Bike repair hits the campus streets

EUGENE, Ore. – (April 23, 2014) – When bicycles are in need of repair, they aren’t always in proximity of help.  Today, a new mobile repair station is available at the University of Oregon to bring bike maintenance out in the streets.

Mobile Repair Trike, photo by Al HongoThe UO Bike Program with project partners, Center for Appropriate Transport (CAT) and Student Sustainability Coalition (SSC), unveiled its “Mobile Repair Trike,” as part of the UO’s Earth Week activities.

The mobile repair trike project started when UO Bike Program staff recognized a need to be able to do repairs in the field and bring their services out into the community more often.

The three-wheeled bicycle features a worktable, pegboard of tools and collapsible bike stands. The Student Sustainability Fund (SSF) granted the UO Bike Program $3,700 to build the bicycle.

“It will allow us to work on a lot of bikes where they are, so we don’t have to move them,” says Matt Keeler, UO Bike Program lead mechanic. 

It will also be used for free repair events on campus and in the community, according to Keeler, like the one happening today in front of the Lillis Business Complex on 13th Avenue. Students and community members can stop by for a free safety check from bike program staff and volunteers.

Jan VanderTuin, founder of CAT, worked with the UO Bike Program closely from design to fabrication that was completed by CAT welders.

“Bringing bike repair out into the community is a way to inspire people to ride their bikes,” said VanderTuin. “This is a major step toward taking care of people who ride.”

Al Hongo has been a mechanic with the UO Bike Program since 2008 and currently teaches students and community members in the program’s Bike School.

“I’ve participated in a number of mobile bike repair events… even those cruder, proto repair bikes created quite an impression [on me] and were revolutionary compared to other set-ups,” said Hongo. “This iteration is the next evolution and it is remarkable – so far beyond anything else in its category.”

VanderTuin hopes that by working with young people like Keeler he can convey that learning and education are “an integral part of our lives… and I hope students carry that beyond their time at the university.”

“There’s no right way to do this. There’s no guidebook. Seeing some things not work – small things like having a [bike repair] stand mounted to the bike – was very frustrating,” reflected Keeler. “We didn’t have any preconceived idea of what it should look like; we just tried to make it the best. There was a lot of critical thinking and problem solving.”

About the UO Bike Program
The UO Bike Program launched in September 2008 (as the Bike Loan Program) to increase access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable transportation. Through the integration of long-term bicycle loans, education, and recreation, the UO Bike Program will enhance the physical and cultural development of students. As a resource for alternative transportation, we will minimize our campus and community environmental impact.

About the Center for Appropriate Transport
Founded in October 1992, the Center for Appropriate Transport is a non-profit organization that is committed to community involvement in manufacturing, using, and advocating sustainable modes of transportation.

About the Student Sustainability Fund
The Student Sustainability Fund (SSF) is an annually allocated pot of general funds distributed to students by the leaders in the Student Sustainability Coalition. The Student Sustainability Fund began in 2005, as a collaboration between the ASUO and the Office of Sustainability to provide funding to support student sustainability projects. In total, the SSF has allocated over $260,000 toward projects all over campus that have enriched our community.

Photo credit: Al Hongo

Contact: Briana Orr, UO Bike Program Coordinator,, (541) 852-1429