Posts Tagged ‘Bike Center’
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
It’s fairly obvious that bicycling is a way of life on the University of Minnesota campus. On most days, students can be seen biking to class and between the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. And many staff and faculty commute to the University via bike each day. In fact, 6,500 cyclists make their way across the Washington Ave Bridge each day.
And now, University students, faculty and staff will have a new home for all their bicycling needs: The University of Minnesota Bike Center, located in the University’s Oak St. Parking Ramp just south of Washington Ave. SE.
Officially opening Thursday, Sept. 29, the Bike Center is a collaboration between the University of Minnesota (providing the site and infrastructure), Minneapolis Bike Walk Ambassadors (providing education and training), Bike Walk Twin Cities (providing the bulk of the funding) and the Hub (providing management of the shop). Dero Zap is also part of the mix, providing RFID tracking that will enable commuter benefits for cyclists.
The Grand Opening on Thursday, Sept. 29 will run from noon-2 p.m. and will feature Bike Center tours (including a free gift to the first 100 people to take a tour), a group ride around the University and free food (including Raising Cane’s chicken fingers, cake and other refreshments, while supplies last—thanks to University of Minnesota Parking and Transportation Services).
Bike Walk Move had a chance to sit down with Ben Tsai and Ben Erickson of the Hub Bike Co-Op, both of whom will help manage the Bike Center, earlier this week. The following is a summary from that conversation:
What kinds of services will the new University of Minnesota Bike Center offer students, staff and faculty?
The Bike Center will be a one-stop shop for all things biking. We’ll offer full-service tune-ups and spot repairs. And, we’ll have a fairly robust line-up of biking apparel and merchandise. We’ll also have “Open Shop” sessions from 7-9 p.m. each Tuesday and Wednesday, which will be free for University students with ID. These “Open Shop” sessions are designed to empower students—giving them a chance to learn more about fixing their own bike. Space for these sessions will be limited and it will be on a first-come first-served basis. In addition, the Bike Center will offer a series of classes designed to help students, staff and faculty get smarter about bicycling. These classes (which will be both free and with a fee, depending on the class) will cover everything from how to fix your bike to winter commuting to basic maintenance. Students, staff and faculty will also have the opportunity to buy the full list of bicycles we offer at the Hub—and we’ll have a number of new bikes right in the Bike Center, including brands like Surly, Civia and Giant. And, don’t forget, students receive 10 percent off everything except bikes and repair with their University student ID.
Another great feature of the Bike Center is the bike lockers, storage and shower facilities. Tell me more about what that means for students, staff and faculty.
The Bike Center will include two shower/bathrooms units and one shower-only unit. We also have 32 small lockers that cyclists can use to stow helmets and clothes while they’re at class or work. These are available on a first-come first-served basis. Finally, we’ll have a storage facility where members can store their bikes while they’re on campus.
So you can be a member of the University of Minnesota Bike Center? What does that entail?
Membership will be $85/year for University students, staff and faculty. With that, you’ll have 24/7 access to the showers/bathrooms and secure bike parking with a key card we’ll issue upon payment. So when you ride your bike to class or work, you can shower, stow your bike and look your best. Great benefit for a relatively small price tag. One note: Membership is open only to University of Minnesota students, staff and faculty.
The Bike Center also plays a key role in the University of Minnesota’s new RFID program for student, staff and faculty cyclists. Can you tell me more about that initiative?
The RFID program is actually pretty unique. Working with Dero Zap, the University will feature the largest such RFID installation/system in the country. University staff and faculty can receive a commuter rewards by bicycling more. And students will be able to participate in promotional events and prize drawings. To get started, you simply visit the Bike Center and get your RFID tag installed on your bike. Then, after a simple online registration, you’re ready to start biking and earning your rewards. Seven RFID scanners around the University will scan your bike as you ride, which will help you work toward your discount. Staff and faculty need to have between 40-50 trips annually to qualify (we’re still working out the final details here). People can track their progress by visiting a personal page they’ll set up upon registration. This page will include a calendar that will show days they’ve commuted via bike and miles they’ve commuted for the year. It will also show interesting data points like how much gas they’ve saved, how much carbon dioxide they’ve saved, and how many calories they’ve burned as a result of their choice to bike more. It’s a pretty innovative program.
Tell me more about the “Open Shop” sessions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
During these two-hour sessions, Bike Center staff will help advise students on how to better care for their bikes. We’ll show them basic maintenance—how to fix a flat, how to tune-up their bike, how to make basic adjustments. Stuff like that. These sessions will be free to students with a University ID (and $5 an hour for the public), so it’s a great value for the beginning cyclist, as well as the more seasoned rider.
A year from now, what does success look like for the Bike Center?
Ultimately, we’re hoping to see more staff, faculty and students riding bikes around campus. We’re also hoping these same people will feel empowered by participating in the classes and Open Shop sessions—making them more self-sufficient when it comes to their cycling. And, really, at the end of the day, we’re interested in “mode shift”—getting more people to think differently about bicycling and considering it as a primary transportation choice.
The University of Minnesota is home to so many cyclists (as I said above, 6,500 cross the Washington Ave. Bridge every day)—what will the Bike Center offer these folks?
The biggest thing? I think it will allow these folks to take their cycling to another level. In some ways, our classes and Open Shop sessions will expand their experience with bicycles, which should help them extend the seasonality of their cycling. And, I think it will also expand what they use their bike for (more trips around town, to the grocery store, to the library, etc.).
Conversely, what’s the biggest benefit for those who aren’t avid riders (or don’t bike at all)?
I think the number-one benefit the Bike Center has to offer these folks is education. By taking a few classes, and participating in the Open Shop sessions, people who don’t ride a lot (or at all) can learn about biking before stepping on the bike. Then, they can get everything they need to get started (a bike, helmet, lock, etc.) right in the Bike Center. That’s where that “one stop shop” concept really is huge.
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Downtown Journal. Now that Nice Ride bikes are tucked away for the winter, consider using the bus for your quick trips to lunch, meetings, doctor’s appointments, or shopping. Using Metro Transit is an ideal way
The following is a post written by Bri Whitcraft, Special Projects Coordinator, Bike Walk Twin Cities. It all started with a video as inspiration and a Tweet as declaration. (My mom thought it was a joke.) Map & Route From my home in South Minneapolis, I biked to St. Paul to borrow the trailer from
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Southwest Journal. Practical, affordable and surprisingly rewarding, winter bicycling has become increasingly popular in Minneapolis, recently named one of the top five cities in the nation for winter bicycle commuting by MetaEfficient. That’s amazing when