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Projects Updates for Campus Bike Center

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  1. Weekly Update - Bike Month discussion, Fix-a-Flat, Working Bikes

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was uneventful. Without traffic during hours we were afforded a lot of quality sorting/scrapping time.
    On Wednesday I met with F&S, Urbana/Champaign, and CCB to discuss Bike Month/BTWD planning and to reflect on this year’s Light The Night. We’ve set the date for Bike To Work Day as Friday, May 1st.
    Thursday was our Fix-a-Flat class that was a no-show unfortunately. However, it’s pretty much winter so attendance was expected to be low.
    Big news for this week is that we’ll be hosting Working Bikes again this year to help us alleviate our abandoned bikes problem. They’ll be down this Friday from about 11am – 2pm packing up bikes to take back with them to Chicago. TBP and I will be there on Wednesday to clear out the good ones. I’ve got a couple staffers who said they’re available to help but I’ll put the word out with TBP to see if we can stir up some more volunteers. The more the merrier!
    The numbers:
    Visitors: 67
    Sales: 171.50
    Bike (B-a-B): 2 for $65
    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Tire/tubes: 1 for $5

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  2. Weekly Update - Working Bikes, Fix-a-Flat. Bicycle Food Drive

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was productive! We continued counting everything and made some real progress cleaning up here at the shop. I’ll be doing a walk-through this week with TBP on what to keep and not keep. I went to the bike barn and counted bikes: We’ve got 277 to donate to Working Bikes and 56 to keep. Those numbers are rough counts and not exact. Things are relatively organized over there now. Once we set a date for them coming down I’ll move all the bikes we want to keep out of there. Fingers crossed for an easier go of it this time around!
    This Thursday we have our Fix-a-Flat class at 11am. Doubtful turnout will be great. It is November, after all.
    On Saturday the Bike Project is hosting a bicycle food drive. All donations go to Eastern Illinois Foodbank, and we’ll be promoting that over here at the Bike Center. It’s a fun event I’ve participated in for years. 

    This week we’ll keep paring down our stock and keep cleaning up in advance of our TBD move!
    The numbers:
    Visitors: 61
    Sales: $527
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $170
    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Tires/tubes: 10 for $53

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  3. Weekly Update - Working Bikes

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Steady week, surprisingly. We even had a waiting list one day. Generally, though, things have slowed down. We’re still getting our inventory tallied up. We’ve got 6 bikes for sale with a few more to come.

    Last week I counted and moved bikes around at the warehouse. I’ll be doing more of that this week with the help of some of my student staff. I have reached out to Working Bikes about coming down to collect our unusable bikes. I’ll have a better idea of just how many bikes that’ll be after this week.
    This week we’ll be keeping on with the inventory/pitching junk, organizing the parts we keep, building up the good bikes, and the aforementioned warehouse bike fun.

    The numbers:

    Sales: $318
    Memberships: 5 for $150
    Tires/tubes:  8 for $30

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  4. Weekly Update - BFU status, What to Wear, Build-a-Bike

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Despite the cooler weather the shop was still relatively busy all week. On Thursday or Friday we even had a waiting list.
    In other news, we achieved Silver status for our Bicycle Friendly University! Congrats to all those involved.

    Last Thursday night we had our What To Wear class at ARC. It went well. 3 people stopped by and we covered all there is to riding in colder weather. Thankfully the people who came already had well-equipped bikes for the muck and suck of the winter elements so it was mostly talking details of clothing choice and how much salt/snow/ice can impair the function of your bike. Fun times!
    Also of note was our 3(!) Build-a-Bikes completed last week, two of which were done on Thursday. When that program works, it is empowering like none other. Unfortunately, it’s a big hill to climb.

    Elsewhere, I’ve been having Staff and volunteers count our used and new parts to compile a master list of inventory. It’s tedious but important to be able to figure how much stuff we’ll be moving the new CBC.

    Thanks to Todd for grabbing scrap over the weekend.

    This week we’ll continue to purge and pare down our inventory, build bikes, and keep plugging away at prep for our move.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 96
    Sales: $616.25
    Memberships: 8 for $240
    Bikes (refurb): 0
    Bikes (B-a-B):  3 for $266
    Tires/tubes: 17 for $76


    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  5. Weekly Update - Bike Maintenance 101, First visit free

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, We’ve slowed down enough to offer the First Visit Free option again, which has its plusses and minuses but is at least consistent with our website/literature on the topic.

    Last week we had our Bike Maintenance 101 class. Three attendees came, despite the cold and rain, so that was awesome. I think all of them had issues with their own bikes that precipitated their interest in the class and two of them said they’d be back to fix their bikes. A success!
    One bike was on the donation rack this morning. Another small bike but of good quality that’ll hopefully fix up quickly.
    I got in touch with someone from the Fine and Applied Arts to see if there’s any interest in using some of our scrap metal to keep it out of the dump but that was a dead end. I’ll still try to think of ways to keep our scrap pile a little smaller since we’re frequently at-or-beyond capacity. I think overall, we don’t have enough venues through which to repurpose a bicycle beyond B-a-B and Shop Builds. Something to think about.
    This week if we’re slow I’ll have the student staff do a deep dive on our used parts inventory to get a better picture of just how many bike parts we’re storing here. Additionally, we have our What to Wear info session at ARC on Thursday evening from 7 – 8p.

     

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 82
    Sales: $677.75
    Memberships: 14 for $420
    Tire/tubes: 14 for $79

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  6. Weekly Update - Light the Night, Fix-a-Flat, Bike Maintenance 101

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Much like the weather, we’ve been starting off cold and slow most days and heating up by the end. We’ve been weaving in and out of our FVF policy as I’ve felt bad turning people away when the shop is empty. But then, of course, in a blink of an eye we’re All Stands Full and members are waiting for stand time, which seems unfair.
     

    We had Light The Night on Thursday and that was a success from what I saw of it. Two CBC staffers helped out with the event in my absence as the shop was too busy for me to be able to get away for the whole event.
     

    We also had our Fix-a-Flat class on Friday. We had one participant. He was eager, engaged and said he’d be back for the next class, which was great.
    This week we have our Bike Maintenance 101 class on Friday and I’ll be doing a training with a new hire.

     

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 80
    Sales: $2,108
    Bikes (refurb): 3 for $640
    Bikes (B-a-B): 1 for $400
    Tires/tubes: 15 for $59

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  7. Weekly Update - Light the Night, Fix-a-Flat, Free Visits

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Abbreviated week for me as I was out of town Thursday and Friday. I’ll check in with my staff this week and see how things went in my absence.

    There are 6 bikes on the outside rack from this weekend but unfortunately one or two are locked up as if it’s a regular bike rack. Whoops!

    This week will be busy as we have Light The Night on Thursday and our second Fix-a-Flat class on Friday. I’ll be talking up the F-a-F class incessantly this week in hopes of increasing participation numbers. For LTN I’ll be splitting my staff up between the shop and the event for the time that they overlap.


    We have been oscillating back and forth between allowing for Free Visits and not depending on how busy we are and how well-staffed we are at that time. So that points to things getting a little calmer (thankfully). Addressing the burnout my staff and I feel during these very busy beginning months will be a task for the winter.


    Moving all the kids bikes over to Salt & Light didn’t end up happening last week so I’ll shoot for getting those out this week. It’ll help with clearing everything out for our move. Exciting times!
     

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 96
    Sales: $1,242.50
    Memberships: 16 for $480
    Bikes (refurb): 2 for $225
    Bikes (B-a-B): 1 for $57
    Tires/tubes: 20 for $92

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  8. Weekly Update - Earn-a-Bike, Light the Night

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was busy, per usual this time of year. TBP and I met with Circle Cycle to discuss their Earn-a-Bike program using abandoned bikes on campus. I interviewed two applicants and will be hiring them. The light sets for the LTN event arrived on Wednesday and were expeditiously moved to the Urbana shop, saving some space over here. Two bike donations were on the rack when I pulled in this morning.

    This week I’ll be taking the large pile of kids bikes over to Salt & Light to donate. I’ll also be meeting with F&S Sustainability and VeoRide to discuss bike share on campus. I’ll be out of town Thursday and Friday. I’ll arrange for the student staff to cover for me.

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 101
    Sales: $1,463.00

    Memberships: 19 for $570
    Bikes (refurb): 2 for $400
    Bikes (B-a-B): 2 or $120
    Tires/tubes: 28 for $107

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  9. Weekly Update - First Visit Free still suspended, Fix-it Stations need repair,

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Still busy! I went over to the warehouse last week and picked up some of the nicer, minimally-broken bikes over there. One only needed air in the tires and a few minor tweaks to be roadworthy. It’s already on the sales floor. Will hopefully have a few more of those to churn out this week. I also returned 3 Chambana Bikes to Neutral Cycle.
    We’re still suspending the First Visit Free policy here. We’ve been less than at-capacity for the first hour or two every day which is a harder sell but haven’t had too much trouble. I frankly wouldn’t mind seeing the suspension extended well into the fall as it helps to weed out people who aren’t at all interested in doing the work in the first place. I often wonder how many people are in the shop to genuinely learn and how many are here because we’re cheaper than every bike shop in town… Just something to think about.

    Got more complaints about the broken fix-it pumps. One guy on the phone seemed especially frustrated since he’d been to 3 – 4 pumps across campus. I sent him over to Neutral Cycle since he was in that neighborhood already.
    I have a couple interviews for some new hires this week. I already got a couple questions about Light The Night, which was surprising and welcome. I guess after 10+ years people are beginning to expect it. I also spoke with a U of I alum who’s interested in starting some similar DIY/education programming over at a small school in Indiana where he teaches. I gave him my card and flyer for TBP in case he wants to pick our brains a little more on the subject.

     

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 102
    Sales: $933.60
    Memberships: 18 for $540
    Tires/tubes: 20 for $116

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  10. Weekly Update - Long waitlist

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was crazy busy. A couple of my staffers were sick or injured, leaving me well understaffed. We had a waiting list 2 – 3 deep every day. On Friday there were six or so people on the waiting list and I think most just abandoned the idea of being able to get any fixing time. Our model of first come, first served is a little problematic in that way—especially when stands are occupied with B-a-Bs that last the entirety of open hours. Down the line, separating open hours from B-a-Bs might be a good idea for the super crazy months.
    This week I am heading over to the warehouse to look at this year’s crop of bikes. Parking said there are hardly any good ones but I’m fine with that. Fewer total bikes is a win in my book!
    Thanks to Todd for grabbing scrap this weekend.

     

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 89
    Sales: $1,282.20
    Memberships: 25 for $750
    Build-a-Bike: 2 for $65
    Tire/tubes: 18 for $139

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  11. Weekly Update - Build-a-Bike, Quad Day, First Visit Free suspended

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Busy week, per this time of year. We’re down to two bikes for sale. We’ll be suspending the First Visit Free policy this week as we’re getting too busy to accommodate free repairs. We’ve got a few of the “You don’t have a bike, I guess I’ll build one!” B-a-Bs going. Fortunately the current crop of available bikes are in good shape and don’t need anything too intense and intensive done to get them road worthy. There may be a few crusty-bearing wheels walking out but this is not the time of year for perfection.
    Friday we were closed for Campus Recreation Student Staff Training, which went well. Saturday was our Illini Frenzy and Sunday was Quad Day, so it’s been busy to say the least. This week I’ve got a job recruiting opportunity this evening at the ARC from 8 – 9p. I’ll be attending that. Thursday after hours there’ll be a staff training for the Bike Center staff. So a fair bit of extracurricular activity this week!

     

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 123*
    Sales: $2,278.60
    Bikes (refurb): 10 for $1,475
    Memberships: 13 for $390
    Tires/tubes: 10 for $38

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  12. Weekly Update - Welcome Week, Registrations, Bike Sales

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Welcome Week technically might be this week but last week really felt like it here at the Bike Center. Our visitor numbers were higher, a lot of people in for registrations and lots of bike sales.
    If our refurb bike sales hold steady from last week, we’ll be out of bikes before the semester even starts. While not great, it’s also not our mission to just sell bikes. Where’s the education in that?

    This week it is business as usual with the exception of Friday when we will be closed for Staff Training for all Campus Recreation employees. Obviously we’ll try to crank out some builds. We’ve still got a large pile of wheel donations to get through. That’ll help with the constant storage issues.
     

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 75
    Sales: $2,349
    Memberships: 6 for $180
    Bikes (refurb): 12 for $1,835
    Tire/tubes: 6 for $45

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  13. Weekly Update - Bike Sales, Scrap bikes, Light the Night, Reorganizing the shop

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Monday and Friday of last week I was out of the shop. Student staff covered for me with minimal issues. We’ve been selling bikes pretty steadily now, and that number will likely only rise the closer we get to the school year starting.
    Big thanks to Todd for clearing out the huge pile of scrap bikes. More room is always good!
    This week we have a LTN discussion so we can get moving on that and a TBP-UIUC meeting. Additionally, I’ll be reorganizing the back of the shop since we have so much new space, setting up a staff meeting for my student staff in advance of the crazy semester rush, and processing the inventory that came in late last week.

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 45 (computer trouble kept that number lower than it actually was)
    Sales: $1,215.00
    Memberships: 3 for $90

    Bikes (refurb): 6 for $925

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  14. Weekly Update - Bike Sales, Rodeo on campus

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, I was out of town on Friday and Monday so this is a little belated.
    Last week was good. We’ve been selling bikes a little more steadily. Tally of For Sale bikes: 16. We’ve got a few more that need final safety checks to get going so I’ll hope to get that number a little higher, especially as we approach the beginning of the academic year. On Thursday morning I did a Rodeo on campus with Cynthia and a couple of the student staff. It went really well! Kids seemed jazzed, enjoyed riding the bikes, and the basketball court was perfect for the skills course.

    No issues having the students cover for me and thanks to Todd for grabbing the scrap.

    This week I’ll be out on Friday for a Campus Recreation Staff Retreat. I’ll have Chris or Theo cover for me. We’re short on some supplies so I’ll get an order in with one of our suppliers for consumables.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 69
    Sales: $743
    Memberships: 8 for $240
    Bike (refurb): 3 for $320
    Tire/tubes: 14 for $81

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  15. Weekly Update - Bike collection, Scrap Bins, Outreach to Engineering students

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Things were slow-to-comfortably-busy last week. A new employee started. On Tuesday I picked up 30+ bikes from JSM. Only about 1/3 of the bikes were of any quality. The rest we have been steadily scrapping. Consequently we’re pretty maxed out on our scrap bins. One of the good bikes was built up in record time on Friday. A Structural Engineering PhD student rolled in around 2:30 – 3 and finished building the bike a little after 5:30. Most of the bike was in good condition. While he worked I spoke with him about getting engineering students into the Bike Center to try some physical, practical applications to their studies. While he couldn’t get students in to CBC himself, it was encouraging that he agreed it would be a good idea.

    I spoke with my Parking Dept contact. Abated bikes have been collected. There are significantly fewer collected than in prior years. Whether that is due to VeoRide, education/awareness, or simply a diminished area of collection (due to construction), it’s hard to say. Bottom line is less work for me and my staff!
    This week I’ll be taking Friday afternoon off. I’ll be out of the office on Monday and Tuesday of next week as well. Chris will cover hours. Next week’s report, accordingly, will happen on Wednesday.

     

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 75
    Sales: $1,282.90
    Bikes (refurb): 6 for $810
    Bikes (B-a-B): 2 for $50
    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Tires/tubes: 17 for $89

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  16. Weekly Update - New Hire, Heat, and JSM Haul

    Associated Project(s): 

    All,

    This past week was abbreviated due to the sweltering and oppressive heat. We closed Thursday and Friday. The rest of the week wasn’t too busy, either.

     

    I had a training with a new hire, purged some old parts, and worked on shop builds.

     

    This week I’ll pick up “quite a few” bikes from JSM that they have ready for us, keep purging some of the old junk, and safety check the student-built bikes.

     

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 42
    Sales: $724

    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Bikes (refurb): 3 for $475
    Bikes (B-a-B): 2 for $55

    Tires/tubes: 7 for $$43

     

    Thanks!

     

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  17. Weekly Update - Keeping it Cool and Returned Bike

    Associated Project(s): 

    All,

     

    The one day last week that it wasn’t blazing hot was the one day we were really busy. But we’re always at the whim of the weather. Other than the one busy day, it was business as usual.

     

    We got a new giant fan delivered by the maintenance crew which has been a great help. Keeps things manageably cool in here. Don, the guy we did a bike exchange with, brought us a case of bottled water from Meijer, which was also awesome.

     

    The real big news was the bike we were able to return to its rightful owner. A woman donated a bike that she said was abandoned in front of her apartment. With assistance from Durst, we were able to track down the original owner who came and picked it up on Friday. It was a good start to the weekend!

     

    Outside of the regular day-to-day I’ll be training a new hire and looking to rig up some weatherproofing for the garage doors to keep it a little cooler in here as we look towards the super-hot end of the week we’re expecting.


    Numbers:
    Visitors: 75
    Sales: $582.75
    Bikes (refurb): 3 for $301
    Membership: 3 for $90
    Tire/tubes: 11 for $60

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  18. Weekly Update - Collection of Abandoned Bikes

    Associated Project(s): 

    All,

     

    Last week was truncated a bit by the long holiday weekend. We were only open Mon – Wed.

    I trained a new employee last week and had her start. I was also informally notified that two current staffers will most likely step away from working here at CBC in the next few weeks. The timing worked out pretty well with the two new staffers coming on board. That should get me through the remaining summer months.

     

    Two bikes left on the bike rack outside when I got in this morning, so that’s still helping.

     

    This week I’ll be doing more training with the new staffers, schedule and hold a staff meeting for my team, and the regular schedule of organizing, cleaning, and building.

     

    Thanks!

     

    Numbers:
    Visitors: 51
    Sales: $371
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $200
    Membership: 3 for $90
    Tires/tubes: 6 for $28

     

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

     

  19. Weekly Update - Build-a-Bike, Bicycle Donations,

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was comfortably busy. We had all-stands-full for a few days but no waiting patrons. A few build-a-bikes have been started, which is welcome. Shop builds are humming along, more or less. A new sign-in computer should be arriving this week. Donations are still coming in fairly regularly. We’ve got a stockpile of 10 or so kids bikes that I’ll aim to take to Salt & Light this week.

    We built up and donated a bike to Campus Recreation Intramurals last week.

    The students covered for me during my staff retreat on Friday. There was only one or two minor hiccups and they were my fault.

    This week I’ll game plan for more volunteer tasks, do some long-overdue sorting, organizing, and purging in the new-stock area, safety check shop builds, and set up a July staff meeting for my team.

     

    Numbers:

    Visitors: 78

    Sales: $683.50
    Bike (refurb): 2 for $290
    Build-a-Bike: 1 for $30

    Memberships: 5 for $150
    Tire/tube: 6 for $34

     

    Thanks!

    - Jake

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