By Richard Zagrzecki
Students who use bicycles to get around campus now have a place to go and make minor repairs or fill up a tire that is low on air.
A bicycle repair station, complete with air pump and tools, recently was installed outside of the Cougar Village II residential facility. It didn't take very long at all for students to take notice.
"The repair station was literally being used by a student before we even finished cleaning up the dust," said UH Facility Manager Craig Whitfield, who helped spearhead the effort. "I imagine it will become very popular because there are so many bikes on campus."
The station has a manual bike pump that fits both types of tire valves. There is also a rack that students can use to hold their bikes solidly off the ground while making minor repairs. An assortment of tools and wrenches are attached to long cables that students can use.
"This repair station is a welcome and much-needed addition, especially for our residential students who rely heavily on their bicycles to travel across campus," said Mackenzie Wysong, assistant director for Facilities and Conference Services with Student Housing and Residential Life.
Facilities Management installed the repair station, which was paid for by Student Housing and Residential Life. The possibility also exists that more stations could be added in strategic locations across campus.
"Before this station was installed, there was no place on campus to repair a bicycle, even if you knew how to do it. There were no air pumps. There were no tools," Whitfield said.
The idea of a repair station was born from discussions about how to lessen the number of broken and abandoned bicycles left at the many bicycle racks across campus. Approximately 125 abandoned bikes were identified and removed at the end of 2013 with assistance from the UH Police Department, then more were taken this past May and last month.
"After we did this the first time, we started discussing why the bikes were being abandoned and left in the racks in poor condition," Whitfield said. "We thought a fix-it station was one thing that could help reduce the number of bikes that fall into disarray."
Jeremy Gor, the bike program coordinator for the UH Office of Sustainability, said the repair station is a great idea.
"Anything that makes it easier to use bicycles here on campus will be welcomed and embraced by students," he said. "This is fantastic."