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Bike repair stations, UNI Outdoors office offer services for bike riders

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012

Updated: Thursday, August 23, 2012 13:08

The many students who will use a bike to navigate the University of Northern Iowa campus this year not only have to worry about maintaining a good GPA but also maintaining the thing that gets them to class on time. Anything from a flat tire to a loose chain could leave students stranded and walking to class just like everybody else, but this year the university is making it a little easier to keep that from happening.

For the students and staff of UNI, there are now multiple solutions for fixing a bike without going to a repair shop off campus. The UNI Outdoors office has offered low-price repairs for students and faculty for nearly 10 years. This year, sophomore James Chidister, a leisure youth and human services major, works as the only bike repairman for the program. His office is located in the back of the UNI Outdoors office.

“The goal of the program is to give students and staff somewhere they can have their bike repaired well for a low price,” Chidister said. “We also do a couple of classes like basic bike repair stuff, like fixing a flat tire.”
With Chidister being a one-man team for the bike repair at UNI Outdoors, he has become the person to see on campus for many bikers with problems. With about three bikes a week in his shop, Chidister has gotten some traction with the service but it is still not very well known around campus. This year, in hopes of alerting students to the program’s existence, Chidisiter wants to place posters around campus to let bike owners know he is there if needed.  
Not only does the UNI Outdoors office offer a cheap way for students and faculty to repair their bikes, the new addition of the Dero Fixit stations on campus now make it more convenient to do simple things like inflating tires and tightening bolts. The two new stations are located in front of the WRC and across from Maucker Union, outside of Sabin Hall. The Fixit station is designed so that a bike may be placed on a hanger on the stand so the pedals and wheels are able to rotate during adjustments, making repairs easier. As well as an air pump to inflate tires, the Fixit comes with a multitude of tools connected by steel cables, which include anything from an allen wrench set to screwdrivers and pedal wrenches.

As many students are not bike repair experts like Chidister, there is an easier way to help solve many basic problems a bike can have. On the front of the Fixit, there is a “Quick Read” code that can be scanned using a smart phone, which will download instructions on how to fix different parts on a bike.

According to Nick Maddix, the UNI Cycling Club’s past president, these new repair stations were purchased in April and installed in late May.

“Originally we approached the Residential Hall Association for a grant of $1000, but then it was revealed to us that UNI still had some money left over from the 2007 RAGBRAI Fund. So we decided to utilize that money for the Fixit stands,” Maddix said.

Maddix originally saw the Fixit stations in Iowa City and decided this was something that the UNI campus could use for the simple repairs bikes need.

“I think it’s a really handy device because you can stop by in between classes to use it really quick,” senior philosophy major Joe Enabnit said. “Otherwise for something major I wouldn’t attempt to use this.”
With the new Fixit stations and the UNI Outdoors offering low-cost bike repairs, UNI is on its way to becoming a more biker friendly campus.

“I hope with my project that I have started to turn the wheels into motion -- the prospect of a campus wide bike sharing system, more bike facilities, lockers, racks, bike lanes and other benefits,” Maddix said.

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