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Do-it-yourself bike repair station installed on campus

A new do-it-yourself bicycle repair station was installed in the Beard Parking Garage near the Engineering buildings and the Juniper-Poplar residence halls over winter break.

This station boasts repair tools of almost every kind, such as a tire pump with an air gauge and a rack to elevate bicycles to be repaired at eye level.

The repair station is a pilot station, the first of its kind at USF and among few in the Tampa Bay area. The station was installed by the New North Transportation Alliance (NNTA), which encourages sustainable transportation and also installed bike racks adjacent to the new station.

The repair station cost $900, said Julie Bond, senior research associate and director at the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR), which operates the station. Funding for the repair station was provided by Florida Department of Transportation District Seven.

The station is located near the CUTR office to make monitoring the station easier, Bond said. CUTR is requesting feedback from its users about their experience while self-repairing their bicycles.

Based on the amount of positive feedback, more repair stations may be installed, Bond said. We received a lot of requests from cyclists who wanted a place to inflate their tires and make small adjustments themselves, Bond said. We researched these stations, found that they were in use on other campuses, and chose to install one here.

The self-serve repair station is one among a wave of similar do-it-yourself stations arriving at college campuses across the nation. Jacqueline LeBrun, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, said she is an avid bicycle-rider and had seen similar repair stations at the University of Utah.

I was excited to see the bike repair stations at the University of Utah, LeBrun said. Our station will encourage students to ride bikes more often.

LeBrun works at a bicycle shop off-campus, and owns much of the equipment offered by the repair station. However, she said she prefers to use the bicycle rack attached to the repair station in order to make repairs to her own bicycle.

Some students may be intimidated by bike problems, so they may not use the repair station, she said.

USF offers free bicycle repair services at the Outdoor Recreation Center. The only costs paid by students are for the parts needed to repair their bicycles.

Christopher Allemang, a freshman majoring in electrical engineering, said he would prefer to repair his bike himself.

Im a do-it-yourself kind of guy, he said. I fix everything else myself, so Im glad to see that USF caters to people like me. Im comforted by the fact that I could have Campus Recreation repair my bike also.

Garrett Brown, student supervisor at Outdoor Recreation, said the new repair station is equipped for most repairs, but cannot fix every problem.

If you know how to use it, then use it, Brown said. If you dont, then bring it to Campus Rec.

Brown said he urges students who may not understand how to repair their bicycles to allow the Center repair shop to do it, in order to avoid more damage to their bicycles.

Robert Barto, who also works at the Outdoor Recreation bike shop, said he was excited for the new repair station.

Its really cool, (the repair station) is a great program, Barto said. The more biking stuff on campus, the better.

Barto said he does not worry that student use of the bicycle shop will decline despite the do-it-yourself station.

Eighty percent of repairs can be done with the new bike repair station, but we can do almost any repair here, Barto said.

Students who wish to offer feedback on the new bike repair station may visit www.tampabaycycle.com.