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Projects Updates for Collection and Donation of Abandoned Bicycles

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

    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.



    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



    - Jake

  2. Weekly Update - Bicycle Donations, wheel stripping, etc.

    All, Definitely getting busier! Got a sale in just as we were closing up on Friday. Two more bikes were waiting on the outside rack when I got in this morning. I passed the manager of Champaign Cycle on my ride in and he said they’ve got a couple bikes for us as well.  We’re pretty close to capacity on bikes here at the shop. But I guess it’s a good problem to have considering the business model.

    Last week we stripped 30 wheels out of the back of the shop. Still too crowded for my liking but definitely more manageable. We have about a dozen stripped frames ready for the scrapper as well, with another five or to be stripped this week. The front “sales floor” is opening up nicely, though, thanks to the sales we’ve made thus far.
    I also interviewed a potential new hire last week.

    Anecdote: Over the weekend I saw a woman riding her bike almost get hit twice in one intersection. She was crossing Lincoln and just inched her way through the intersection and both lanes of traffic had to stop short for her. It was a scary and clear reminder that we still have a ways to go on infrastructure and education on campus.

    Visitors: 70
    Sales: $1,157.10
    Memberships: 4 for $120
    Bike (refurb): 5 for $830
    Tire/tubes: 6 for $26


    - jake

  3. Weekly Update - Bike Donations, Wheel Collecion, CCB, etc.

    All, Last week was slow. Still in a lull before Summer II begins. We got three donations over the weekend here. Mostly junk but better than being abandoned somewhere. On Thursday I collected 5 bikes from the Parking warehouse.
    Last week Theo collected about 20 wheels out of the back of the shop that aren’t worth keeping. We’ll scrap those this week. I got in touch with FAA (Fine & Applied Arts) to see if they’ve got any interest in some of our throwaway junk for art/sculpture projects and that sort of thing. They said they’d pass the info along.

    Jeff, from CCB, stopped by and will likely be taking the kids bikes off our hands that we’ve accumulated. That’ll clear up some space. We lent out the big trailer for the University Y to use at Dump & Run next door at the Stock Pavilion to great success and will probably do it again this week. It was nice to see someone else use it!
    This week I’ve got an interview with a student worker today. Other than that, business as usual.


    Visitors: 51
    Sales: $236.60
    Memberships: 3 for $90
    Tire/tube: 15 for $101


    Jake Benjamin

  4. Weekly Update - Collection of Abandoned Bikes

    All, Last week was on the slow side. We got busy in fits and starts. This week will likely be the same. I was out of the shop for most of Tuesday afternoon, so the students covered for me. No troubles there.

    We concluded our Bike Abandonment Program last week, as well. We collected 15 bikes total that were either donated at the Bike Rodeo, during open hours, or left after hours on the rack outside. Having the rack outside was super helpful, not only to collect bikes during off hours, but as additional storage during open shop time. Long term, having a donation drop off system in place for after-hours would be beneficial.

    This week I’ll dig into the pile of student-checked bike builds. I’ve got space for about 5 more bikes and then I’ll have to look at rearranging again. We can technically cram more bikes in the spaces we’ve got allotted for Sale Bikes but I’ve noticed it makes it a lot more difficult for people to try them out and thus, they don’t get sold. Limits of the space, I suppose. Of course, all the bikes will probably sell in the end.
    I’ll also coordinate with Parking about picking up some bikes they’ve got for us.

    Visitors: 73
    Sales: $509.43

    Memberships: 10 for $300
    Bikes (refurb) 3 for $410
    Tire/tube: 18 for $117


    Jacob Benjamin
    Manager, Campus Bike Center

  5. Weekly Update - Bike to Work Day, Bike Rodeo, etc.

    All, What a week! Last week (and weekend) was a TBP meeting, Bike To Work Day, the Bike Rodeo, and picking up donations from the Community Bike Sale. Lots of extracurricular activity! All of the events went well but not amazingly well. Attendance was on the low side for BTWD and BR but the weather is a major culprit there.

    Since 2pm on Friday we’ve gotten (rough count) 20 bike donations, so we’re pretty inundated right now. With bad weather in the forecast and the busyness of finals for most students, we’ll be able to process the donations this week—hopefully.

    Last Friday was the last Fix-a-Flat class and we had our first attendee! Maria and Jacob taught the course well and the gentleman seemed happy to have come. Also on Friday the student staff hosted an impromptu Friday ride of sorts for one of our graduating staffers. This upcoming Friday will be the last official one for the season.

    I’ll be out of town Thursday and Friday so Chris will open and run the shop in my absence.

    The numbers:

    Visitors: 73
    Sales: $750.20
    Bikes (refurb): 2 for $295
    Memberships: 7 for $210
    Tire/tubes: 9 for $64



    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  6. Weekly Update - Bicycle Donations, Bike to Work Day, etc.

    All, Big but also kind of micro news is that there’s been a noticeable uptick in donations here at the Bike Center. While I’d love to attribute that to our awesome Bike Abandonment Prevention program, it’s really just been local community members who’re cleaning out their garages--most prominently two white bearded men, not the graduating seniors that we’re hoping to attract.

    But that’s a good segue into what our Bike Abandonment Prevention is trying to do: reduce and abate the number of abandoned bikes left by students leaving campus around this time of year. In turn we hope Parking will have to collect fewer bikes that’ll end up in our hands in the end anyway. We’ve got signage and a bike rack set up outside the Bike Center to allow students to donate their bikes and, to incentivize the donation,  in return they can get a water bottle (but the water bottles are only available during open hours). We’ll track how many students are donating and obviously won’t be turning away community donations. There’s already been a social media push and advertising done by Campus Rec to help promote and get the word out!
    We’ve got our Fix-a-Flat class this Friday and of course Bike To Work Day on Wednesday. The weather isn’t looking great but we’ll get the dedicated folks come through, I’m sure. Jeff Yockey dropped off the BTWD shirt last week and we’ve been hanging it by the register to showcase the event. Over the upcoming weekend we’ve got our Bike Rodeo event which will also double as a drop-off spot for the Bike Abandonment Prevention program. May is looking busy but it is Bike Month!


    Visitors: 73
    Sales: $812.50
    Memberships: 6 for $180
    Bikes (refurb): 3 for $500



    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  7. Weekly Update

    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




    Jake Benjamin
    Campus Bike Center Manager

  8. Weekly update

    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.



    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  9. Weekly Update

    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




    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  10. Weekly Update

    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


    • Jake Benjamin
      Campus Bike Center Manager
  11. Thanks UIUC for all the wonderful bicycles


    Thanks for all the wonderful bicycles that UIUC donated to Working Bikes programs.  We estimate that we received over 330 bicycles from the 2017 collection last week.

    99% of the bikes will be repaired and given away locally or internationally for free.  The other three or four bikes out of the 330 will be fixed and sold to support our mission.

    Most of the bicycles will be sent the Lesotho with Bikes for Lesotho.  These will be loaded tomorrow and Wednesday.

    We also have many local partner organizations that receive free bikes.



    Lee Ravenscroft