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Projects Updates for Campus Bike Center

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  1. 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
  2. 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

  3. 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.

     

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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
  8. 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

     

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

     

  13. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All,  No big news for the last week. We had Thanksgiving break and were closed all last week. The week prior was pretty slow, too.

     

    Biggest news: Yesterday the shop was staffed by the student workers and they appear to have done a fantastic job. The shop is clean and organized, they tallied and tracked visitors and volunteer time nicely. No trouble. Next up will be training the staff to run hours when I’m not here in the summer when it’s really busy. I don’t have the infrastructure in place to do that yet but we’ll get there.

    This week I’ll be delivering the bike we built for Campus Recreation’s Student Staff Appreciation Week, building shop bikes, and working on documenting skills training and assessment for the student staff so that I’ll be able to better track their progress and abilities to do the job going forward.  

     

    Visitors: 45

    Sales: $101
    Memberships: 2 for $60

    Misc. used parts: 7 for $41

     

    Thanks!

     

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  14. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Slow last week, as to be expected.

    Currently have 8 bikes for sale with a couple more queued up. Should have about 15 ready to go by end of the week.

    Instead of having student workers build bikes piecemeal, this week I’ll try having each staffer be responsible for a bike—basically just a B-a-B but for sale. The hope here is that it will be a more holistic and teachable situation seeing a bike through from start to finish, just as the B-a-B program is. I tried this with one staffer last week and he was noticeably more engaged and hustling by the end, trying to get the bike done. It’ll help that we won’t have to figure out “what’s been done?” when each staffer comes in for their shift, too.

     

    This week will be building bikes, organizing, and drafting student staff training guides.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 62
    Sales: $235.50
    Memberships: 5 for $150
    Tire/tubes: 4 for $25

     

    Thanks!

     

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager

     

  15. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was quite slow, as the sales numbers confirm. It’s been great to be able to keep the student staff on even as we slow down as I can train them better. Running through repairs and assembly of some of the more intricate bicycle componentry is a boon to them and myself—more skilled student workers makes for a better shop experience for all.

     

    Big news of the week: Warehouse is empty of bikes—finally! This morning I’ll head over there to sweep up the last of the debris and straighten up. Working Bikes was thankful for the donations and some of the bikes are already in El Salvador and others will make their way to Lesotho, South Africa. A big thanks to Hank, Rick, Rafael, Todd, and APO for their assistance loading bikes.

     

    This week I’ll be moving on hiring 2-3 more student workers, building bikes, ordering, inventory, and shop design/organization.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 62
    Sales: $139.00
    Memberships: 1 for $30

    Tire/tubes: 4 for $15

     

    Thanks!

     

    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  16. Weekly update

    Associated Project(s): 

    Last week was really relaxed in the shop. I’ve been able to dedicate some time to training the student staff a little better. Having them strip and build bikes is good repetition and practice for them.

     

    Tuesday was the Bike Shipping Event, which did not go as planned. Working Bikes wasn’t able to get their big container down here so they only took 260 bikes. That was compounded by a poor showing of volunteers to help. Most of the loading was done by two Working Bikes people and myself, which was tiring. By the second half, we had 5 or 6 people to help.

     

    On Friday, Todd and I pulled about 60 bikes out of the warehouse. We should have it all cleared by end-of-week.

    I interviewed two students last week as well. I have another interview tomorrow.

     

    This week is the aforementioned job interview, as well as an iCap interview with someone from Sustainability. Mornings will be loading bikes at the warehouse and most shop hours will be spent teaching the staff more bike skills now that it’s slow.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 73

    Sales: $430.25
    Memberships: 4 for $120
    Bikes (B-a-B): 2 for $40*
    Tires/tubes: 10 for $84

    *B-a-B pricing are now itemized to reflect the cost of new parts so TBP can keep better track of stock and sales of new parts. B-a-Bs aren’t cheaper, they’re just recorded as the base price only.

     

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  17. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was slow, customer-wise, but busy for planning and prep. I spent most of non-open hours at the warehouse prepping bikes for the shipping event. The date for that was finalized last week as well: It will be on 10/23 starting at 9am when the 53’ trailer is due to arrive. Working Bikes will bring “several people”.

     

    I contacted the APO  service fraternity about helping with the shipping event and they expressed interest—however they cannot guarantee a designated number of volunteers, unfortunately. This week I’ll be putting the word out for volunteers on social media and TBP website.

     

    This week I will also brainstorm ideas to keep the student workers engaged and on task during the slower months as last week has already shown them to lean toward talking without working rather than talking while they work.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 73
    Sales: $825.85
    Memberships: 4 for $155
    Bikes (refurb): 2 for $265
    Tire/tube: 24 for $150

     

    Thanks!

     

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  18. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was slow. For the first hour now we’re usually seeing fewer and fewer people darken the door. It seems that we’re always busier on the tail end of open hours, from 4-6 more than 2-4.

     

    Last week I began  turning pedals at the warehouse in preparation for the big shipment. Todd from the Bike Project came and helped. He also grabbed scrap this weekend. Thanks, Todd!

    This week I’ll be nailing down the date for the bike shipment with Working Bikes and turning pedals. I’ve done 67 so far, only (roughly) 400 more to go! I’ll reach out to the student staff for some help, which would expedite the process.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 80
    Sales: $746.25
    Memberships: 4 for $120
    Bikes (refurb): 2 for $390
    Bikes (B-a-B): 2 for $80
    Tires/tubes: 9 for $50

    Thanks!

     

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  19. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was comfortable—both weather-wise and with how busy the shop was. We saw some Build-a-Bikes walk out the door and of note, specifically, was Rafael’s. He’s from Brazil and speaks almost no English. Communication was limited to hand gestures and demonstrating how a bike part is supposed to move or operate. He finished his build on Friday and was so happy to have it done he wanted a photo with the staff.  Not all learning is language-based!

     

    First Visit Free is on a first-come first-serve basis now as we have slowed down enough to be able to accommodate small repairs some of the time.

     

    I spoke with Working Bikes last week. We have a tentative date of 10/16 set for the big shipment. I spent a good hour and a half at the warehouse organizing bikes on Friday. This week and next I’ll schedule more trips out there with Parking to sufficiently prepare for the event. Over 500 bikes will need their pedals removed and handlebars turned. 200 of those will also need their front wheels removed.

     

    Thanks to Todd for picking up scrap over the weekend.

    This week I’ll build bikes and do more warehouse prep.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 114
    Sales: $553.60

    Memberships: 12 for $360
    Bikes (B-a-B): 2 for $60
    Tires/tubes: 18 for $98

     

    Thanks!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  20. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was steadily busy but with more minor repairs than B-a-Bs which kept things flowing nicely.

     

    New hire Hank started on Friday. Unfortunately, he’s tall so this shop won’t be friendly to him, height-wise. He’s been enthusiastic and willing to learn-as-you-go, which has been good.

    Last week I counted all the bikes in the warehouse. We’ve got approximately 504. Working Bikes is still interested but may be doing a full shipment from down here instead of carting the bikes back to Chicago. That will happen sometime next month, I believe. Details are still being ironed out.

    We also had Light The Night 2018! Barry did the counts but we didn’t sell out at Illinois/Lincoln and did at Alma.  

     

    This week I have a TBP meeting tonight and am teaching a Bike Maintenance 101 class tomorrow night from 7 – 8pm. Other than that, business as usual.

     

    Numbers:

    Visitors: 80
    Sales: $773.20
    Memberships: 14 for $420
    tire/tubes: 10 for $51

    Thanks!

     

    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

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