Now Open: On-campus shop a bike fixer upper


Katia Canete/ Contributing Writer

Cyclists at the University now have a place to tune-up their bikes.

The FIU Bike Shop, now open at the Modesto Maidique Campus, promotes cycling as a way for students to move around campus and offers the University community standard tune-ups for their bikes, installment of tires, safety checks, replacements and other adjustments.

“There [isn’t] really a bike shop that’s close to FIU, within riding distance, unless you want to get on some very busy and dangerous roads. To have a shop at a location we already spend a lot of time at is really important,” said Jason Diaz, president of the FIU Cycling Club.

Brandt Absolu, senior electrical engineering major, started this project with the Office of Sustainability last spring, making fixes at the FIU Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays next to the Green Library.

With funding from Recreation Services and the Office of Parking and Transportation, the FIU Bike Shop has now obtained it’s own locale in the Recreation Trailer, located west of Panther Garage.

“I thought this was a good idea [because] of the fact that parking is such an issue. Biking is a good option for students that live near or on campus,” Absolu said. “The campus is in an area where there aren’t many bike shops around and if a student gets a flat they shouldn’t be stranded.”

“Before, I don’t think I would ride a bike to school, but now I think it’s safe and I don’t have to worry about getting stuck on campus if I get a flat,” said Jessica Gomez, junior chemistry major.

Absolu also mentioned that he hopes to see the same demand the Bike Shop saw at the FIU Farmer’s Market. “Also if the word gets out, more people will come for service.”

The Bike Shop is open to both University students and the public, with students receiving discounted prices for all services. “I think it will be a great option for cyclists looking to get a tune up or adjustment done while they’re on campus,” Diaz said.

In 2013, the Bike Shop also plans to hold bike repair classes to teach students basic fixes for their bikes. According to Andrew Black, Recreation Facility Operations Coordinator, there has been a recent increase in bike usage on campus.

“The recent increase… is due to all the additional students living on campus; it’s a fast way for students to get around and not have to worry about parking,” Black said.

Along with the Bike Shop, other bike-friendly initiatives are also arising on campus. According to both Absolu and Alexandra Dutton, program assistant in the Office of Sustainability, the Department of Parking and Transportation is painting signs to ease cyclist traffic.

“[The department] is painting bike lanes on the road as the roadways on campus are expanded, and we are also working with them to paint “sharrows” on the road way, which is a shared lane…depicting [how] cars should share the road with bicyclists,” Dutton said.

“The signs are a work in progress. I was expecting them to be up during the summer but I suppose there has been a delay,” Absolu said.

The Deparment of Parking and Transportation could not be reached for comment.

According to the project summary, the Florida Department of Transportation will also be adding bicycle lanes in both directions of SW 8 St. between SW 112 Ave. and SW 79 Ave. as part of the ongoing construction along 8th st.

As per the Florida Department of Transportation, the completion date for the project is April 2013. The Office of Sustainability, who partnered with Absolu in the early stages of the FIU Bike Shop, is also seeking a bike-friendly campus designation.

“The Office of University Sustainability supports biking as a healthy and environmentally friendly way of transportation,” Dutton said. “We are working with different departments on campus to make FIU more bike friendly and ultimately pursue the certification as a Bike Friendly University as designated by the league of American Bicyclists.”

Funded by both Recreation Services and the Office of Parking and Transportation, air pumps have been added to many bike racks around campus to keep bike tires in shape.

As for bike theft, Black stated that stolen bikes are due to bikes not being locked up properly or just being left without a lock completely.

He added that bike abandonment is more common due to flat tires, an issue that finds its solution with the FIU Bike Shop.

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