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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Profile: Bike Barn General Manager Jack Rogers

Rogers, a UC Davis undergraduate, explains how the shop is run by students, for students

Since 1966, Davis has been deemed the “Bike Capital of the U.S.,” a title students and locals say with pride. Throughout the city, there are 10 bikes shops, but only one of these is run completely by students. The Bike Barn, located in the middle of the UC Davis campus, is managed by ASUCD and has served as a convenient repair shop since 1971. 

Fourth-year managerial economics major Jack Rogers is the current general manager of the Bike Barn and has been a mechanic since his second year. 

“I wear a lot of different hats here,” Rogers said about his position. “The main thing that I really want to do is to promote the same sort of work ethic and goal for all the employees here to the standard that I hold myself.”

The most rewarding part about being a mechanic at the Bike Barn, he explained, are the interactions and relationships he has built with a diverse population of students throughout the campus.

“I know it sounds kind of corny, but I love seeing the joy on people’s faces when I get to return their bikes,” Rogers said. “I love being able to help people, whether that means fixing the problem for them or explaining the problem to them and helping them have a safer ride.”

Because the shop is student-run, the mechanics are better able to understand the specific needs of the students who come into the Bike Barn, Rogers said. Given that the shop is intended to be a resource to help students out, it is less focused on profit — unlike other shops in town, Rogers noted — and is simply looking to do “the best possible service” for students and the occasional community member. 

Rogers feels as though many students are intimidated to come into the Bike Barn because the barn is employed by many avid cyclists — however, he discounts this fear and says the Bike Barn’s services are for everyone, at all different skill levels of biking. 

“Sometimes it’s something [students] heard from other people, or it’s them thinking, ‘Oh I don’t really know anything about my bike, and if I go in there I’m going to look stupid,’” Rogers said. “But realistically, we have people come here everyday and hand us their bike and say, ‘I don’t know what’s going on, please help me.’ And we are totally open to that and we want to do whatever we can to help you and make you more informed about [your] bike and biking in general in Davis.” 

Rogers encourages students to visit the barn for free diagnosis. 

“We aren’t going to tie you into paying anything, there’s no price to get a quote,” Rogers said. “Come on in. Even if we can’t fix your bike for free, we can at least give you more information as to what is going on with your bike.” 

The Bike Barn is a unit within ASUCD — an organization that is currently operating on a roughly $500,000 deficit. To solve this, ASUCD is proposing a fee referendum that would effectively raise the base fee students pay each quarter. The referendum will be on the ballot in the Winter Quarter 2020 elections. Rogers explained that while the Bike Barn is one of the few profitable ASUCD units and isn’t necessarily in financial trouble, he still supports the fee referendum and hopes that students will turn out to vote.

“As a student at UC Davis, I interact with units of ASUCD on a daily basis, whether it’s getting coffee from the CoHo, catching a bus on a rainy day, or reading through articles in The Aggie,” Rogers said. “Not only are these key parts of my experience here at Davis, but they also supply numerous jobs for students across campus. Cutting staff will not only be burdensome to students who rely on those services, but will also force students to look off campus for jobs, which may be harder to get and less flexible with the demanding class schedule most students take.”

Written by Sneha Ramachandran — features@theaggie.org


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