Amid much celebration Thursday afternoon, the U of M Bike Center finally opened in a former storage space/transit station in the Oak Street Ramp. For those that might not remember, it was announced in March 2009 that a bike center and commuter tracking system at the U would receive funding from a grant through Bike Walk Twin Cities. The space has undergone extensive remodeling and has been completely transformed since then.
The center now houses the 3rd location of the Hub Bike Co-op. The folks at the Hub plan on offering open shop hours, hosting educational classes and being a major resource for bike commuters to rely on, in addition to their normal repair and retail offerings. There is a 10% discount for all U of M affiliates.
Validation for bicycle commuting trips is an additional (FREE) perk that is getting a lot of interest. By signing up at the center, your trips can be tracked with a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag that is attached to the spokes of your bicycle wheel. Yes, you can receive multiple tags for multiple bicycles. U of M staff can receive deductions on health insurance premiums while students will be entered into monthly raffles for prizes (Civia sponsorship on-board). This system has undergone testing at the U for several months and is being implemented with technology from Dero.
Becoming a member of the center ($85/year fee) gives you access to a wider ranger of perks. Members are given 24/7 access to secure bicycle parking, shower and locker facilities. Located on the outside of the building will be an after hours repair station.
The U of M has been a hot spot of bicycle news recently. Neon green bike lanes and boxes have been installed on 15th Ave SE, which has the highest number of bicycle commuters. There has also been a lot of controversy over $115 tickets being handed out for not dismounting a bicycle in pedestrian zones. A map is available and if you can’t remember, your safest bet is always riding on the road.