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Projects Updates for Campus Bike Center

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  1. Weekly Update - Bike Maintenance info session, Full Moon ride, Fix-a-Flat and more

    All, Apologies for the delay. I was out of town Monday and Tuesday.

    Last week was busy. Hovered around 20 people in per day. Warm weather always helps. We had our third Fix-a-Flat class and again no attendees, unfortunately. The students hosted their Friday Ride and one person showed up (former employee). I tabled at the Health Fair last Tuesday and got to chat with the UIPD officer stationed next to me. He referred me to the METCAD phone # in the event of cyclists witnessing or experiencing unsafe car/truck drivers on campus.

    This week was obviously truncated with me being out of town. The student staff operated the shop in my absence. I’ll check in with them this week and see how that went. Tomorrow evening is the Bike Maintenance info session/class in the winter garden from 7 – 8pm. Friday is the first Full Moon Ride, a community bicycling event here in town, so I’ll talk that up. It is easily our most popular cycling-related event in the warmer months here in town.
    Numbers:

    Visitors: 96
    Sales: $717.50
    Memberships: 4 for $120
    Bike (refurb): 2 for $350
    Tire/tube: 11 for $55

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  2. Weekly Update

    All, Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming Good Morning Illini to the Bike Center. I shot a segment with one of their people on patching a tube. Unfortunately, it didn’t make the air. It was still good outreach and nice to bring a few new people into the shop.

    We’ve yet to have any attendees for our fix-a-flat class, unfortunately. The students running it have done a great job of prepping for it, though. A silver lining of sorts.
    This week there is the Health Fair I’ll be tabling at tomorrow all morning, I’ll be coordinating with Parking to get some more bikes from the warehouse, and on Friday is the fix-a-flat class and the Friday Ride.

    Next Monday I’ll be in Minnesota for a training, so the weekly digest will be a bit late.
    Numbers:

    Visitors: 77
    Sales: $283.50
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $150
    Memberships: 2 for $60

     

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  3. Weekly Update

    All, The doors were opened! I repeat: The doors were opened! It was finally warm enough. Turns out our coat rack is slightly too tall for the garage to be opened. We figured that out the hard way. Still very nice to get some fresh air in here.

    Last week we had our first Fix-a-Flat class. Unfortunately, no one showed up. It was pretty bad weather and a new program offering so for next week I’ll put up some signs and talk it up to people who come in to the Center.

    Our student staff also hosted their first Friday Ride. It was still raining at that point but most of the staff partook. As they left I think I saw one or two riders who weren’t staff—that’s a good sign! We’ll see how it goes from here. Warmer, nicer weather and a couple weeks more of promotion should only help!

    This week is our collaborative Bike@Illinois meeting to discuss strategic planning for implementation of broader bicycle-friendly efforts on campus! More on that next week.

     

    Numbers:

    Visitors: 85
    Sales: $591.50
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $120
    Memberships: 8 for $240
    Tire/tubes: 8 for $33

     

    Thanks!

    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  4. Weekly Update

    All, Last week we were closed for Spring Break. I worked Monday and Tuesday and made some good solitary progress on shop builds. All of the Reid MTN Sport bikes that Corey finagled for us are in saleable condition and all of the For Sale bikes are nicely displayed, ready to be purchased.

    Todd picked up scrap over the break, which is appreciated as always.

    This week we have two new offerings starting on Friday: Fix-a-Flat class and our bi-monthly Friday Rides. I’ll meet with the students running each event to make sure everything is in place for their respective endeavors.

    The prospect for trained student staffers around for the summer to help out isn’t looking great. I’ll get a final count on availability this week and proceed accordingly.

    No numbers since we were closed all week.

     

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  5. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Tail end of last week really picked up, coinciding with the weather, I guess. The first couple weeks of helping people with their bikes is always a welcome change from just wrenching on bikes for sale. Feels more on mission or something.  

    I reorganized to display the For Sale bikes better, which will make test rides and purchasing of the bikes easier for patrons—at least that’s the hope.

    This week we are closed and I am working today and tomorrow then taking Wed – Fri off. I hope to make some headway in safety checking and finalizing another 10 bikes while we are closed. That should put the number of For Sale bikes in the 40+ range.

    Numbers:

    Visitors: 57

    Sales: $164.80

    Memberships: 5 for $150
    Tire/tubes: 4 for $35

     

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  6. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, As the numbers will show: we had a very slow week. Not a lot of visitors in but the weather was pretty gnarly, too. Snow never helps.

    All told, we have 40 bikes as in-progress shop builds or for sale, organized about as well as they can be in the back of the shop. Had my staff work on that last week.

    This week I’ll get a handle on summer availability for my staff and make a dent in the bike pile. I was contacted last week by an F&S intern about reviewing the Campus Bike Plan, so I’ll dig into that a bit this week, too.


    Numbers:

    Visitors: 29
    Sales: $20

    Thanks!

    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  7. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week I counted 20 bikes for sale and 19 only in need of safety checks. That should put our number in the 40+ range by the time it gets warm. Maybe higher if the weather stays in the single digits like this.

    Friday was completely dead. Not a single person in to work on their bike. I trained up staff on headset installation and test rode some bikes. We also reorganized in the back of the shop, designating areas into “For Sale” bikes and in-progress shop builds. It looks a lot cleaner and will make it easier to point people in the right direction for bikes, which will be crucial when the warm weather comes.

    This week I will be organizing a staff meeting for my team as we approach Spring Break and, after that, the potential for the first big rush of people into the shop.

    Huge thanks to the guys in the shop next door as I think they’re the ones who plowed right in front of the door to the Bike Center this morning. Usually the plows just push snow into the door but this morning when I got to work, it was cleared with a little path from the sidewalk to the door.

     

    Numbers:

    Visitors: 49
    Sales:  $151.20
    Memberships: 2 for $60

    Rubber/consumables: 9 for $27.70

     

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  8. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was a little out of the ordinary: we hosted Agora Days classes at to the Bike Center in collaboration with University High School. 5 students came every morning Tuesday – Friday from 11 – 12:30pm. I taught basic bicycle repairs and provided some hands-on practice with them. Overall they seemed to enjoy themselves. A big thanks to Phillip for organizing the event!

    I’ve started a new employee, Maria, and in the process of hiring two more to help with the spring and summer as a few staff are leaving after this semester.

    Last week we took in six brand new bikes as donations here at the Bike Center and have been working to get those tuned up and ready for sale. It will be a little odd to have them on the sales floor as they are new, shiny, and not a “used” bike in the sense that we usually employ the term. Big thanks to Corey for orchestrating the logistics and transporting the bikes!

    Courtesy of F&S the Bike Center will take possession of a new bike trailer. It’s small but very much a cargo trailer (no kid seats). Will be great for hauling smaller boxes! I’ll go pick it up this week.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 48

    Sales: $301

    Bikes (refurb): 2 for $260

    Tire/tube: 3 for $18

    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  9. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, This past week I interviewed another student worker and had a training with a couple others. Built bikes, test rode bikes, organized bikes, too.

    I pulled a bunch of bad wheels out of the back of the shop and had volunteers scrap those. Also had volunteers/staff overhaul wheels for future builds/sales. The idea is that once we get busy, having a used wheel that’s ready to go on a bike will hopefully significantly cut down on stand time for both patrons and shop builds.

    This week is Agora Days. Phillip, from the Bike Project/Uni will bring some University High School students over to the Bike Center Tuesday – Friday from 11am – 1pm and we’ll teach some bike skills! Should be a good time! 
    Numbers:

    Visitors: 49
    Sales: $114.32

    Memberships: 1 for $30
    Tires/tubes: 5 for $21

     

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  10. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, As one student staffer pointed out, we got a taste of summer last week. We had a few swells of genuine busyness. Odd for this time of year—but very welcome!

    I had a training session last week with a new hire and will have an interview today and another training on Friday this week. I made some progress on the shop builds that the students have been building. I’ll tackle some more of the wheel pile this week in addition to working through the builds.

    I am working with my student staff to get Friday Rides revived in time for spring/summer. Student staff will also lead a Fix-a-Flat class in partnership with F&S Sustainability. More updates on both next week as I work through logistics and planning for each of those events.

     

    Thanks!

     

    Visitors: 54

    Sales: $384

    Memberships: 3 for $90
    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $200

     

    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  11. 18F Semesterly Report - Beginning bike maintenance classes

     

    Simon taught 15 sessions with around 100 attendants total, over the 15 weeks. The sessions were Mondays from at 6:30. The sessions began on 9/5/2017 and concluded at the end of the fall semester.

     

    The manager of the Campus Bike Center, Jake Benjamin, will help us seek another qualified student to teach the class this spring.

     

  12. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, This past week was an uneventful one. We closed on Wednesday due to the cold and the rest of the week wasn’t much better. Had a meeting with Morgan and Sarthak on Monday about Sustainability with regards to CBC.

    This mini heat wave we’re experiencing might help visitor numbers this week.

    At worst, I’ll be able to make some inroads on the backlog of safety checks. And along those lines: as useful as the safety checklist has been the student workers are still failing it on the regular. This week I’ll run through the checklist again with the staff for a refresher.

    On Tuesday a guy came in looking for a couple broken frames for a non-bicycle related project. I was surprised and kind of happy to notice we didn’t have any junker frames left in the shop. Just about everything in here is buildable. I will spend some time this week culling the wheels we have.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 33
    Sales: $436.01


    Thanks!

    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  13. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week picked up a little. Sold a refurb bike—first of the year! Sold a B-a-B as well.

    I interviewed two potential staffers last week as well. They’ve both been volunteering for 10+ hours at the Bike Center and pretty excited about what we do and working here.

    I also got some feedback from former student staff about the manual I’ve been working on, as well as feedback from TBP. It’s pretty close to ready for distribution.

    I’ve got a backlog of safety checks to perform this week on bikes that the student staff have been churning out so far this semester. Unfortunately the weather isn’t helping.

     

    Numbers:
    Visitors: 41
    Sales: $397.50

    Memberships: 1 for $30

    Refurb Bikes: 1 for $190
    B-a-Bs: 1 for $69

     

    Thanks!

    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  14. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All ,This past week was a very slow one. Averaged only a visitor or two per day. New hires Kelly and Jacob started and I spent the majority of the week training them. They both show good promise in their ability to understand and apply the techniques and principles of bicycle repair.

    We received a new coat rack/storage shelf for people to hang their coats and drop their backpacks. Also received a snow shovel and salt to clear out in front of the door. Not having to bug the shop next door to borrow their shovel will be a welcomed change.  

    This week I have two interviews for a couple more student staffers. While I have roughly the same number of staffers as usual and could get by with that, the students’ availability this semester isn’t cutting it, especially once we get busy in the warm months. I am also trying to plan better for the constant and inevitable staff turnover.

    Regular shop duties abound: builds, safety checks, organizing, inventory.

     

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 41

    Sales: $87
    Memberships: 2 for $60

     

    Thanks!

    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  15. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was slow but we had a few visitors in each day. Hank and Chris helped out all week, which was good. We got a few more shop builds finished but not safety checked. The total build number is creeping towards 30.

    Having the backside of the shop cleaner has been great this past week. Much easier to maneuver back there.

    This week I’ll be finalizing the student staff schedule and safety checking the aforementioned bikes. Kelly, a new hire, starts work today, so I’ll be training her some more as well.

     

    Numbers:
    Visitors: 31
    Sales: $105.50

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  16. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Abbreviated work week for me and zero open hours last week. It was a good time to do some deep winter/early spring cleaning. I pulled about half the bikes out of the back of the shop and cleaned up and threw junk away, reorganized and decluttered the 2x4 storage shelves. It’s looking a lot cleaner on the back end of the shop; the front side of the shop will be handled by the student workers this week.

    Todd came and grabbed scrap over the weekend so that definitely helped beautify the shop.

    This week I’ll hopefully be able to round out the student staff schedule and the student staff manual. Builds and safety checks will, of course, continue as well.

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager

     

  17. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Welcome back from break! Hope everyone had a good time with friends and family.

    The last week before break was pretty slow, as to be expected. Kevin finally finished his B-a-B, which was great. He was jazzed about it, too.

    The Bike Center doesn’t reopen until next Monday so this week I’ll be doing some deeper cleaning and reorganizing that isn’t feasible when I have to open the doors at 2pm. I’ll also be collating the student staff manual.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 47
    Sales: $171.50
    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Build-a-Bike: 1 for $47

    Thanks!

     

    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  18. Weekly update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was slow, per usual this time of year. I had a training session for two new staffers. They’ll start in the new year as they have finals this week.

    Bike count is hovering around 15-20 with a few safety checks still in the queue. A couple staffers expressed interest in morning shifts this week so if that happens, hopefully it’ll result in a few more builds being ready before winter break.

    This week I will continue work on the Student Staff Manual and will line up some new volunteer tasks since the regular items are getting ticked off the list.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 51
    Sales: $117.50
    tire/tubes: 6 for $23


    Thanks!

     

    -        Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  19. Weekly update

    All, Visitor numbers are down, sales are down, builds are ever-creeping up: It must be winter!

    We’re only averaging a few actual work-on-my-bike visitors per day now, and I imagine it’ll get even slower the closer we get to winter break. The student staff has responded positively to the shift in shop build protocol away from piecemeal jobs and towards being wholly responsible for the bike, start to finish. I don’t think it has actually positively affected the quality of their work—yet—but they seemed more engaged and invested in the task at hand. 

    Not sure the numbers on it but I feel like I’ve had a pretty steady flow of volunteers in for either community service or volunteer memberships. Not too many volunteer duds, as most seem pretty jazzed and impressed with the space/DIY idea.

    This week I’ve got a meeting with the GM of VeoRide and separately, a TBP-UIUC meeting, as well as student staff training towards the end of the week.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 43

    Sales: $144.50

    Memberships: 2 for $60

     

    Thanks!

     

    -        Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  20. Weekly Update

    All, Winter is upon us! Visitor numbers are still relatively high, considering the cold weather, which is a great sign. We have one student in every week who’s still plugging away at his B-a-B. Most others have abandoned them and I have had the staff reclaim them as shop builds.

     

    Last week I finished and delivered the bike that’ll be raffled off at the Staff Appreciation Week. I worked up a checklist for the future days when I’ll need the student staff to run open hours for me. Safety checked a few more bikes and worked on inventory.

     

    This week I’ll need to begin looking at reallocating space for how many shop builds we have. Most of the front area of the shop is all for-sale bikes so now we’ll need to start a row in the back.

     

    I’ll also be getting in touch with VeoRide about a possible partnership for getting more people on bikes.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 58
    Sales: $61
    Memberships:  1 for $30

     

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager

     

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