In 2007, Kennesaw State University (KSU) first opened the bike shop as a service center for their recreation facility rental bikes. One year later, that service became offered to the students and flourished into the successful program it is today.
To speak on that success, Ed Baltes, the assistant director of outdoor adventures and experiential initiatives at KSU, answered a few questions about their bike shop program:
Ed Baltes: We use students. We have a comprehensive training program designed to take someone with no mechanical skills and teach them to be proficient bicycle mechanics, as well as how to be competent employees. We also partner with our academy for inclusive learners to offer employment experiences for student with both cognitive and physical disabilities.
EB: The services being offered are included in the recreation fee. We offer repair clinics, host group bike rides, teach students how to ride a two-wheeled bike, teach trail design, building and maintenance – all at no additional cost to the students.
EB: The rec department is benefitted by having one more offering for students who might not be interested in working out in a gym or participating in club or intramural sports. We are also a big component of our outdoor adventures student development initiatives. We get to work very closely with our student staff and mentor them to better equip for life after graduation. We are also in a unique position to offer support for students who might be struggling with college or life in general.
EB: Find partners within your university to help support the financial burdens of running such a program, such as sustainability or parking departments. Also hire or train at least one full-time staff member who is proficient with bicycles.