    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

  6. 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
  7. 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

  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, pretty relaxed week here. The construction on Pennsylvania is in full swing and will probably adversely affect how many visitors we get but we’ll see. If the main door is completely or even mostly inaccessibly, a lot more people will be using the back garage door that we open for air flow. In that case, I’ll reorganize the shop to accommodate for that. All told, we’ll probably miss some visitor sign-ins because of it. But I’ll play it by ear and see how people navigate i t.  

    On Monday morning last week I had three folks come in who are going on a mission trip with their church to Malawi, Africa and hoping to teach some bike skills over there. I showed them some basic repairs and gave them some old parts/tools that they could use and advised against buying expensive and specific tools. Their trip is annual so they’ll check back next year.


    I’ve got another interview for a student worker today.

     

    On Friday alone we got like 5 bikes donated. Nice old 3 speeds (like we need more). This morning I arrived to find 3 Walmarters donated in front of the garage. I’ll pull and scrap a few more to even it out.

     

    The numbers:
    Sales: $1,173.25
    Memberships: 5 for $150
    Bikes (refurbished): 4 for $695
    Bikes (B-a-B): 1 for $57
    Tire/tubes: 10 for $87

    Sincerely,

     

    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  11. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, pretty much same old, same old over here this past week. Sold some bikes, people are coming in with a little more frequency. Donations are still coming in faster than I can strip them, as almost all of them are not worth fixing. Volunteers fell off a little for last week, only had a few come by. The Bike Project and I had a meeting to discuss nuts and bolts of operations here. We tentatively scheduled meetings for every two weeks.

     

    This week I hope to schedule another training with another new staffer if his schedule allows. I’ll also keep culling bikes and building up new ones, per usual. The student staff have requested a template/checklist for bike builds that is a little more in depth than the current tag system checklist and separate from our Shop Build/B-a-B Safety Check form to help them learn the ropes better. I’ll work on a little mock-up for that this week as well.  

     

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 84
    Sales: $1,306.00
    Memberships: 6 for $180
    Bikes (refurb): 6 for $1,000
    B-a-B: 1 for $25
    Tire/tube: 13 for $69

     

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  12. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was hot but we survived. A few storms broke up the extreme heat, thankfully. Other than that, it was business as usual. All-stands-full for a few days last week. We had a nice line on Friday but the crazy storm also penned everyone inside the shop while they waited it out. I’ve hired two more student workers and working on a third. I’ll train them this week. We’ve had a lot of volunteers in lately, and one especially eager volunteer wants to come almost every day all summer. Yikes.

     

    Thanks again to Todd for picking up the scrap pile over the weekend. I’m trying to stay ahead of the donations, as far as how many bikes we’ve got in here. As we sell more, that will help, but we’ve still got more bikes than is probably necessary or safe.

     

    This week I’ll be focusing on setting up some volunteer tasks as we have had multiple volunteers per day in over the last week or so, burning through some of my go-to tasks. I’ll work on minute organization tasks and maybe overhauling hubs/wheels. As mentioned I’ll be training new staff this week as well.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 93
    Sales:  $849

    Memberships: 11 for $330
    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $135

    Tires/tubes: 18 for $124

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  13. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was fairly busy. Not swamped but steady. Felt like business was picking up and the numbers bear that out. Last week Joel and Alana dropped off a new mat and new cleaning supplies. (Thanks, guys!)

    This week, I’ve got two interviews for new student worker help. I may end up closing shop for a couple days this week as the temps creep above 90° and become dangerously hot. Last week people were complaining about the heat and it was only in the mid-80s in here. I’ll fill up the water jug with ice water and have cups on hand.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 69

    Sales: $1,840.75

    Bikes (refurb): 5 for $865
    Bikes (B-a-B): 2 for $242
    Memberships: 8 for $240

    Tire/tubes: 9 for $49

     

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  14. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week picked up a little. We had a couple days there of pretty steady busyness. Summer weather’ll do that!

    I’ve hired two new student workers for the summer, which is a start, but will need to hire a few more in time for the Fall semester once Evan, Dennis, and Lucas move on.

     

    I dropped off a stack of quarter sheet flyers at Champaign Cycle over the weekend, much to their delight, so we’ll have a little more exposure in the wider off-campus community.

     

    This week I’ll continue processing the bikes donated from Champaign Cycle’s Community Bike Sale. I’ll do final safety inspections on the half dozen or so bikes that are almost ready for sale. Additionally, I’ll begin training the new student staffers.

    Numbers:

    Visitors: 87
    Sales: $598.20
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $110
    Memberships: 3 for $90
    Tires/tubes: 9 for $49

     

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  15. Weekly Update

    All, last Tuesday was BIKE TO WORK DAY! It was great! Great weather, great turnout, great conversation, great blindingly bright Vision Zero t shirts. I even sold some tubes and lights here at the Bike Center during the event and helped with some minor tune-ups. Peak times—no surprise—was 8:30 – 9am. After that a few stragglers hung around until  l0.

     

    On Saturday we had the Bike Rodeo at the ARC parking lot. While we didn’t have the huge turnout we were hoping for, the event ran really smoothly and we were able to educate and teach a lot about bike safety and bike-handling skills. Nothing beats showing a kid who’s barely taller than a bike pump how to air up their tires. Needless to say, that was a team effort.


    This week will be a major shop clean and purge as we’ve received another 8 or so bikes from Champaign Cycle that are on-the-whole quality bikes that need somewhere to be stored. And last week with the doors open a lot of leaves and debris got blown into the shop, so that’ll all need cleaning up as well.

     

    Numbers:

    Visitors: 70
    Sales: $828.60
    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $160
    Memberships: 5 for $150
    Tire/tube: 16 for $89

     

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  16. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, it’s almost BIKE MONTH! Tomorrow is BTWD! Student staff and I will be running the event, which promises—at this point—to be fantastic weath er.

     

    Last week was slightly abridged since I took Monday off. Hours ran smoothly without me. The remaining days were a healthy amount of busy but skewed towards slow overall. This week looks to be warmer.

    I taught a class at ARC on Tuesday night. 10 people showed up, one of whom came to the Bike Center the next day and declared, “Your class inspired me to try to repair my own bike”. Couldn’t have hoped for a better result!

     

    On Friday I interviewed two new student workers that I will be hiring. They’re both freshman, which provides me with ample time to mold them into expert bicycle helpers--and they were willing to stick it out through some tough, frustrating hub repairs I had them do. Elsewhere on the staffing front, Leah will be leaving us for the greener pastures of Cunningham Children’s Home in the next week or two. Shean will follow sometime after graduation, I believe. They’ve both been great employees; they’ll be missed around here.

     

    Numbers:

    Sales: $296.50
    Memberships: 4 for $120
    Tire/tube: 6 for $50

    No B-a-B or refurbished sales

     

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  17. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was oddly, strangely, very slow and quiet here despite the wonderful weather for most of the week. I was amped up for the deluge of people but it is snowing right now, so I can’t blame ‘em. On Friday we had a moderately well-attended Friday Ride semi-hosted by SECS. It was more of a trial run for next Friday’s Earth Week ride. The route, as planned, is deeply off-campus, which I always like.

    As for this week: Tonight I am teaching a class at the ARC on basic maintenance (ABC Quick Checks, bike vocabulary, etc). I will be taking Friday and next Monday (23rd) off and letting student workers run open hours. I’ll bring them in for a brief manager training this week but they already know everything except a few minor details. Otherwise, per usual, I’ll build bikes and organize.

    Numbers:
    Visitors: 52
    Sales: $742.50

    Bikes (refurb): 2 for $370
    Bikes (B-a-B): 1 for $101
    Memberships: 3 for $125 (2 reg; 1 family)

    Thanks!

    - Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager

  18. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All! Happy snow in April! (Not.)

    This past week Working Bikes came down and we cleared out the last of the warehouse as well as donated 28 3-speed bikes to the Urbana shop. Thanks to student staffers Evan, Dennis, Leah, and all-around very awesome ATC Lily for helping load the bikes! It went so much faster thanks to them.

    The shop was slow most of the time and moderately busy some of the time this week.  We’ve got some really nice fliers in the works for the Maintenance Class at the ARC (4/16 and 4/24 in room MP6 @ 7-8pm!). Those should go up/be distributed soon. Student staffer Dennis has expressed some interest in helping out with one of the classes, which would be cool.

    This week I will meet with Neutral Cycle about their involvement with the Bike Rodeo, build bikes,  organize/clean, and recruit/advertise for student-staff help for the summer months.

    Numbers:

    Visitors: 43
    Sales: $668.35
    Bikes (refurb): 2 for $310
    Bikes (B-a-B): 1 for $135
    Memberships: 2 for $60

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  19. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Spring Break was slow—as expected. Not many visitors. Made some good progress on builds, but also sold a bike, as well. I cleaned up the back end of the shop and am still working through a surplus of junk parts. The shelves are working well to keep the floor clean of debris and tripping hazards. By last count we have 42 bikes that are For Sale/ B-a-Bs and 36 as unclaimed stock.

    This week I will be prepping at the warehouse for the last of the bikes to be moved out of there. Working Bikes is coming on Friday. They are bringing 25 3-speeds for us, as well, which I will campaign to be dropped off at the Urbana shop before they head to the warehouse. Consequently, I may have reduced hours on Friday. I’ll know more after I make a final tally of the bikes at the warehouse.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 39
    Sales: $389.80
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $190
    Memberships: 3 for $90
    Tire/tube: 7 for $31

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  20. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, spring is coming! We’ll be open during Spring Break, I’m sure we’ll get lots of inquiries to that effect. We were busy on Friday and the visitor numbers are creeping up each week, with last week’s total sitting at 59—almost to 60!

    This week projects to be a little warmer but it is Spring Break, too so hopefully if there’s a lull we can push out some more refurbished bikes for when everyone gets back.

    As of writing I just got off the phone with a representative from Working Bikes who has confirmed a date of 3/30/18 at approximately 11am for picking up the remainder of the warehouse bikes. I’ll coordinate with Parking to get the doors opened and then it’ll be cleaned out. Hopefully  it shouldn’t hamper open hours but we’ll see. In the coming two weeks I’ll double check the number of bikes over there and add or subtract as I see fit. I quoted WB around 60 bikes in the warehouse but they were fine with us knocking that number up or down a little.

    This week I will build bikes and cull bikes from this shop for the warehouse as well as recruit for the open student worker positions that start this summer.

    Numbers:

    Sales: $331
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $140

    Tire/tube: 3 for $20

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager

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