I wish we had one of these at my university

U of Winnipeg bike lab becomes a hub of campus activity

Get active and get riding is the goal of the student-run facility.

by Léo Charbonneau

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Opening day at the Bike Lab in 2011. Photo courtesy of University of Winnipeg.

The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association wanted a campus bicycle repair shop. The university’s sustainability office was looking for ideas to promote active and sustainable transit options. Bingo. “It didn’t take very long for the administrative folks and the students to realize that there was an opportunity for cooperation,” says Alana Lajoie-O’Malley, director of the campus sustainability office.

Ms. Lajoie-O’Malley stresses, however, that the bike shop was very much a student-led initiative. In 2009, the student association won a referendum to begin collecting an annual student levy of two dollars to pay for a facility. A private capital donation of $100,000 from an alumnus sealed the deal. The UWSA Bike Lab was opened in October 2011 and has since become a major hub of campus activity.

“We’ve seen an overwhelming response to what we’re trying to do. So much so that we’re looking at expanding the facility to accommodate more users,” says Rorie McLeod Arnould, UWSA president for 2014-15. Users can drop in during set hours to fix their bike under the guidance of on-site volunteers. The Bike Lab also organizes numerous community outreach activities and advocates for better cycling infrastructure at the municipal level.

Users can drop in during set hours to fix their bike under the guidance of on-site volunteers. The Bike Lab also organizes numerous community outreach activities, including “build a bike” workshops, a bike mechanics training program, cycling safety sessions and special group rides. The Bike Lab also accepts donor bicycles, which are then restored and offered to those without bikes.

Read the rest of the article at University Affairs.

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