As the oldest student-run organization on campus, the Bike Shoppe has discovered hundreds of wacky and unrecognizable bike frames in its time: a lime green, taller-than-normal bike currently sits in the far corner. The initiative to promote the maintenance and use of bikes on campus began way back in 1990 – the “Shoppe” was nothing more than a bike-ridden spot near the First Court water fountain – and has evolved into an opportunity students interested in building or repairing their bikes from the bottom-up.
“Instead of fixing people’s bikes for them, it’s more so the students fix the bikes themselves and we’re the mentors,” said third-year Francisco Perez, Bike Shoppe TA of two years. When he isn’t working, he’s exploring his interest in tattooing or pursuing his AOC in art. He summed up his personality in three words: “I’m a Libra.”
“We encourage students to pick [a bike up] and work on it,” added third-year James Montgomery, Bike Shoppe TA, Biology AOC and proud Sagittarius. In his spare time he practices with the New College Sailing Team. He has experience working on bikes since his first year at New College, but started hanging out at the Shoppe last semester. Now he and Perez work together to spread bike enthusiasm.
The Bike Shoppe offers a bike rental program that was, initially, a big hit in the beginning of the semester. With nothing more than an email and a student ID number, a student can borrow a bike for up to a week. Perhaps due to an increase in bike ownership on campus, largely attributed to the recent bike auction hosted by the campus police, use of the bike rental program has declined. However, Perez estimates that the Shoppe sees about 12 people during a good week and 20 during a busy one.
The Shoppe offers services for the atypical as well. “[We will do] anything that we can do,” Perez said. In the past, they aided students in repairing tricycles, rollerblades and skateboards. As long as it has wheels and no motor, they are equipped to help.
“I’m also trying to get Wifi in [the Shoppe] so people can do homework while they’re here,” Montgomery said. Because students drop in to chat and unwind on the couches placed out front, Internet is essential.
First-year Kaithleen Conoepan, an important asset to the Shoppe, volunteers to help Perez and Montgomery in her spare time. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida, has a passion for black-and-white film photography and is uniquely Aquarius. “I mostly came here because I wanted to know more about bikes. I needed one and always had an interest in them, but never really had the opportunity to pursue it in Miami. Now I’m building up a bike.”
IN A SIDEBOX :
Bike Shoppe Hours
Mondays and Tuesdays: 6 p.m.-7 p.m.
Thursdays: 7 p.m.-9 p.m.