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Projects Updates for Campus Bike Center

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  1. Weekly Update: Bike sales, Fix-a-Flat, Friday Ride

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Much like the weather, we were up and down this past week. Sold a bike to a gentleman who’s planning to ride a portion of the Katy Trail in Missouri with his young daughter. I’ll take it as a good sign for future generations that I’m seeing young kids in here repeatedly.
    This week we’ve got a couple extra curriculars with our Fix-a-Flat class on Wednesday night and our first Friday Ride. I’ll meet with my staff to iron out the details for those two events.
    I’ll also be attending TBPs monthly meeting tonight.
    The numbers:

    Visitors: 20
    Sales: $691

    Bikes (refurb): 3 for $500
    Membership: 1 for $30
    U-locks: 3 for $63 (yay safety!)

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  2. Weekly Update: Getting busier, fixing bikes

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, We’re definitely getting busier as we creep closer to “Everyone Rides” weather.
    Highlight of the week was a dad and daughter coming in with the daughter’s bike. Bad freewheel so we took it apart and cleaned/re-greased it. That kid was into it! She was eager as all get-out, loved every step of the process, refused dad’s help on multiple occasions, and wanted to know all the names of all the bike parts. A model visitor. Dad loved our education/recycling mission and shared a disheartening story about government-mandated lawnmower obsolescence.

    Elsewhere, I got some IT things sorted out that will help the bike center run more smoothly, picked up some bikes from the warehouse, and hired a new employee to help in advance of the warm/busy times.
    This week I’ll have the aforementioned employee start, host a staff meeting on Wednesday evening, and sit in on the SSC Coffee Hour for Transportation & Infrastructure on Thursday.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 16
    Sales: $511
    Memberships: 5 for $150
    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $180
    Misc: $88

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  3. Weekly Update: Busy week!

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Monday of last week we were as busy as we’ve been since March 2020—if not longer. Warm and sunny tends to do that. I’m sure our new signage isn’t hurting things! Friday picked up as well. We even had someone waiting in the lobby for an open repair stand. It’ll be nice when we can space the stands a little closer and fit a few more in the workshop.
    Last week I interviewed for a potential new hire and a different new hire started last week. He hit the ground running, which was really great, and needed.
    We got TBP some keys to help handle the scrap parts, so that will keep things cleaner around here. On Friday maintenance guys installed garage hook racks from which to hang wheels. I’ve already hung a bunch of wheels up which both makes the wheels more accessible and keeps the space looking cleaner/safer (no one can trip on wheels if they’re not on the ground)!

    This week we’ve got a couple drop-off repairs to handle, some bikes to grab from the warehouse, and some training to do with staff to prep them for busier times.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 29
    Sales: $311
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $200
    Membership: 1 for $30
    Misc: $46

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  4. Weekly Update: Things picking up, second staffer

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Things picked up a little on Thursday/Friday last week as the weather began to turn. We also had two drop-off repairs come in, a Kids Bike Giveaway donation, a bike sale, and a membership sale. Todd from TBP picked up some scrap, which was super helpful. I’m working on getting him a key so he can stay on top of our scrap pile.

    This week is projecting to be warmer and accordingly, I’ll bring on a second staffer for hours for Mon, Tues, Wed. I’ll make arrangements to grab some bikes from the warehouse, as well, since we’ve worked through our current bikes. Now we just need to sell them so we’ll have space for more.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 17
    Sales: $311
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $200
    Memberships: 1 for $30
    U-lock: 1 for $21
    Tire/tube: 4 for $15
    Misc: $45

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  5. Weekly Update - Fix-a-flat

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Fairly slow week even with the “warmer” weather. Had our first fix-a-flat class for the semester but no takers, unfortunately.

    This week I’ll finish up the Bike Center history piece for marketing and have a training scheduled with a new staffer on Thursday evening. I’ll pick up some more bikes as well since we’ve worked through all the bikes in the shop, already. We’ve exceeded designated capacity for bikes already but the more we build, the more we can sell when it gets warm—hopefully.

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 12
    Sales: $208
    Memberships: 4 for $120
    Misc: $52.50
    Tire/tubes: 3 for $22

     

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  6. Weekly Update: Bad weather slows down business

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week’s weather was brutal and thus, very slow for us.

    We made it through the bikes I picked up at the warehouse a week prior. A couple good ones and couple damaged-beyond-repair ones. Par for the course. Denver, a new volunteer, visited one day last week and worked his way through fixing up a bike. We got a couple bikes donated and then fixed up for the KBG (Kids Bike Giveaway)—can’t start too early! Some engineering students came in looking for parts for a class project to make some kind of small wheeled conveyance that moves like an inchworm? Something like that. Next time that happens, I’m giving out my contact info so they can follow up with the finished project—would be cool to have a collection of school projects that we helped out with.
    This week I’ve got some student staff interviews and new hire trainings to arrange, TBP meeting, NIRSA virtual conference, and will pick up more bikes. Saturday is going to break 50 degrees so maybe we’ll sell some bikes. The longer term forecast is trending warmer so we’ll see how that affects visit numbers.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 5
    Sales: $109

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  7. Weekly Update: Bike Maintenance 101, Volunteer request, Cold and snow

    All, Last Wednesday we had our first  class of the semester: Bike Maintenance 101. We had one attendee, despite the bitter cold and snow, which was great. He seemed genuinely appreciative of the BC and our mission. We were able to use his bike as a tutorial of sorts for some of the basic repairs.
    We had a new-to-the-university student come in on Thursday who has a strong bike interest and background. He expressed interest in volunteering and becoming more involved—always a welcomed response!
    On Friday I grabbed 4 bikes from the warehouse and we will work those up this week. The cold and snow will keep things nice and quiet here, I’m sure.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 5
    Sales: $262
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $200
    Membership: 1 for $30
    Misc: $31

    Thanks!

     

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  8. Weekly Update: Bike Maintenance 101

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Slow week, of course. Housekeeping abounded: student staff meeting, an interview, safety checks.

     

    This week we have our Basic Maintenance 101 class on Wednesday evening. Other than that, it’s business as usual. The extreme cold will likely keep people away but this week also marks a relaxing of COVID restrictions, so we’ll see how those two balance each other out.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 10
    Sales: $105
    Misc: $60

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  9. Weekly Update: Prospective student employees

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Things were uncharacteristically busy at the tail end of last week, highlighted by two prospective student employees coming in. They were both really excited by what we do here at the Bike Center. Always good to see enthusiasm and it was a nice glimpse of hopefully where we’ll be post-pandemic: fostering enjoyment, excitement and knowledge about bikes!

    Got a student staff meeting, interview, and bikes to build this week.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 14
    Sales: $371.50

    Memberships: 1 for $30
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $200
    Misc: $18

    Thanks!

     

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  10. Weekly Update: CBC Fix-it staion operational

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Not a whole lot to report: The Bike Center Fix It pump is operational and I’ll be meeting this week about marketing to get the word out. I got an email not 12 hours after visiting the new Flagg Hall covered bike parking asking if it was operational, funnily enough. Parking tagged the bike that was locked up out front of the Bike Center. It was probably a donation but doing our due diligence on that.

    This week student staff will start and we’ll work through some more bike builds.

     

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 6
    Sales: $59
    Memberships: 1 for $30
    Misc: $29

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  11. Weekly Update: Donations, moved from the old place

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Slow week, of course. An uptick in donations of parts/bikes. Got a nice hybrid Giant bike that is already fixed up and ready to sell.

    We are almost totally and completely moved out of our former garage home. It’s actually a lot of square footage in there once you remove all the stuff accumulated over the last 11 years or so!

    This week will be scheduling, semester prep, and more work to get the outdoor bike pump fixed up and operational for the few hearty winter cyclists.  

    The numbers:
    Visitors: 10
    Sales: $196
    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $120
    Misc: $16

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  12. Weekly Update - Word of mouth, Bike donations

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Pretty slow around these parts—per usual for this time of year.

    A story: A gentleman comes in on Wednesday looking for bikes. We get to talking and he’s volunteered at Working Bikes (the org we give abandoned bikes to) up in Chicago, he knows his way around a wrench. He buys a nice road bike and that was that. An hour later, he brings a friend back; she signs up for a membership. Two days later, same guy is back with another friend; he buys a membership, too. Says they’ll both be back on Monday to work on a bike. Word of mouth really is the best marketing.

    This week I’ll still be processing the donations from the kids bike event that were not kids bikes. We got a lot of adult-sized bikes that aren’t worth saving, unfortunately.
    The numbers:

    Visitors: 11
    Sales: $254
    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Misc: $4

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  13. Weekly Update: Happy New Year, Kids bike giveaway

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Happy New Year! The final week of the semester—and the two weeks preceding it—were a whirl of kid bike prep for our event, which took place on December 19th.
    Here’s a story CI Living did on the event:  https://www.wcia.com/ciliving-2/the-bike-project-hosts-kids-bike-giveaway/
    We gave away 40+ bikes in less than half an hour and our community really came through in providing those donations on such a short time frame.
    This week will be a lot of cleaning and organizing—kids bike parts are strewn every which way as we hustled to get the bikes finished—and an inventory once-over to see where we stand on parts and bikes.
    Thanks!
    The numbers:

    Visitors: 7
    Sales: $19

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  14. Weekly Update: WCIA interview, Kids bike giveaway

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last Monday WCIA came by the Bike Center and interviewed me for our Kids Bike Giveaway event. Made the evening news! We got one call from a woman in Tuscola, a man from Danville, and a woman emailed from Springfield, all referenced the news story.
    Accordingly, we’re in full-on kids bike mode: student staff are fixing them, I’m fielding phone calls and emails, people are dropping them off nearly every day we’re open and sometimes even when we’re not.
    I think we’re at around 20 bikes and we should probably get to 30 by week’s end between both shops.
    This week we’ll continue prepping for the Bike Giveaway event, mostly logistical items like signage, set up, and keep fixing them.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 11

    Sales: $215
    Bike (refurb): 1 for $160
    Tires/tubes: 4 for $39

    Thanks!

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  15. Weekly Update: Kids Bike Giveaway, WCIA interview

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week was our first one with “regular” open hours again. I’d guess we had about the same number of people coming by as we did under our reservation system but it was certainly less leg work.
    Our main push for the next few weeks will be our Kids Bike Giveaway. The particulars:


    Date: Saturday, December 19th
    Time: 1 – 3p or until we run out of bikes
    Location: Urbana Bike Project (202 S Broadway Ave., Urbana)
    Details: first come, first served; one bike per kid and they must be present to pick out their bike.

     

    We are still in need of donations but just through emailing our membership we’ve heard from 3 – 4 people with bikes to donate.  WCIA is calling me later today to discuss, so hopefully we’ll get on the news. I’ve done lots of submitting to various media outlets. I’ll be focusing on getting the word out on the need for donations this week and focus on doing the bulk of the refurbishing next week. If successful TBP has expressed interest in making this an annual event. We’ll see!

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 6
    Sales: $165.50

    Memberships: 2 for $60
    Tires/tubes: 4 for $12

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  16. The Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign, in partnership with the U of I Campus Bike Center, is hosting a Kids’ Bike Giveaway this holiday season!

    The Bike Project is currently accepting donations of all kids’ and teen bikes, regardless of condition, and then refurbishing them to give back to young folks in the community!

     

    Donations can be made at the Urbana Bike Project (202 S. Broadway Ave., Urbana) or at the Campus Bike Center (51 E. Gregory Dr., Champaign).

     

    Please call (217) 469-5126 or email contact@thebikeproject.org to arrange a donation.

     

    Kids' Bike Giveaway Event:

    Date: Saturday, December 19th, 2020
    Time: 1 pm – 3pm or until we run out of bikes
    Location: Urbana Bike Project (202 S. Broadway Ave., Urbana)

    Details: first come, first served; one bike per kid, and they must be present to pick out their bike.

     

    All health and safety guidelines will be followed.

  17. Weekly Update: Slowest week financially, Closing appointment system, New working hours

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Maybe the slowest week on record, financially-speaking, as we grossed $8. Hopefully not a preview of the rest of the semester…
    Before the break we did have a repeat visitor express interest in volunteering so there is some latent interest in our offerings.
    This week we will be closing down our appointment system in favor of our regular open hours offerings. Visits have not been frequent enough to warrant the extra trouble of an appointment system. We’ll be open M/W/F for the rest of the semester, barring any further mitigation efforts.
    We’ve got a few bikes from the warehouse to work on and they’ve already proven to be  good teaching candidates for my staff on things like the irreparable damage kickstands can so easily inflict. No one likes leaning their bike against a wall just-so but it beats having to replace it entirely
    Thanks!

    The numbers:
    Visitors:
    Sales: $8!

     

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  18. Weekly Update: Daily Illini interview, CTAC, post-Thanksgiving programming

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Last week I was interviewed for the Daily Illini  about the importance of bikes during a pandemic for health, safety, and exercise. No word on if they’re publishing the story.

     

    Last week, I was also present for the Active Transportation Advisory Committee on campus to discuss infrastructure and developments for bus riding, biking, and walking. Great to see and meet—virtually—so many University people involved in implementing and promoting safer and healthier ways to get around campus and the community.

    This week is business as usual: picking up bikes from the warehouse, staff meetings, and prepping for our post-Thanksgiving programming.

    Thanks!


    The numbers:


    Visitors: 10
    Sales: $99.50
    Memberships: 1 for $30

    Tire/tube: 4 for $30
    Misc: $34.50

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  19. Weekly Update: Promote the Bike Center, bike pick up

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Lovely summery weather last week!
    Main event for the week was a marketing meeting to discuss new and innovative ways to promote the Bike Center, which was fruitful and really put into perspective how much stuff we do here at CBC when explaining it, even in general terms. And things like build-a-bikes vs. refurbished vs. DIY repairs will always confuse the uninitiated.
    This week is business as usual. Bikes to be picked up from Parking, an Active Transportation Advisory Committee meeting, staff meetings to be scheduled, and so forth. Some suppliers seem to be restocked a bit on some much-needed bike parts but as we inch ever-closer to fall/winter, immediate demand for those parts will wane. But we’ll still stock up a bit.
    The numbers:


    Visitors: 12
    Sales: $226.50
    Bikes (refurb): 1 for $200
    Misc: $26.50

    Thanks!

     

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  20. Weekly Update: Moving bikes from warehouse; Traffic safety

    Associated Project(s): 

    All, Slow week again. Grabbed a few more bikes from the warehouse. I’ve been given clearance to remove all the remaining bikes, so I’ll be doing that in small doses for the rest of the semester. I’ll bring some of my staff along to help. Moving bikes around is a lot easier for college-aged kids anyway.

    I spoke with a UIPD officer last week about traffic safety after I had some close encounters with vehicles on campus. We’ve tentatively planned to do a meet and greet/talk next semester with my staff and UIPD to cover road safety on campus. It’ll be great to have the ear of enforcement on cycling issues and in the end, be better cycling advocates to the community.

    Numbers:

    Visitors: 6
    Sales: $228.00
    Memberships: 1 for $60
    Bike Sales (refurb): 1 for $160
    Misc parts: 2 for $8

    Thanks!

     

    Jacob Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

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