Back to school repairs alert

Attention MSU Bikes customers:

Due to the start-of-semester rush, we are unable to perform tune-ups and other large repairs from August 19th – September 18th. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

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Bikes at Work on Campus

Many people may not realize how much MSU departments and their staff use bikes to help make their work on & around campus more enjoyable, efficient and green.

In recent years MSU Bikes, Surplus and Recycling have all been utilizing bikes with large trailers to do even more work on campus that previously thought possible.  Their medium length Bikes at Work trailers allow them to haul up to 300- 600 lbs of cargo and with the help of electric-assist bikes staff don’t need super-human bicycling strength to haul those kinds of loads.

Here’s a photo gallery of Cayden Bunnell (formerly of Surplus & Recycling) at work w/ the rig on a nice fall day on campus (2015):

cayden-bike-trailer-video-screenshot
This video
highlights the work by one of the Surplus/ Recycling staff who was the inaugural bike-trailer worker bee to start regular rounds collecting compost material and delivering recycling related supplies.

 

MSU Bikes has used the same type of trailer to haul its recycling materials, signage in parades and other special events, mobile bike repair clinic equipment and many other purposes. Some photos below show you the variety of cargo we’ve hauled over the years.

This past summer the Bailey Greenhouse and Urban Farm students (part of the MSU RISE Program) began making pedal-powered deliveries of their vegetables around campus with a little help from MSU Surplus/ MSU Bikes.  This video shows their delivery bike-trailer in action.

For over three decades the Infrastructure Planning and Facilities department has had the largest fleets of work bikes on campus (23 in Aug. 2014) which are heavily utilized throughout the year for work trips that don’t require a full-sized motor vehicle.  Gus Gosselin, former Director of Building Services and current Senior Engineer with IPF and co-founder of the MSU Bike Project (which was the forerunner to the current MSU Bikes Service Center), was instrumental in building up that fleet and helping the modest bike get the respect it deserves alongside other wheeled transportation options for IPF workers.  He’s been riding his bike to meetings, lunches and other work trips around campus for many years carrying his helmet into meetings to strategically let others know that he rode a bike.  (This article gives more background on this history of bicycling within IPF).

bikeunitThere are other departments that also heavily utilize bicycles to help them with their daily work on campus. A couple dozen lease their bikes from MSU Bikes’ utilizing our fleet services for their staff use throughout the work day. The MSU Police Dept.’s Bicycle Unit has the next sizable fleet of bikes which help their team of bike patrol officers with a host of work from Community policing, routine traffic enforcement and other types of enforcement where a bicycle provides unique benefits (they’re quiet, fast and can go places motor vehicles can’t go).

New DIY Bike Repair Stations and Resources at MSU

Needing to put a little air in your bike tires, fix a flat tire or do a minor adjustment?  Well, if you’re on campus you’re in luck!

MSU Bike facilities map
MSU Bike facilities map, updated May 2015

This map shows you where you can find eight do-it-yourself bike repair stations on campus and further below are some photos showing you what they look like so you can recognize them.  (Brody Complex station is on the east side of Emmons Hall; E. Neighborhood station is outside W. Akers entrance near bike parking area [the dot on the map is slightly off on this location; sorry!).

The five newest stations (made by Bike Fixtation) installed in the five residential neighborhoods were purchased and installed thanks to donors, Rick Brown and Kathy Donahue Brown through the Brown-Hoover Charitable Trust (established by Rick’s mother and stepfather, Carroll Brown Hoover and James Hoover).  This State News article gives more information about the newest stations.

You can also view a video showing how these stations can be used here.

There have been three Dero-brand stations on campus for a while and have proven very popular.  There is one outside the MSU Bikes Service (installed 2008) and one inside each MSU Bike Garage (secure bike parking facilities –  details here).

Is there a special bike in your life needing TLC?

So, is there a special bike in your life that’s been languishing in your garage or basement waiting for that day to get back on the road? Perhaps it was involved in a crash and you bent the frame or forks and figure it’s a goner? Well, we’ve got good news for you! Our mechanics would love to bring your pride and joy back to life in time for Valentine’s Day or other special occasion for you or your loved one.

Bring your bike in now for a free estimate; you’ll beat the spring rush and
your bike will be in tip-top shape when the warmer weather arrives!

Over the years we’ve done some very nice renovations.  For example, here are some before-and-after photos of a 70’s vintage Schwinn 3-speed – from garage-hanger to beautiful city bike!


… and a couple videos of our mechanics straightening a “goner” frame giving it new life.

Bike frame-repair part 1
Bike frame-repair video, part 1
Bike frame-repair video, part 2
Bike frame-repair video, part 2

Commuter Benefit – your own locker & shower!

Oftentimes one of the top answer to surveys of why people don’t currently ride their bike to work is no access to showers and lockers. Well, there’s good news!  MSU Bikes has worked together with MSU’s Recreational Sports and Fitness Services to offer access to a FREE large assigned locker to those who are registered bike commuters in the IM Sports Circle facility!  That’s a $105/ year value! Take a look below at some photos of the IM Sports Circle if you’re not familiar with it.

To take advantage of this MSU Bikes Commuter Benefit, please complete this form and then do one of the following to confirm that you’re bike commuting:

  1.  Install and run the Ride Report app which runs in the background and helps you track your biking, walking, transit, car trips. It’s a very low battery consuming app. that doesn’t require you to start and stop it like Strava and other apps. If we get enough users running the Ride Report app the developer (a start-up on the West coast) will create an area heat map for us which will give us some great data which can be used to help us plan future improvements to our campus and neighboring streets that users frequently use for their commutes/ errands, etc. If you choose to go this route, please take a screen shot of your summary page and e-mail it to me.
  2. Post a photo of you with your bike to Facebook and tag with @MSU Bikes Service Center and include a short summary of your bike commuting story (how long your commute is, how often you ride, why you ride, etc.).
  3. Stop by the MSU Bikes Service Center with your bike and visit with me! Please call or email ahead to make sure I’m in or leave a note for me w/ your name on it if we miss each other.

IM Circle has a lot of character and is shared by the Department of Kinesiology.  You must register your MSU ID on the Rec Sports website at least 2 business days before arriving to guarantee access to the locker room.  For security reasons, only registered IDs give you access.  After completing the form above we’ll email you instructions for getting your ID authorized for access.  Once you have registered your ID it’s good for one academic year ending in April.  Each April signs will be posted in the locker rooms reminding users to re-register in April for continued access.

Questions regarding the IM Sports Circle facility? Want a tour?
Contact: IM Sports Circle service counter at (517) 355-4710, stop by in person or email the Asst. Director, Angela Michael.

More Bike-Friendly Commuter Options:

Bike Garage @ Trowbridge Parking Ramp
Bike Garage @ Trowbridge Parking Ramp. Holds up to 23 bikes and features a handy DIY repair station.

But wait, there’s MORE!  A survey of MSU employees in 2009 indicated that many people weren’t riding their bikes to work due to a lack of secure bike parking on campus; well, there are now TWO secure bike parking facilities, MSU Bike Garages, on campus (North – inside the Grand River Parking Ramp and South – inside the bus waiting area of the Trowbridge Parking Ramp).  See this page for more information on getting access to the Bike garages!

Questions or suggestions about any of this?

Contact Tim Potter @ MSU Bikes via email or phone:  517-432-3414

Secure Bike Parking Facilities on Campus

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MSU Bike Garage in the Trowbridge Parking Ramp. The Dero Fixit station can be seen holding a bike. Click pic for more detailed photos of the Garages

Michigan State University is certified as a silver level Bike Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists (as of Nov. 2015; click here to view MSU’s basic profile), but the high population density and unpredictable weather can be quite unfriendly to bicycle hardware and riders.

Two secure bike parking facilities (north and south campus) opened in the fall of 2013 to help alleviate some of those concerns for students, faculty and staff.

MSU Bikes, a service unit of MSU Surplus & Recycling, worked with multiple units on campus to develop and install the MSU Bike Garages, enhanced-security parking facilities inside two vehicle parking ramps.

The two locations are inside the car parking ramps on Trowbridge Road and Grand River Avenue.

The MSU Bike Garages are fenced-in spaces on the ground level, providing protection from theft on all sides and some shelter from the elements. Access is controlled by the university’s card sensor technology seen in buildings across campus, and the caged instead of solid walls provide a safe level of visibility inside and outside the structure.

Inside the facilities, cyclists can lock up their ride in a row of Lightning Bolt™ racks, which are designed to keep bikes upright and work especially well with U-locks. Riders can also take advantage of a Dero Fixit™ station and air pump, similar to the self-serve amenities outside the Bikes Service Center in Bessey Hall.

IMG_9351The Bike Garage in the Grand River Avenue ramp can hold up to 50 bikes, while the one in the Trowbridge Road ramp has space for 23. Annual and shorter term memberships provide are available immediately and provide access to both facilities.  Since there is a physical capacity of 73 bikes that can be parked between the two facilities and membership will be available on a first-come first-served basis.

“Campus cyclists now have new options: if you live too far away from campus to ride your bike the whole way you can keep your bike in the garage over night and have it ready to ride once on campus.”  said Tim Potter, MSU Bikes’ Sustainable Transportation Manager, who oversees the operations.  “Or, if you find the garages too far away from your office consider keeping a 2nd inexpensive bike locked in the garage and then lock your nice bike in the garage and ride the cheaper one to your building.”

One of our customers’ top 10 favorite things about the bike parking garages:
1. Your campus bike (and all its removable parts) will all be there when you need them.
2. Your campus bike will stay dry and rust-free over nights and weekends.
3. It’s lit and safe in the dark winter mornings and evenings.
4. Your campus bike won’t get kicked in on the racks after the bar crawls.
5. You can park your car in the Grand River ramp then jump on your bike to get around campus fast – great during campus construction, game days or when the inner lots are full (that’s all the time.)
6. Leave a bike securely parked on campus and you’ve got easy access to the river trail for weekend rides.
7. Rent is cheap.
8. You get the most optimal parking spot on Grand River.
9. There’s a handy bike pump and repair stand. Super deluxe.
10. Your friends who bike in other cities will be jealous that you have such a luxurious work feature!
(courtesy Marian M. Reiter, Graphic Artist II, Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications)

To sign up for the service either come by our Center and fill out our Bike Garage membership application or do it online via this form; we’ll give you a unique frame sticker and get your MSU ID authorized to access both facilities within 24 hrs.

Continue reading “Secure Bike Parking Facilities on Campus”

Looking for Special Accessories or Parts?

Velo Orange-brand saddles
Velo Orange-brand saddles

Looking for special parts or accessories for a restoration or jazzing up an older vintage bike maybe for someone’s birthday or a Christmas present?  We can special order stuff at great prices from many vendors.

Here’s a short list:  Velo Orange (French-style focus), Merry Sales (SOMA, Nitto, Dia-Compe, other smaller boutique brands; their entire product catalog – w/out prices- can be viewed here), Compass Bicycles (home of Cycles René Herse, Bicycle Quarterly, one of the best quarterly journals on randonneuring-style bikes and related technologies and distributor of Grand Bois parts and accessories from Japan) and United Bicycle Supply (owners of BikeToolsEtc.com, their public website; excellent for repair parts for older bikes/components, awesome tool selection).

Rene Herse crankset from Compass Bicycles
Rene Herse crankset from Compass Bicycles

Give us a call if you’d like a quote and availability.  Our prices can often beat what you can buy these items for elsewhere and you get our excellent pre- and post purchase advice and assistance you wouldn’t get if you purchased them direct.

Honjo Fenders - 4 styles from Merry Sales
Honjo Fenders – 4 styles from Merry Sales

Frame Straightening at MSU Bikes

John and Jordan setting up the frame straightening tool.
John and Jordan setting up the frame straightening tool.
Example of badly bent frame
Example of badly bent frame

Do you have a steel frame bike that was run into a brick wall? MSU Bikes has a tool designed and made after the Park Tools classic tool by a very skilled machinist that we’re able to use to salvage some frames that others might scrap.  Bent forks can be straightened by a very skilled and experienced mechanic with the right tools (assuming the fork is made of steel) but are best replaced.  We don’t currently have such fork straightening tools but stock lots of forks and can order most anything we don’t have.  If you have a steel bike (sorry, aluminum frames are not repairable once bent) with a bent frame bring it on by and we’ll give you a free estimate.  Click here or the pics to see more examples.  This longer article/ discussion about the original Park Tool HTS-1 will give you a LOT more info. about what we can do with this tool for a bent steel frame.

Here’s a couple videos of a repair in progress.  The first one I took while our mechanics were starting the straightening:  http://youtu.be/2ce-mn_HI78  |  After straightening:  http://youtu.be/iyhvYvi-rXU