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Projects Updates for Campus Bike Center

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  1. Weekly update: Busy week, Build-a-Bike, bike donations

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Surprisingly busy start to the semester! On Friday afternoon we even had a wait on stand time, which is unheard of for January. Unfortunately, that was partially due to allowing First Visit Free repairs, which left a couple due-paying members waiting. They didn’t mind but still. For how busy we’ve been I’m already wondering if we should be open 5 days a week. However, it has been a mild winter thus far; the real test will be how many folks show up after the projected snow on Wednesday. We also had one person select and start a B-a-B.

    This week I’ll schedule our staff meeting, some interviews, as well as receive a “vanload” of bikes from Champaign Cycle. They generally give us good quality stuff that we can put to use quickly, so fingers crossed. Additionally, we still have 100+ bikes to move out of the warehouse.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 37
    Sales: $961
    Bikes (refurb): 3 for $565
    Memberships: 7 or $210
    Tires/tubes: 7 for $39

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  2. Weekly Update: Shop re-open, Law school orientation

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last two weeks we’ve been closed so no sales/visit numbers. TBP members and I moved bikes from the warehouse, and I’ve been checking over the 30 or so new bikes for damage. Sarthak and I tabled at the Law School’s orientation last Thursday.

    This week we reopen. We’ll be open M/W/F 2 – 6p for the winter months and bump back to 5 days a week after spring break when the weather warms up.

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  3. Weekly Update: final week of semester, WCIA

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, The final week of last semester was, as expected, quiet. Very little traffic but Alex finally finished his Build-a-Bike. He’d been steadily and meticulously working on it all semester. We were able to fix up approximately 30 kids bikes here at CBC and totaled 50 for the event which happened on Saturday 12/17/22. We had 4 people bow out last minute to help for the event (thanks covid), so we had a skeleton crew but still gave away 50 bikes in about 20 minutes. The IMC staff were extremely helpful and stepped up to corral and organize folks when we were getting overwhelmed. Some folks left unhappy, I’m sure, but we still helped out a good number of kids. WCIA showed up just in time to get some footage of families departing with the last of the bikes and our story made the 10p news that night. I’ll reach out to WCIA and see if they can send me a digital copy of the broadcast so we can share that.

    This week I’ll be moving bikes from the warehouse and taking stock of our inventory, sorting bikes for our various programs, and working up some classes for next semester. Next week I’ll be tabling at College of Law orientation/resource fair. Always exciting to meet new/different groups on campus!

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 13
    Sales: $190

    Build-a-Bike: $40

     

    Thanks!

     

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  4. Weekly Update: Slow week

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Slow week again. A few more kids’ bikes trickled in, which was good. Our giveaway is this coming Saturday and we’re accepting bikes until Friday evening. A notice went out in E-week and the like so hopefully that’ll bump up our count. I haven’t taken inventory at Urbana for our total count but I’m guessing around 40 between both spaces.

    Tony, former Bike Project staffer and integral member in the creation of the original bike center in 2010 was back in town last week. He came and volunteered a full 4 hours and helped train up some staff, too.

    Our sales last week are at a record low. We had a few people in each day but looks like adjustments only, used innertubes, and no purchases. I’ll dig into the numbers this week to confirm it genuinely is that low and not an error.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 18
    Sales: $5.50

     

    Thanks!

     

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  5. Weekly Update (week of November 28): Kids bike give away, for-sale bikes

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, [Ed. note: Apologies for getting this in late.] We’ve finalized our Kid’s Bike Giveaway date/time with the Bike Project and have been working through our supply of donated bikes. Serendipitously we got nearly a half dozen kids bikes donated last week, even before we put the word out on the giveaway event.

    This week we kept working through that supply. I was out on Tuesday/Wednesday but visits have been lower since the cooler weather hit.

    While we’re working on the kids bikes we’ve also been able to fix up a few for-sale bikes, sitting at about 6 done and ready to go. Still have a large supply at the warehouse, which I’ll have more time to tackle after the 17th (date of the Kids Bike Event).

    Next week I’ll move over the finished kids bike to Urbana as we’re running out of space for them here.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 25
    Sales: $185.50
    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Misc. parts: 19 for $95.50

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  6. Weekly Updates for the week of 11/7 and 11/14

    [11.7.22] All, Last week we completed the bike donation event with Working Bikes. Thanks to some Bike Project volunteers we were able to pack their truck full of bikes in about an hour and a half. Unfortunately, they were unable to take all of the abandoned bikes as there are about 50 left. I’ll work with TBP to deal with the remaining junk bikes as well as the ~200 we’ll keep for refurbishment.

    Last Thursday we were donated another pull-behind trailer, upping our count to 3 of them now. I will discuss with TBP ideas to make better use of these, as they take up a lot of space and we have zero demand for them.

    This week we will reinstate the First Visit Free policy as the cooler weather sets in.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 47

    Sales: $508
    Bike (refurbished): 1 for $225
    Memberships: 1 for $30
    Tires/tubes: 12 for $61

    [11.14.22]

    All, I was out sick for a portion of the non-open hours, but we were still able to get a few bikes on the sales floor and strip some bikes. This week I’ll grab some more of the good bikes from the barn and we’ll get to fixing those. We reinstated First Visit Free and were able to help folks get rolling.

    I had an interview last Friday with a potential new hire and we’ll be having a staff meeting this week to get some of our new staff up to speed as well as provide a refresher for the returning staffers.

    Next week we will be closed for Thanksgiving break. We’ll reopen Monday, 11/28/22.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 45
    Sales: $434
    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $100
    Memberships: 4 for $120
    Tires/tubes: 8 for $103

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  7. Weekly Update: Reduced hours, Working Bikes this week

    All, While my jury duty service was still in effect, we had reduced hours as needed last week but were able to open fully Wed – Fri. It was the first week of noticeably fewer folks through the doors. As such, we got a few bikes on the sales floor and a dozen or so moved over from storage.

    Tomorrow we will host Working Bikes for our donation event. This is the first one since Nov 2019. We’ll have around 200 bikes to donate and hopefully will have a few folks available to help out and make it go quicker. They’ll be providing pizza for us, too. This event will halve the number of bikes left in storage. The Bike Project and I will sort through the remaining bikes in the coming weeks.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 43
    Sales: $475.50
    Build-a-Bikes: 2 for $100
    Memberships: 4 for $120

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  8. Weekly Update: Strong Towns, Bike Summit, potentially postponing Working Bikes

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was a busy one. We had Strong Towns talk on Tuesday and the Illinois Bike Summit on Wednesday. Got in some good networking, heard some interesting talks/discussions, and got buzzed by two MTD buses on my bike commute there and then one car on my ride back to the Bike Center. Oh, the irony.

    The cooler weather has curtailed our visitors, but we’ve had a few volunteers, too—always nice.

    Grabbed some bikes from the warehouse last week and will continue to do so as I can this week. I have jury duty potentially all this week and next week, which majorly mucks up my plans for setting up with Working Bikes since I can’t plan past day-to-day. Likely will have to bump that to early November unless circumstances change.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 42
    Sales: $266
    Memberships: 3 for $90
    Tires/tubes: 3 for $20

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  9. Weekly Update: Strong Towns, Bike Summit, Working Bikes

    All, Big week of events! On Tuesday, Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns is speaking at the Illinois Terminal and I’ll attend to see how our work as bike advocates and a non-profit can help bolster a strong and vibrant community. And Wednesday is the Illinois Bike Summit at the I-hotel. I’ll be there all day and reducing hours at the Bike Center to account for that. Accordingly, we’ll be open 4 – 6p on that day. I never fail to learn something at this yearly event and am happy to see it back here on campus.

    I’ll be counting/organizing bikes for donation as well this week. Hope to have the Donation Day set by end of the week and so we can begin rallying for some support/help. WB has already agreed to pay for Manolo’s!

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 51

    Sales: $1,214.50

    Memberships: 17 for $510
    Tire/tubes: 8 for $94

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  10. Weekly Update: Slower times, Business Hours, Sorting abandoned bicycles

    All, Slower times here at the Bike Center (in terms of visitors). We’re almost slow enough that we can reinstate the First Visit Free policy. Not quite there, as we’ll have lulls but pick back up again.

    It was discovered that the CBC Google Business hours were not updated when we moved to M – F, which explains why we we’ve been so slow on Tues/Thurs. That has since been corrected so we’ll see if that impacts visit numbers this week.

    Last week I started sorting bikes at the warehouse for shipment/donation. We’ll be saving even more bikes than usual as we’re critically low on consumable parts like tires.

    We managed to rehab a Huffy to an acceptable degree. The frame was in good shape and we piloted a new freewheel system that should hopefully help keep those types of bikes rideable for longer. That bike sold in about 20 minutes. Demand for cheap bikes is evergreen.

    This week I’ll do more sorting at the warehouse and coordinating the donation, an interview or two, and otherwise business-as-usual.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 78
    Sales: $479.50
    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $70
    Memberships: 5 for $150
    Tires/tubes: 9 for $58

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  11. Weekly Update: iSEE interview, Replenishing bike stock, Working Bikes

    All, With the onset of cooler weather, we have seen a decrease in visitor numbers. But that has also correlated with a decrease in available for sale bikes.

    Last week I had an iSEE student come by to interview me and talk all things bikes, so I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for that story. All publicity is good publicity!

    This week I’ll start counting/sorting bikes for the Working Bikes donation—actual date TBD—including moving some of the keeper bikes to the Bike Center to replenish our stock of B-a-Bs and For Sales.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 72
    Sales: $958.25

    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $135
    Memberships: 14 for $420
    Tires/tubes: 15 for $70

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  12. Weekly Update: BTWD, LTN, Build-a-Bike, very busy this week

    All, Real busy times last week. Shop was manageably busy, but we had BTWD and LTN on consecutive days. Both events went well. I spent more time at the DRES stop than the Bike Center station, which was a new experience. Lots of folks on that route, and I was able to talk route-planning and commuting strategy with some people new to commuting. Weather cooperated swimmingly.

    We had a deluge of completed B-a-Bs last week. Always good to see the smiling faces of rewarded effort. Marketing folks came by and updated some of our filing cabinets and bins with printed (legible) labels and photos of contents to better help people find and identify parts. We’re still slower on Tue/Thurs as we work to get the word out that we’re now open those days as well.

    We’ll work this week on a couple shop builds we’ve been too busy to finish, prep for the abandoned bike giveaway, and clean shop as we’ve been too busy to do much of any of that in the last two weeks.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 86
    Sales: $1,084.30
    Bikes (B-a-B): 3 for $150

    Memberships: 17 for $510
    Tires/tubes: 10 for $59

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  13. Weekly Update: Bike to Work Day and Light the Night this week, Abandoned bicycles

    All, The visitor numbers seem low for how busy it felt this past week. Had a few students step up, volunteer, and enjoy it enough to come back in the last few weeks. That’s always a good sign we’re doing something right.

    I was out Thursday/Friday and my staff handled the Bike Center in my absence. No major issues, so I call that a success.

    We’ve got BTWD and LTN this week, back-to-back days, on Wed then Thursday. Weather looks good (at this point).

    This Friday is the last day for students to claim their abandoned bikes so my staff and I will count the remaining ones that we’ll be able to use. From there, I’ll coordinate with Working Bikes to pick up the rest—potentially as soon as next week. The influx of bikes will be a boon to for our programs as we look to build back stock.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 49
    Sales: $895
    Memberships: 15 for $450
    Bikes (B-a-B): 1 for $50
    Tires/tubes: 15 for $70

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  14. Weekly Update: Open weekdays, BTWD, LTN

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, This week we begin being open the full week (minus Monday for Labor Day). Hopefully we’ll be able to better help folks, as we’ve had lines for stand time most days during our M/W/F schedule.

    We’re out of bikes but have been selling a good number of memberships. I’ll be out on Thurs/Fri but my staff will cover.

    We’ve taken a step back technologically and had good results: Printed membership forms are easier for folks to fill out, take less time, and we have more clipboards than computers which means we can get people working on their bikes sooner. Manually entering the forms afterwards and the environmental toll are worth it during these super-busy times.

    I’ll do some prep on my end for BTWD and LTN next week.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 102
    Sales: $1,865
    Bikes (refurb): 4 for $655
    Memberships: 24 for $720
    Tires/tubes: 22 for $144

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  15. Weekly Update: High demand for refurbished bikes, Dangerous driving behaviour

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, We’re down to two oddball bikes for sale here at the Bike Center. Demand remains high; donations remain low. We’re still helping plenty of folks, though. Visitor numbers support that.

    Had a staff meeting last Thursday and then Friday was quite busy, but we were adequately staffed, which was a welcomed change. Unfortunately, the rest of the days are still in-progress in that department.

    Neil St and Stadium Dr remains an ever-dangerous section of campus as I was victim this morning to a dangerous driver barreling past me—on the right, no less—at the underpass.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 157

    Sales: $2,140
    Bikes (refurb): 4 for $595
    Bikes (B-a-B): 1 for $50
    Memberships: 28 for $840
    Tires/tubes: 28 for $219

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  16. Weekly Update: Student rush, Very high demand for sale bikes

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, The student rush looms this week. We won’t nearly be able to meet demand for sale bikes, nor for helping with DIY repairs with our current staffing levels but we’ll soldier on. I’ve got a couple interviews lined up this week to help on that front and at least one bike donated over the weekend to help with our sales.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 28

    Sales: $1,742.50
    Bikes (refurb): 5 for $1,080
    Memberships: 9 for $270
    Tires/tubes: 17 for $91

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  17. Weekly Update: Refurbished bicycles, Abandoned bikes

    All, We’re quickly approaching zero stock for refurbished bikes. One particularly eager patron bought two of our more expensive road bikes back-to-back last week. Thankfully, we received 3 bikes in very-good-to-great condition that should—fingers crossed—be on the sales floor for Wednesday.

    We’re in the beginning stages of clearing out abandoned bikes. Approximately 200 will go to CBC/TBP so that’ll help our inventory. The abandoned bikes at the rack in front of the bike center were cut this morning, cleaning up and clearing space for folks to lock there. We’ll be better able to see if any donations have been left, as well.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 21
    Sales: $1,646.75
    Bikes (refurb): 3 for $1,025
    B-a-B: 1 for $50
    Tires/tubes: 15 for $113

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  18. Weekly Update: Social Ride, Build-a-Bike

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Two weeks back we received three nicer bikes as donations which have proven to be quick fixes. Visit numbers were surprisingly low on Wednesday but that gave us some time to catch up on the piles of wheels and bikes we needed to strip down for parts. Sunday was the Bike Project social ride. On Monday we had a Build-a-Bike completed—a decent hybrid is a great improvement over a too-small roadmaster!—and on Friday we had another member start a Build-a-Bike.

    Got an interview for a new hire this week, the Bike Project Members’ Meeting tonight, and one more of the nicer bikes to fix up.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 19

    Sales: $800.50

    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $170

    Build-a-Bike: 1 for $50
    Memberships: 8 for $240

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  19. Weekly Update: Build-a-Bike, New Hire, Community Bike Ride on Thursday

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, I was out Mon - Thurs last week sick. My staff covered admirably but, invariably, there are things they were uncomfortable taking on. Just an opportunity for further training! We had one Build-a-Bike be completed and another almost made it out the door at the last minute on Friday.

    On Friday we had a visitor from Danville who is working on an Eagle Scout program rehabbing old bikes and donating them to local charities. We were able to donate 3 bikes and a handful of parts.

    We also had a new hire start on Friday, received a handful of nice bike donations earlier in the week, and will process those donations this week. We’ll also work on getting a few more bikes on the sales floor as we approach August. Or maybe more accurately: AUGUST. It’ll be a doozy of a month.

    On Sunday, July 31st, The Bike Project is hosting a community bike ride, so we’ll let folks know about that.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 18*
    Sales: $499
    Bikes: 1 for $200
    Build-a-Bike: 1 for $50
    Memberships: 1 for $30

    *Likely higher actual #; technical difficulties in my absence.

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

  20. Weekly Update: Bike sales, Build-a-Bike, Bike Rodeo

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Business as usual this last week. Still can’t keep enough bikes on the sales floor to meet demand but we have had an uptick in Build-a-Bikes. One B-a-B was finished on Friday and another started the same day.

    This week we are helping out with a Safe Routes to School Bike Rodeo program by providing the basketball courts for their learn to ride course.

    Thanks to Todd for putting a sizeable dent in our scrap pile, as we’ve been getting a lot of non-repairable bikes donated lately (unfortunately).

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 29

    Sales: $862
    Bikes (refurb): 2 for $235
    Bikes (B-a-B): 1 for $50
    Memberships: 6 for $180

    Tires/tubes: 14 for $136

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Coordinator

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