By Noelle Richards, Commuter Services
For the past few years, the small building across from the Utah Museum of Fine Arts sat dormant. Many U students had never seen the doors open. The place raised questions: Why was it never open? Why was there a bicycle on the roof? Was it a storage shed for maintenance?
This semester, the doors reopened and the building was reinstated to its previous use—the home of the University Bike Collective. The collective began in 2009, but a lack of funding required it to close its doors in 2011. A grant from the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund (SCIF) awarded to Erin Olson provided the funding to reopen the doors, making the University Bicycle Collective available as a resource to all students, faculty, and staff.
There is a shop manager and volunteers able to help people with their bike needs Tuesday-Thursday from 10 am-2 pm. Where a typical bike shop provides services without education, the collective takes student involvement to the next level, focusing on teaching DIY repair skills that empower bicyclists to solve problems and fix their own bikes. Common problems fixed in the shop include brake adjustments, flat tires, and shifting issues. The shop also sells basic bike supplies such as brakes, cables and housing, tires, and tubes.
“The University Bike Collective is a valuable resource for students,” says Alexandra Zimmerman, University of Utah bicycle coordinator. “With 13-percent of University commuters using active transportation, such as bikes, regularly, we want to provide a space to learn basic repair
skills and connect with the University’s bike culture.”
The collective also offers volunteer opportunities for anyone interested. Volunteers help staff the shop, develop and run workshops, and/or plan events with other student groups on campus.
Visit the University Bike Collective Facebook page to learn more and stay in the know about upcoming events. The Bike Collective will be open regular hours during the weeks of Dec. 1-12. It will be closed for the winter break until the start of the spring semester. During the month of January, it will be open one day a week, and will return to normal hours in February. Interested in setting up a workshop for your group? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Noelle Richards is the University of Utah Bike Collective shop manager with Commuter Services.