Bike at Illinois, in collaboration with the Student Sustainability Committee, organizes free Bike Maintenance classes every Monday at the Campus Bike Center. The program strives to answer basic questions about bike maintenance and safety. Attendees learn useful skills that include: reading PSI, using bike pumps on and off campus, what to do in emergency fill up situations, information about brakes and bike consumables, chain checker tools, lubrication methods, and quick releases. The class also explains bike traffic safety.

We asked Lily Wilcock, Active Transportation Coordinator, about the inspiration behind this program. Initially, Campus Bike Center volunteers taught specific biking topics that catered to niche community members, but were not applicable to the mass student body. At a few instances, Lily had students tell her that they had a flat tire, so they would ride the bus to class until their parents agreed to buy them a car. On checking the statistics, Lily found that the average American household spends about $10,000 on cars annually.

“A flat tire is something that takes literally 5 minutes to fix, so why not have classes to teach students that?”, thought Lily.

If the classes receive a good response, there is potential to get additional funding and have bike maintenance offered as a full-time class through campus recreation. “Bicycling for me is not only about environmentally sustainability but also economic sustainability”, says Lily.

She also addressed the importance of bike registration, for those that use bikes in and around the Champaign-Urbana community. Having a bike registered simplifies stolen bike recovery and major maintenance issues. The university also requires bike registration and provides the service cost free.

One of the upcoming events at Bike at Illinois is Light the Night, on September 26th. Volunteers will hand out free bike lights to students that do not have them. There will also be bike registrations happening alongside, so make sure to stop by!

For more information about Bike at Illinois, make sure to follow their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Bike.Illinois/. They will also have an updated website by the end of the year, so stay tuned!

Written by Dhwani Jain