If you’ve been by the Campus Bike Center, you’ve probably met James. An important advocate for cycling in C-U, we recently asked him a few questions about the Campus Bike Center’s mission and its role in the community.
What’s the mission of the Campus Bike Center?
To encourage and educate students and community members to use and maintain sustainable transportation.
How did the Campus Bike Center begin?
It was started as a second location for The Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign. The University did not have anything like this at the time and the Bike Project was looking to help folks on campus, so it was a natural partnership.
What is the relationship between the Campus Bike Center, UIUC, and the Bike Project?
The Campus Bike Center is a collaboration between the University of Illinois and the Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign.
Have you guys been up to anything interesting recently?
We have added some new equipment that will allow us to clean frames for painting. Some members have been welding their own bikes, and we recently donated 402 bikes to folks in need. We have also made plans for the spring tour the Bike Project staff take every year.
What are some of the short-term goals at the Campus Bike Center?
To increase bicycle education.
What about long-term goals?
To increase campus mode-share, as well as safety, and education.
What’s the biggest bike-related issue that students run into at UIUC?
How can students or community members get involved with the Campus Bike Center?
Come by, hang out, help out. We are an “open shop” which means anyone can come and hang out, help us build bikes, teach someone how to fix a flat, or learn.
How did you personally get involved with bike culture in C-U?
When I was in undergrad at EIU I would occasionally ride to C-U to hang out with friends, go camping, or see concerts.
How has bike culture in C-U changed since you first came here?
It has stayed mostly the same. We lost some influential folks right before I took my position, and the cycling culture hasn’t developed any or changed much in a major way. More kids are riding fixys, lots of folks are riding their fast bikes on county roads, there has been a slow but steady increase in commuting, and the Kickapoo Mountain Bike Club has thrived in a bad time for the trails. The Kickapoo Rail Trail will be the next big thing. My hope is it will put the spotlight on cycling, bring some families into it, and not only bring the cycling community together, but the larger community as a whole.