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Projects Updates for Campus Bike Center

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  1. Weekly Update: CBC Fix-it staion operational

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Not a whole lot to report: The Bike Center Fix It pump is operational and I’ll be meeting this week about marketing to get the word out. I got an email not 12 hours after visiting the new Flagg Hall covered bike parking asking if it was operational, funnily enough. Parking tagged the bike that was locked up out front of the Bike Center. It was probably a donation but doing our due diligence on that.

    This week student staff will start and we’ll work through some more bike builds.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 6
    Sales: $59
    Memberships: 1 for $30
    Misc: $29

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  2. Weekly Update: Donations, moved from the old place

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Slow week, of course. An uptick in donations of parts/bikes. Got a nice hybrid Giant bike that is already fixed up and ready to sell.

    We are almost totally and completely moved out of our former garage home. It’s actually a lot of square footage in there once you remove all the stuff accumulated over the last 11 years or so!

    This week will be scheduling, semester prep, and more work to get the outdoor bike pump fixed up and operational for the few hearty winter cyclists.  

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 10
    Sales: $196
    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $120
    Misc: $16

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  3. Weekly Update - Word of mouth, Bike donations

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Pretty slow around these parts—per usual for this time of year.

    A story: A gentleman comes in on Wednesday looking for bikes. We get to talking and he’s volunteered at Working Bikes (the org we give abandoned bikes to) up in Chicago, he knows his way around a wrench. He buys a nice road bike and that was that. An hour later, he brings a friend back; she signs up for a membership. Two days later, same guy is back with another friend; he buys a membership, too. Says they’ll both be back on Monday to work on a bike. Word of mouth really is the best marketing.

    This week I’ll still be processing the donations from the kids bike event that were not kids bikes. We got a lot of adult-sized bikes that aren’t worth saving, unfortunately.
    The numbers:

    Visitors: 11
    Sales: $254
    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Misc: $4

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  4. Weekly Update: Happy New Year, Kids bike giveaway

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Happy New Year! The final week of the semester—and the two weeks preceding it—were a whirl of kid bike prep for our event, which took place on December 19th.
    Here’s a story CI Living did on the event:  https://www.wcia.com/ciliving-2/the-bike-project-hosts-kids-bike-giveaway/
    We gave away 40+ bikes in less than half an hour and our community really came through in providing those donations on such a short time frame.
    This week will be a lot of cleaning and organizing—kids bike parts are strewn every which way as we hustled to get the bikes finished—and an inventory once-over to see where we stand on parts and bikes.
    Thanks!
    The numbers:

    Visitors: 7
    Sales: $19

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  5. Weekly Update: WCIA interview, Kids bike giveaway

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last Monday WCIA came by the Bike Center and interviewed me for our Kids Bike Giveaway event. Made the evening news! We got one call from a woman in Tuscola, a man from Danville, and a woman emailed from Springfield, all referenced the news story.
    Accordingly, we’re in full-on kids bike mode: student staff are fixing them, I’m fielding phone calls and emails, people are dropping them off nearly every day we’re open and sometimes even when we’re not.
    I think we’re at around 20 bikes and we should probably get to 30 by week’s end between both shops.
    This week we’ll continue prepping for the Bike Giveaway event, mostly logistical items like signage, set up, and keep fixing them.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 11

    Sales: $215
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $160
    Tires/tubes: 4 for $39

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  6. Weekly Update: Kids Bike Giveaway, WCIA interview

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was our first one with “regular” open hours again. I’d guess we had about the same number of people coming by as we did under our reservation system but it was certainly less leg work.
    Our main push for the next few weeks will be our Kids Bike Giveaway. The particulars:


    Date: Saturday, December 19th
    Time: 1 – 3p or until we run out of bikes
    Location: Urbana Bike Project (202 S Broadway Ave., Urbana)
    Details: first come, first served; one bike per kid and they must be present to pick out their bike.

     

    We are still in need of donations but just through emailing our membership we’ve heard from 3 – 4 people with bikes to donate.  WCIA is calling me later today to discuss, so hopefully we’ll get on the news. I’ve done lots of submitting to various media outlets. I’ll be focusing on getting the word out on the need for donations this week and focus on doing the bulk of the refurbishing next week. If successful TBP has expressed interest in making this an annual event. We’ll see!

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 6
    Sales: $165.50

    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Tires/tubes: 4 for $12

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  7. The Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign, in partnership with the U of I Campus Bike Center, is hosting a Kids’ Bike Giveaway this holiday season!

    The Bike Project is currently accepting donations of all kids’ and teen bikes, regardless of condition, and then refurbishing them to give back to young folks in the community!

     

    Donations can be made at the Urbana Bike Project (202 S. Broadway Ave., Urbana) or at the Campus Bike Center (51 E. Gregory Dr., Champaign).

     

    Please call (217) 469-5126 or email contact@thebikeproject.org to arrange a donation.

     

    Kids' Bike Giveaway Event:

    Date: Saturday, December 19th, 2020
    Time: 1 pm – 3pm or until we run out of bikes
    Location: Urbana Bike Project (202 S. Broadway Ave., Urbana)

    Details: first come, first served; one bike per kid, and they must be present to pick out their bike.

     

    All health and safety guidelines will be followed.

  8. Weekly Update: Slowest week financially, Closing appointment system, New working hours

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Maybe the slowest week on record, financially-speaking, as we grossed $8. Hopefully not a preview of the rest of the semester…
    Before the break we did have a repeat visitor express interest in volunteering so there is some latent interest in our offerings.
    This week we will be closing down our appointment system in favor of our regular open hours offerings. Visits have not been frequent enough to warrant the extra trouble of an appointment system. We’ll be open M/W/F for the rest of the semester, barring any further mitigation efforts.
    We’ve got a few bikes from the warehouse to work on and they’ve already proven to be  good teaching candidates for my staff on things like the irreparable damage kickstands can so easily inflict. No one likes leaning their bike against a wall just-so but it beats having to replace it entirely
    Thanks!

    The numbers:
    Visitors:
    Sales: $8!

     

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  9. Weekly Update: Daily Illini interview, CTAC, post-Thanksgiving programming

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week I was interviewed for the Daily Illini  about the importance of bikes during a pandemic for health, safety, and exercise. No word on if they’re publishing the story.

     

    Last week, I was also present for the Active Transportation Advisory Committee on campus to discuss infrastructure and developments for bus riding, biking, and walking. Great to see and meet—virtually—so many University people involved in implementing and promoting safer and healthier ways to get around campus and the community.

    This week is business as usual: picking up bikes from the warehouse, staff meetings, and prepping for our post-Thanksgiving programming.

    Thanks!


    The numbers:


    Visitors: 10
    Sales: $99.50
    Memberships: 1 for $30

    Tire/tube: 4 for $30
    Misc: $34.50

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  10. Weekly Update: Promote the Bike Center, bike pick up

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Lovely summery weather last week!
    Main event for the week was a marketing meeting to discuss new and innovative ways to promote the Bike Center, which was fruitful and really put into perspective how much stuff we do here at CBC when explaining it, even in general terms. And things like build-a-bikes vs. refurbished vs. DIY repairs will always confuse the uninitiated.
    This week is business as usual. Bikes to be picked up from Parking, an Active Transportation Advisory Committee meeting, staff meetings to be scheduled, and so forth. Some suppliers seem to be restocked a bit on some much-needed bike parts but as we inch ever-closer to fall/winter, immediate demand for those parts will wane. But we’ll still stock up a bit.
    The numbers:


    Visitors: 12
    Sales: $226.50
    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $200
    Misc: $26.50

    Thanks!

     

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  11. Weekly Update: Moving bikes from warehouse; Traffic safety

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Slow week again. Grabbed a few more bikes from the warehouse. I’ve been given clearance to remove all the remaining bikes, so I’ll be doing that in small doses for the rest of the semester. I’ll bring some of my staff along to help. Moving bikes around is a lot easier for college-aged kids anyway.

    I spoke with a UIPD officer last week about traffic safety after I had some close encounters with vehicles on campus. We’ve tentatively planned to do a meet and greet/talk next semester with my staff and UIPD to cover road safety on campus. It’ll be great to have the ear of enforcement on cycling issues and in the end, be better cycling advocates to the community.

    Numbers:

    Visitors: 6
    Sales: $228.00
    Memberships: 1 for $60
    Bike Sales (refurb): 1 for $160
    Misc parts: 2 for $8

    Thanks!

     

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  12. Weekly Update: Abandoned bicycles, Working bikes

    Associated Project(s): 

    All,

    Pretty slow week. Had the iCAP sustainability celebration on Tuesday, which was great. Always fun to see/hear from other parts of campus that are working towards a better future for our campus. On the flipside, I had the displeasure of reporting a dangerous F&S driver that same day and then a dangerous MTD driver on Thursday.

    Todd came by and cleared out scrap on Friday which was welcomed.

    As of this morning, I communicated with Working Bikes that we will not be doing our annual abandoned bike donation as Parking did not collect bikes last spring, due to COVID, and thus we have no bikes to donate to them. It hasn’t been decided/communicated whether Parking will collect later in the fall/winter or wait until spring. This will also negatively affect how many bikes we’ll have for sale next spring, as the pool of available bikes is lower. But of course, most of the abandoned bikes were being donated and for sale numbers were always more dependent on our ability/time to build more than a dearth of bikes.

     

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 11 (7 UIUC-affiliated)
    Sales: $225
    Memberships: 4 for $120
    Misc parts: 8 for $55

     

    Thanks!

     

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  13. Weekly Update: Abandoned bicycles, Sustainability Celebration

    Associated Project(s): 

    All,

    Mike, a semi-regular at the old shop, walked in on Friday for his appointment, looked around and said, “What’d you have to do to get upgraded to such a nice spot?”

    Just another positive review of our new space.

    I coordinated with Parking to do more frequent pick ups—but smaller loads—of abandoned bikes, which should allow for a better flow of bikes in and out of the bike center. This should be more manageable for myself and my staff going forward, as well.

     

    This week is a Campus Sustainability Celebration on Tuesday, a CBC staff meeting Wednesday evening, and warm weather to close out the week, which usually equals some more traffic, but we’ll see if that holds during a pandemic.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 14
    Sales: $178.20
    Memberships: 4 for $120
    Misc parts: 4 for $40

     

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  14. Weekly Update: Open hours sign, bikes pick up

    Associated Project(s): 

    All,

    Last week I had an epiphany that we should probably have a sign on the door that lists our hours, even if they are appointment only. That’s in the works, should be ready tomorrow.

    With the decrease in testing for grad/staff we’ve had to turn a few people away for not being up-to-date. They have, by and large, been totally understanding. A few people have emailed and canceled ahead of time, which is welcomed.

     

    Set up a secondary pegboard in the shop to better organize freewheel/cassette tools—it’s a vast improvement over the drawer and/or coffee can we’d been using before. Last week I grabbed the scrap metal bin, some miscellaneous parts, and Aquaham Lincoln. He’ll live atop the fridge.

    This week I’ll coordinate with Parking to pick up a few bikes—only space for 3 or so—for instructional/teaching purposes with the new hires, schedule a staff meeting for my team, finalize placement for wheel hooks around the shop to increase storage.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 12
    Sales: $747
    Memberships: 4 for $120
    Refurb bike: 2 for $430
    Tire/tubes: 10 for $57

     

    Thanks!

     

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  15. Weekly Update: Refurbished bike swap, low numbers, signage

    Associated Project(s): 

    All,

    Another week in the books! It’s definitely still an adjustment to be open only by-appointment. We’re still getting phone calls and emails about user error and whatnot when scheduling and we’re only seeing 4 or so people per day. But hey, it’s a pandemic. People are still going to the old shop—some internet search engines are not up-to-date but we do have signage over there. Ironies of all ironies since people couldn’t seem to find that tucked-away garage before and are now flocking to it, it seems.

     

    Had a refurb-swap of a loose cranked bike. Thankfully the gentleman wasn’t injured in the failure. He took a different same-priced bike. He was very understanding and that was appreciated.

    Still working on upping our staffing levels to a comfortable number.

    We’ve only done a handful of bike registrations, which either speaks to the cost-as-deterrence or that people are picking them up elsewhere. Hopefully the latter!

    Still optimizing the layout and functionality of our new space but everyone who’s visited that was familiar with the old space has been blown away by the across-the-board improvements. I discovered a closet here that I didn’t know existed which now is storing the Bikes at Work trailer and the smaller kid-sized one. Aquaham Lincoln will likely migrate over here this week.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 21
    Sales: $562.70
    Memberships: 3 for $90
    Bikes: 3 for $360
    Tires/tubes: 1 for $1

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  16. Weekly Update: First week open, Light the Night

    Associated Project(s): 

    All,

    Last week was our first full week of being open since the pandemic-induced shutdown. We are by-appointment only and making do with that. Visits, sales, and the like are—compared to normal—way down for this time of year.

    We also had Light The Night last week and hosted one of the sites here at the Bike Center. It wasn’t as great a turnout as hoped but it was a new location for LTN and it’s a pandemic. We weren’t able to do our normal word-of-mouth publicity during open hours to the degree we’re accustomed. Thankfully we got some signage up at the old garage alerting people to our new location.

     

    This week we’ll work on optimizing the scheduling system, staff meetings, and safety checking a handful of bikes.

    Visitors: 38
    Sales: $951.50
    Memberships: 1 for $30
    Bikes (refurb): 5 for $790
    Tires/tubes: 3 for $27

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  17. Campus Bike Center added as a Shield pick-up location - Available from August 24, 2020

    Campus Bike Center (51 E Gregory Dr., Champaign, IL 61820. Phone number: 217-300-4638) was added as the Shield pick-up location. Sarthak Prasad dropped off 250 Shields at the location to be picked up by bicycle users. This location will be available for Shield pick up from August 24, 2020. Due to the pandemic, the CBC will only accept visitors who make an appointment beforehand, so please call in ahead to more information. The Shields will be distributed at the front desk of the CBC's new location.

    We will replensih the Shields as needed.

  18. Campus Bike Center is moving!

    Associated Project(s): 

    The Campus Bike Center is moving to a new location! The move is currently in progress while the shop is closed due to the pandemic. The Campus Bike Center will re-open on August 24, 2020, and they will only accept visitors on appointments. You can call in ahead at 217-300-4638 or create an appointment online - appointment system is under development. We will share the online appointment link as soon as the system is ready.

    The new address for CBC is: 51 E Gregory Dr., Champaign, IL 61820.

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