As an infamously bike-oriented campus, flat tires and lack of fenders are a common occurrence.
Thanks to the opening of the Bike Garage, fixing these minor problems for free is now a reality.
Located in the North Entry Parking Structure, the Bike Garage is a new addition this school year that offers students the ability to work on their own bikes with loaner tools for free.
Open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the garage allows students and staff the opportunity to work on their bikes even after the Bike Barn closes at 5 p.m.
Robert St. Cyr, general manager for the Bike Barn, said that the Bike Garage will remain open later than the barn.
“When students, faculty and staff get out of class or work at 5 o’clock and realize they have a flat tire, it gives them time to go over to the Bike Garage and get it fixed,” he said.
Amelia Badish, sophomore international relations major and employee at the Bike Barn, said that many students and a surprising number of the staff go through the Bike Garage.
“The amount of students definitely depends on the week,” Badish said. “Sometimes I’ll get four people in one day and sometimes it’s 20. It has been increasing since September.”
St. Cyr said the Bike Garage has had at least 1,000 visitors since its opening.
Even the weather does not deter people from working on their bikes at the new location. In this rainy winter season, people have a need to put fenders on their bikes, Badish said.
The program itself is not a new service for the Bike Barn. It began when the need to reduce the proliferation of unused bikes increased rapidly, said Cliff Contreras, UC Davis Transportation and Parking Services director.
“A lot of the time, people will come out of class and see their bike has a flat tire or something that would be considered to be a minor repair, and they won’t get it fixed or don’t know how to get it fixed,” Contreras said. “They end up leaving their bike and unfortunately that’s a problem with our campus. We are hoping this discourages that.”
Before its move to the other side of campus, the Bike Garage used to be offered at the main location next to the Silo.
St. Cyr partnered with TAPS to expand the program to the North Entry Parking Structure for better accessibility on the other side of campus.
“If we had more space here [at the Bike Barn], it would have been convenient,” St. Cyr said. “What’s nice about this [new] location is that it is on the other side of campus so everyone who goes to class or works over there has a place that is closer.”
In order to use the loaner tools, students and staff must fill out a form. People can ask an available employee for help or work independently until they check out.
TAPS hopes to reduce the number of broken-down bikes and singular-driver cars on campus, Contreras said.
“Since we are in the business of encouraging alternative forms of transportation than a single-occupancy vehicle, we thought that we would be able to create a facility where people could do self repairs, not only to encourage people to ride their bikes but also discourage the proliferation of bikes on campus,” he said.
St. Cyr said the feedback so far for the Bike Garage has been positive.
“We are really glad we are doing it and it makes me happy to know that we found something that is working, “St. Cyr said.
NICK MARKWITH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.