In order to “promote cycling culture”, the first ever on-campus Bike Shop open hours were held by the Lawrence University Bike Club (LUBC) in the basement of Hiett Hall on Saturday, Sept. 30. The open hours will be held every Saturday from 2 – 4 p.m.
Junior Jason Lau, co-founder of LUBC and mastermind of the bike shop project, said he got the idea during his time working at a bike shop in his hometown. “I started to think about creating a bike shop on campus,” said Lau. “I thought: Oberlin has one, so why not Lawrence!”
LUBC’s activities are much more expansive than the bike shop. Fun rides are held every other weekend to various attractions in the Appleton area, like LUBC’s trip two weeks ago to an apple picking orchard. There are also plans to collaborate fun rides with other clubs on campus, such as LU Slackers—Lawrence’s new slack-lining club.
The Lawrence Cycling club, the branch of LUBC headed by junior Theo Arden, is available to students who like to exercise on their bikes and want to race competitively. The bike shop is for those who not only want to work with or learn about bikes, but are also interested in teaching others. According to Lau, you can join both branches, but you don’t have to cycle to be part of the bike shop. “Taking care of your bike can be a pain,” said Lau. “But it can also make you more self-sufficient.”
Lau added that the bike shop is intended to be a resource for all Lawrence students who want to learn how to fix their bike on their own. Surrounded by bright red bike stands and old tools scattered across the cement floor, students will learn how to change tires, fix gears and maintain their bikes overall. Students can fix their own bike if they know how, or they can get help from head “mechanics”—student members of LUBC who have learned from Lau and others how to fix bikes.
However, it wasn’t always so easy. All of the tools and parts have been scavenged or recycled from the streets of Appleton. The work bench was acquired for free at a garage sale. For a long time, LUBC didn’t even have a space to open their shiny new bike stands, which laid untouched in boxes in members’ rooms for much of last year. During last winter term, LUBC applied for a space for the shop through the Class of 1965 Student Activity Fund, but for months there was no word. Finally, they found that there was an unused room on the lowest level of Hiett, and everything started to fall into place, more or less. “We still need inventory,” explained Lau. “For example, if somebody needs to change a tire, we still don’t have that. Then it becomes a question of how we pay for that.”
The group is currently looking for other, better spaces on campus, but added that the little room at the bottom of Hiett is a “place to start.”