Biking fix-it stands

Oregon+State+Civil+Engineering+major+and+bike+commuter+Ben+Frybeck+attempts+to+make+use+of+the+bike+repair+station+outside+of+the+Student+Experience+Center+at+Oregon+State+University+in+Corvallis%2C+Ore.+on+August+22%2C+2022.+The+bike+stations%2C+meant+as+a+resource+for+student+and+faculty+bike+commuters%2C+are+often+left+in+disrepair+leaving+commuters+searching+for+alternative+solutions.%0A%0A

Jess Hume-Pantuso

Oregon State Civil Engineering major and bike commuter Ben Frybeck attempts to make use of the bike repair station outside of the Student Experience Center at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore. on August 22, 2022. The bike stations, meant as a resource for student and faculty bike commuters, are often left in disrepair leaving commuters searching for alternative solutions.

Haley Stark, News Contributor

Located all around the Oregon State University campus, four fix-it stands give bikers the opportunity to make small repairs on the go. However, recent occurrences of theft and vandalism have limited the functionality of these stations. 

First introduced by OSU Transportation Services seven years ago, the fix-it stands provide a free-to-use set of basic tools and bike pumps. The stands serve as a companion to Dixon Recreation Center’s Bike Shop, where more extensive repairs can be performed for a small fee.

According to OSU’s Transportation Options Supervisor Sarah Bronstein, there’s been various issues with the pump heads at these stations, leading to difficulty refilling tires. 

“When they were first installed, they had a different style of pump head on them that was made of plastic, and those tended to wear out fairly quickly, ” Bronstein said. “Students got frustrated because the pumps appeared to be intact but then when they tried to use them, they didn’t actually work.”

Broken pump heads pose issues for students who travel to their classes or jobs by bicycle. These problems uniquely affect students like environmental science major Lucy Martin, who travels directly to her off-campus lab job after class.

“As of right now, my only means of transportation to work is by bicycle, so not having access to repairs would potentially make it very difficult for me to get to work,” Martin said. “I would probably have to walk, which would add at least 15 minutes to my transportation back and forth.”

Transportation Services’ solution was to use more durable metal pump heads, which the stands currently implement, but they present their own issues.

“That turns out to be an attractive item to steal, for reasons I don’t totally understand because I’m not sure what good a pump head is to anyone without the pump that it goes with,” Bronstein said.

Due to the pump heads being out of stock, OSU Transportation Services has had difficulties maintaining the fix-it stands. According to Bronstein, the department is considering returning to the plastic pump heads of old just so bikers have something to use on campus.

Despite the difficulties her department has had maintaining the stands, Director of Transportation Services Meredith Williams believes that they are an important amenity to have on campus and encourages further implementation.

“If there is interest in having an additional fix-it stand in a different location on campus, we’d like people to contact transportation services to mention that so we can consider that,” Williams said.

Current locations of fix-it stands on campus include the Student Experience Center, Dixon Recreation Center, Wilson/McNary Hall, and the Western Building. Installing an additional stand on campus would cost an estimated $1,500-$2,000 in addition to labor costs.