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Projects Updates for Campus Bike Center

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  1. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was exceedingly quiet. I closed up shop on Tuesday due to the wonky heating and the extreme cold. Since then, the heat has been operating at about 30% but that’s enough to get by. Fingers crossed it gets fixed this week.

    This week I will, weather permitting, be able to give final test rides and checks to the bikes I built up last week. I’ll also be building a shelving unit next to the bench grinder in an attempt to maximize some of the vertical space the shop allows for but is currently going unused. Beyond that it is business as usual.

    Visitors: 10
    Sales: $105

    No bike sales (refurb nor b-a-b) last week.

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  2. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Happy New Year! Before the holiday break I only worked a 2 day week. Nothing of note occurred. Although the records show we had 25 people in, so that’s cool.

    On to the numbers!

    Sales: $309.50
    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $180
    Bikes (B-a-B): 0 for $0
    Tubes: 2 for $8

    Stay warm!

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  3. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was slow and I did not need the assistance of the student staff. Thankfully, a couple of them were flexible enough to agree to an on-call situation if I needed them. That was a great help to know they were available if needed.

    Volunteer presence last week was surprisingly high. On Thursday we had five people in, all to volunteer. Accordingly, a lot of much-needed organizing and deep cleaning happened. For example: all used tubes have been accounted for: good ones sorted and marked, bad ones in their own pile.

    On Tuesday of last week I closed the shop for CPR-certification class. This week I will set up my other certification class for BBP.

    Last Monday I called in a service order as two of the three heater fans wouldn’t turn on. Thankfully, it has been warm enough and the one still operational fan has been putting out enough heat to keep it comfortable in here.

    I’ll be working today and tomorrow and then back at it January 2nd, 2018. (Weird to type!) Hope everyone has a lovely holiday and a happy new year!

    Visitors: 28

    Sales: $141.80
    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Misc. small parts: 26 for $26

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  4. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week I was sick and missed work on Wednesday. Other than that, it was uneventful. I’ve kept one student worker on per day to help, as it’s been busy enough to warrant it. That has been a pleasant turn of events—being this busy—but will likely end this week with finals happening and all.

    This week projects to be slow and I should be able to make some real headway with building up bikes for the Spring rush. I’ve got 14 for sale right now but will hopefully have about 20 by end of week.

    I have staff training from 11-4 tomorrow, so the shop will be closed as I cannot guarantee that I’ll be done in a timely manner. I’ll post on the website about it.

    The numbers:
    Sales: 281.25
    Memberships: 6 for $180

    Tubes: 3 for $14

    visitors: 41 for the week

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager

     

  5. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was predictably slow. I cut back almost entirely on student staff since long stretches of open hours were completely vacant of visitors. Thankfully a few student staffers wanted to work on their own bicycle projects and were able to jump in and help out when it got too busy for me to handle everyone on my own. Those instances were rare and brief, presenting a problem from a staffing prospective: not busy enough to keep someone there the whole day but busy enough that a second person is needed. Something to consider for the future is having something like an on-call staffer for the winter months to pitch in the very few times it gets busy.

    Last week we had a TBP/UIUC/CBC meeting that went well. We discussed the forthcoming Bike@illinois website and brainstormed other participants for their research/interviews. Barry and I talked afterwards about potentially implementing some better inventory-tracking ideas to get a better handle on sales/stock.

    This week I only work today (Monday) and then the shop will be closed until Tuesday, Nov. 28th.  I’ll post on the door and on the Bike Project website (and social media pages).

    Numbers:

    Visitors: 55
    Sales: $396.49
    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $70
    Bikes (B-a-B): 2 for $105
    Memberships: 1 for $30

    Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  6. ECS Bike Share Completed

    Facilities and Services division Engineering and Construction Services (ECS) has three bikes for employees to share for campus business. Check out is easy and the same as checking out a department car or truck. Two helmets are available for borrowing and lock keys are color coded to the bike they go to.

    Two of the three bikes were purchased through the Campus Bike Center, with locks and front baskets. The helmets came from Neutral Cycle. The whole project cost less than $750 and will have minimum maintenance each year.

    For questions about use please contact Lily Wilcock, lwilco2@illinois.edu.

     

  7. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was surprisingly busy. On Friday we had all the stands full and it was something like 35° outside. That’s encouraging! We even had one person in here in shorts! Our number of for-sale bikes is slowly creeping upward as demand wanes and we have time to build during open hours. From Wednesday to Friday Michael Merriman from Campus Rec borrowed the Bluebird cargo bike for trips between ARC and CRCE (due to construction, there is a lack of car/truck parking) and reported back that he loves it.

    This week I’ll continue to reduce hours for the student workers as well as cull a number of decrepit bikes and pull out the abandoned B-a-Bs. I’ll also begin looking at which student workers are graduating and how many positions I’ll have to fill come spring/summer when it gets busy again. Additionally, I’ll begin designing some new storage and stock solutions to help facilitate ease-of-use for newcomers. More and more I am tucking things away and stacking things upon other things and soon enough I am the only person who knows where anything is. That is bad and quite problematic to the mission and usability of the Campus Bike Center. If people can’t find anything they can’t use the space effectively. I’ll work on labeling/organizing and making things visible this week.

    On to the numbers!

    Visitors: 74
    Overall sales: $493.80
    Memberships: 3 for $90
    Refurb/B-a-B’s: 0 for $0
    Tubes/Wheels/Small Parts: 30 for $179.40

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  8. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was pretty uneventful. Visitor numbers are declining with the weather getting cooler. I’ve begun cutting back on the student staff as we get fewer and fewer visitors. We’ve got 9 refurbished bikes for sale. With fall coming on strong, I suspect we’ll see a lot of the in-progress build-a-bikes abandoned which can then be flipped for sale quicker than usual.

    This week I will coordinate with Parking to pick up the salvageable bikes from the warehouse as well as build bikes and take stock of inventory.

    The numbers:

    Visitors for the week: 62

    Sales: $187.35
    Refurbished bikes: 0 for $0
    Build-a-bikes: 0 for $0
    Memberships: 0 for $0 (Reinstated our First Visit Free policy, which has hurt these numbers.)
    Tires/tubes: 7 for $42

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  9. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, I was out of town yesterday, so this report is a day late.

    Last week was surprisingly busy despite the cooler weather. I thought for sure that the drop in temps would dissuade a lot of people but we still had full stands a few days of the week. More winter commuters, I hope!

    Wednesday afternoon was the Campus Sustainability Celebration that was a lot of fun and very informative. I met quite a few people involved elsewhere in the sustainability world on campus and was able to learn about some of the larger scale work being implemented. Good stuff!

    We’ve outpaced sales in Build-a-Bikes vs. refurbished bikes in the month of October, something that I think bodes well for the CBC. It definitely imparts a larger sense of ownership at the least and certainly more mechanical skill versus  buying our cheaper-than-retail bikes. I noticed this year a few of the bikes that we’ve sold as refurbs made it back in the warehouse after being abandoned; I haven’t found any B-a-Bs there. Obviously that is anecdotal evidence but I think it holds true.

    Last week I was able to rebuild the hanging bike racks in the back to accommodate better the bikes we have. I was interviewed for the New-Gazette story that ran on Sunday to positive reviews, I believe. Bikes are being built faster than they’re being sold now, and that bodes well for the Spring.

    Over the weekend I traveled to Austin, TX and was able to visit a bike cooperative space there and see some of the similarities and differences in their space and model of operation.

    The numbers:
    65 visitors last week
    Sales: $510.20
    Bikes (refurb): 0 for $0
    Bikes (B-a-b): 3 for $185
    Memberships: 4 for $120
    Tires/tubes: 4 for $19


    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  10. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, with warm temps last week the shop remained busy. Friday there was even a line for stand time. Wednesday morning was the bike census. It was wonderful weather for it and I think it went well! One CBC student staffer and a CBC volunteer extraordinaire volunteered for the event, which I was happy to see. Thanks, Leah and Rick!

    On Friday, a Bike Project Volunteer came and picked up all the scrap we’d accumulated in the last few weeks, which will help immensely in organizing and storage.

    Programming alerts: This week is the Campus Sustainability Celebration on Wednesday so the shop will be closed for that; and next Monday (30th) I will be out of town. I will post on the website and Facebook for both closings. (And of course, signage on the door.)

    On to the numbers:

    Visitors: 99
    Sales: $1,066.45
    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $159
    Bikes (B-a-B): 2 for $210
    Memberships: 10 for $300
    Tires/tubes: 24 for $124

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  11. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last Monday we had the bike warehouse move out event on Monday. As I mentioned last week, we moved out about 317 bikes. Some of the bikes we kept and moved back to the CBC have already been claimed as build-a-bikes, which is great. The rest will be cleared out at a TBD date.

    Belatedly announcing this but: Lily and I and Amy tabled at an event at the Union on October 5th.  It was a University employee expo of sorts. The very first person I spoke with was misinformed about safe passing distance for cars, something I was able to correct. It was a welcomed change and challenge to inform a lot of vehicular road users about how to interact with bicyclists and pedestrians, considering all the gripes I heard from employees about walkers and bikers—as most employees drive to work from out of town (or at least the ones I spoke with do). I was also pleased to see a lot of familiar faces of people that have visited the Campus Bike Center.

    This week is the bike census, happening on Wednesday. Hopefully we’ll get good weather and a good snapshot of the state of bicycle parking on campus.

    The numbers:

    Sales: $635.50

    Memberships: 13 for $390
    Bikes (Refurb): 0 for $0
    Bikes (B-a-b): 0 for $0
    Tires/tubes: 10 for $54

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  12. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, nothing major to report last week. Shop was open, people came in, same as usual. I coordinated with Working Bikes for our shipping event that happened yesterday. We packed up 317 bikes to go back to their warehouse in Chicago and then onto South Africa. There are still 67 bikes left that WB said they will return for later this fall. There is also a collection of the good bikes we are saving for ourselves. Those total about 50 or so.

    Our new policy of allowing for free used tubes hasn’t caused any problems. Maybe 5-10 people have taken us up on it. Surprisingly one person insisted on patching despite the free tube. That might change next Spring/Summer. It will also help to expedite peoples’ stand time, as it’s obviously quicker to grab a used tube than mess with patching.

    Tomorrow is the Bike Census. I will be helping Lily with that. I will also be shuttling the good bikes from the warehouse back to CBC and moving some over to the Urbana shop as well. CBC is currently packed to the gills with bikes.

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 91
    Sales (overall): $1,221.50

    Memberships: 11 for $330
    Bikes (refurb): 3 for $555
    Bikes (B-a-B): 0 for $0
    Tires/tubes: 18 for $132

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  13. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, the major news of last week was the Light The Night event. We installed roughly 870 light sets this year! We completely sold out, which is a first for me in the 4 or so years in which I’ve been involved with this event. With it still being warm out, I hope we can get some valuable feedback from people who’re using the lights in regards to which ones they like, how they’re performing, etc.

    Last week was also the Members’ Meeting for the Bike Project wherein it was decided that used tubes will henceforth be free of charge for in-shop repairs. While this will cut into profits, it is a better choice as we do not have the ability to maintain proper quality control with our used tube selection. If a person wants to buy a tube for later use, however, they must still pay for it.

    Late Friday I got a message from Working Bikes in regards to coordinating for emptying the Bike Warehouse. They would like to do the event next Monday (October 9th). I will discuss with the Bike Project and decide if this is doable.

    The numbers:

    Sales (overall): $867.95
    Memberships: 12 for $360

    Bikes (refurbished): 0
    Bikes (Build-a-Bike): 0
    Tires/Tubes: 26 for $180

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  14. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, The big event for last week was an unruly member who I had to kick out of the shop on Wednesday. Other than that, the week went smoothly.

    Lily and I tabled at the Volunteer Fair in the Union on Tuesday. We got a dozen or so signatures (maybe more?) for general volunteer interest in the Campus Bike Center and help with Light The Night.

    On Wednesday, I got a count of the bikes that we’ll be donating from the Bike Warehouse to Working Bikes. This year a portion of the bikes will be going to Houston to help with hurricane relief. Tally for the bikes was 332, give or take.  I will be coordinating with Working Bikes and Parking this week to finalize a date.

    This week is Light The Night on Tuesday. I will close the shop for the event. The signs for the event were dropped off on Friday.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 131
    Sales: $1,584.85
    Memberships:  24 for $720
    Bikes (Build-a-Bikes): 2 for $171
    Bikes (Refurbished): 0
    Tires/Tubes: 36 for $196

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  15. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week’s big news was the implementation of a new sign-in system that expedites the process and allows for better tracking of our members’ status (expired or current memberships). The new system scans membership cards, I-cards, and drivers’ licenses, tracks first visits, and requires zero interaction with a keyboard, saving minutes of valuable time and keeps things from bottlenecking at the entrance to the space when people are arriving. While there is a learning curve, those who’re familiar scan and record their visit in about 5 seconds as opposed to the usual 15-30 with our previous system.

    The program is still in development and kinks/concerns are addressed with the developer as they arise. The system does not track names, however, unless you are in our database system already. If that is a problem, as far as the University is concerned, please let me know so I can correct it.

    To the numbers:
    Visitors: 129
    Sales (overall): $2,200.20
    Bikes (refurb): 3 for $620Bikes (B-a-B): 3 for $304
    Memberships: 20 for $635
    Tires/Tubes: 40 for $208

    This week I will build bikes, attend a Volunteer Fair on Tuesday, and coordinate/organize for Light The Night. I anticipate continued high visitor numbers, as the weather continues its summer ways.

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  16. Weekly Update

    All, last week was fine. The student workers are getting into the swing of things. Those that were away for the summer are remembering how everything works and that in turn makes them a more helpful. Our suspension of “First Visit Free” has been received well; most people are amenable to the membership fee, even if they only have a very small repair. Only a couple instances of people complaining and they leave unhappy but on the whole I consider it a success. We’ve had a lot of people who’ve had to wait significantly for stand time even with the membership-required policy. It’s unfortunate, but also speaks to our success and the demand for the space. I’ll count it as a positive and a negative both.

    Visitors for the week: 154

    Last Friday we had a good-sized ride from the CBC totaling about 8 or so people. This time of year is especially well-suited for riding, which I hope translates to more interest.

    Last Tuesday was the first Fix-a-Flat class that Simon and Lily ran. From the both of them, it sounded like a success. This week 12-14 people have signed up, most appear to be grad students (not a bad thing).

    This week I will continue to publicize and talk up LTN as well as print off some basic text fliers for the event to hand out in advance. Funnily enough the younglings with their smartphones have been asking for fliers for the event! I’ll build bikes and organize, per usual, as well.


    Sales (overall): $1,533.10
    Bikes (refurb): 0 for $0 (we have two for sale!)
    Bikes (B-a-B): 2 for $143
    Memberships: 24 for $720
    Tire/Tubes: 47 for $283

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  17. Weekly Update

    All, last week was a blur! According to our sign-in data, we had 277 visitors. That seems high but numbers don’t lie. We were pretty much all-stands-full within the first half an hour. Unfortunately that means some members have had to wait for stands to work on their build-a-bikes. Nothing we can do about that, unfortunately.

    The numbers:
    Sales (overall): $1,867.60

    Bikes (refurbished): 1 for $180
    Bikes (B-a-B): 1 for $46
    Memberships: 26 for $780
    Tires/tubes: 47 for $244

    This week sees the beginning of the fix-a-flat class that Lily has shepherded into existence (Thanks, Lily!). I already have told people about that to much positive interest. There also is a community ride happening in the middle of the week that I will attend. I will also help with LTN preparations this week. A couple new student workers are starting this week, too, which will be good.

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  18. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was—according to the visitor numbers—an unprecedentedly busy week. According to our tracker for visitors we had 239 people into the shop last week. I pored over the list of visitors and cut down two duplicate sign-ins from the original 241, but other than that the numbers bear out: we averaged about 50 sign-ins per day. Most must have been those looking for bikes and since we’re sold out, moved on quickly, because the shop never felt unbearably busy.

    Sales: Overall: $1,865.70; refurbished bikes: 3 for $440; B-a-Bs: 3 for $199; memberships: 17 for $510; tires/tubes: for 31 for $147.

    Yesterday was Quad Day. I think it went very well. We handed out bike registration flyers and successfully registered a few people’s bikes thanks to the iPad Lily brought. I will be interested to see how many people show up for registration stickers this week (hopefully a lot). Most people did not realize it was required to register your bike on campus.

    On Friday, Lily, Scott (from Parking), Officer Briggs from UIPD and I had a meeting to discuss theft and removal of abandoned bikes on campus. We will have a follow up meeting at a TBD date to discuss ways to streamline removal of abandoned bikes without advertising that fact to thieves and the like as well as how to better educate students about bike registration and locking technique.

    This week I will build bikes, have volunteers count and sort all the Light The Night light sets, and attend the TBP member meeting. I will brainstorm ways to expedite the registration sticker procurement process here at CBC, as last week we had a long line of people who didn’t understand (despite many announcements) that they could do the majority of the registration process on their phones beforehand.

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  19. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, most notable thing last week: Everyone was very good about leaving in a timely manner. Two or three times the stands were empty and staff were cleaning up with a solid 10 minutes left for open hours. That was a pleasant surprise.

    The bulk of the LTN lights arrived last week. I will have a volunteer this week get a tally on total units received. Todd, TBP volunteer, came and picked up scrap on short notice, which was very helpful.

    Sales were good. Overall: $1,163.50; 2 refurbished bikes for $310; 3 B-a-Bs for $174; 6 memberships for $180; and 12 tires/tubes (used and new) for $131.

    This week I will build bikes, work on organization, and did I mention building bikes? There has been a strong demand for them. And while I love selling bikes, the retention rate on B-a-Bs is getting better, I think. The majority still abandon them but there have been a considerable number of people who stick with it and express an enjoyment and interest in working on bikes because of it. That’s a win in my book.

    This week I will also meet with Parking and UIPD about abandoned bikes on campus.

    Sincerely,

    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  20. Weekly Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, last week was fairly busy. We had a few days wherein there was extended waiting times for free stands. We had been averaging about 100 people in the space per week but this week we were at 117, and I’m sure there were half a dozen who we missed. As it nears the Great Student Migration we’ll see more and more visitors.

    Sales: Overall: $1,661.20; refurbished bikes: 6 for $860; Build-a-Bikes: 2 for $220; memberships: 4 for $120; tire/tubes (new and used): 20 for $117.

    On Friday a Bike Project volunteer and I went to the warehouse and picked up about 20 bikes for refurbishment, 3 of which were Neutral Cycle rental bikes that were mistakenly confiscated. I coordinated with their manager to return them. As I was leaving the warehouse two college-aged kids walked up asking if they could “get a bike for $10”. It was a little suspicious.

    This week I will process and hopefully build up a lot of the bikes we pulled from the warehouse. With more and more people returning to campus, demand for bikes is ramping up. On the one hand, when we are low on for-sale bikes, it curbs the entitled customer corporate/retail space idea that a lot of people have when they come here. On the other hand, less bikes available for people who want to ride is definitely a bad thing.

    I plan to deactivate our “One Free Visit For One Small Repair” policy this week, as demand for stands and space is approaching its yearly zenith. This was successful last year and was agreed upon at the last Bike Project meeting. I’ll reinstate One Free Visit sometime in October when we are no longer operating beyond capacity.

    Sincerely,

    - Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

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