Campus bike loan and repair space is back, here’s what you need to
know to use it
After more than two years since the closure of SPOKES, students will once again have access to a bike loan program on campus. The new BikeHub, the rebrand of SPOKES, will launch in the first week of August under UVic leadership and will offer bike loans and tune-ups to the university community.
From 2003 until March 2020, the volunteer-run SPOKES offered refurbished bikes for students to loan, among other services. In April 2021, after COVID-19 forced the program’s closure, SPOKES volunteers spoke with the Martlet claiming that the then independent program was facing problems with reopening, and UVic cited insurance problems as the main obstacle.
Now the former SPOKES space in the Campus Bike Centre has been revived as the BikeHub, which is fully part of the university and under the management of Campus Security’s Parking and Transportation Unit.
“The BikeHub stands firmly on the solid foundation of the SPOKES program, which was refurbishing used bikes and offering them to members of the UVic community as a sustainable option for personal transportation,” said Peter Konczarek, Campus Bike Centre supervisor, adding that the BikeHub plans to hold contests through social media and eventually would like to plan a bike festival.
The BikeHub will offer both long and short-term loans on a deposit system. For long-term rentals, the bikes cost $100 and the borrower gets back a larger portion of their deposit the longer they keep and ride the bike. So, ride the bike for one term and get back $30, ride it for two and get back $40, ride it for three or longer and get back $50. This system is meant to incentivise users to keep riding for longer. Loaned bikes also should be dropped off to the BikeHub once a month for free maintenance. Short term rentals will cost $10 a day or $30 for a week.
When it was SPOKES, the bike loan cost was $40 and students got half the deposit back when they returned the bike.
BikeHub will operate on a first come first served basis through loan applications. According to UVic, over 150 bikes are set to go for the program start. More information will become available on UVic’s website closer to the launch.
Depending on the number of volunteers the program gets, the BikeHub plans to operate as a full bike shop, offering maintenance for the loaned bikes as well as $20 tune-ups for UVic students, faculty, and staff who have their own bikes. Basic tune-ups can cost over $90 at other shops in the city. The BikeHub space will also sell bikes from about $150–$200 as well as gear and equipment.
“We encourage former SPOKES volunteers to apply to become a BikeHub volunteer and lend their experience to the newly branded program,” said Konczarek. “The mission statement of the BikeHub is: Building relationships through responsive, reliable service. That’s what we plan to do in the shop, as well as in the community.”
The BikeHub is located in the Campus Bike Centre, which offers covered parking for 234 bikes as well as equipment lockers and bike lockers. Students can rent a bike locker for $40 per semester or $10 per semester for an equipment locker.
This program rebrand comes as UVic recently announced that Finnerty Road is getting a new bike lane that is set to be ready for the fall semester. Alongside the new bus exchange, the reopening of the bike loan program at UVic is intended to get those of us traveling to campus this fall to do so sustainably.