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IU Surplus unveils new build-your-own bike area, encourages reusing old parts


Intern Landon New tests the size of a wheel during the launch of the M1 IU Surplus Bike Shop on April 24 in the IU Surplus Store. New is a geography major at IU. Sam House Buy Photos

Sustain IU intern Landon New leaned over a bare bike frame, using a wrench to tighten a tire he had just picked up out of a pile. His hands were covered with oil, dirt and dust.

He used tools and spare parts from the IU Surplus Store to build a bike at the bike shop area in the back corner of the shop's warehouse.

While New was working, student Vedang Narain came in to get a new kickstand for a bike he bought off a friend. Narain said he heard about the event on Facebook.  

IU Surplus Store manager Todd Reid and New helped him put it on, and Narain only paid a dollar.

“If someone wants to, they can come and pick parts and make an awesome bike,” Reid said. “Everything on a bike gets used, down to the last nut.”

The bike building area launched during Sustain IU's Root Beers and Gears event.

The event, which offered free root beer floats, is part of a weeklong series of Earth Day events. Other events include Yoga on the Farm, tree planting and an end-of-week symposium where students present research and awards are given to people involved in Sustain IU .

The week is to make people aware of how they can become involved in sustainability projects, director of sustainability Andrew Predmore said.

The IU Office of Parking Operations was at the event selling $10 bike permits so if a student bought a bike while there he or she could register it immediately. The IU Libraries' Government Information, Maps and Microform Services department was also there giving away Bloomington bike maps.

Reid said the shop will allow students to fix their bikes for a lower price than a regular bike shop.

It’s free to use the tools and buying a spare part is relatively inexpensive, Reid said. If someone needs a part of his or her bike replaced, he or she can come to the shop, get a piece off any bike there and buy it.

Reid said the area also serves as a repair space for someone who might not have a garage to work in.  He hopes building a bike will offer people a priceless sense of accomplishment and reward.

A few years ago, the IU Surplus Store started taking the bikes from IU Office of Parking Operations, which used to auction them off. Reid said he was concerned when the bikes were auctioned, they would just get stripped for parts and then end up in landfills. He would rather they get reused.  

“I want the bikes to end up in a new home, a better home,” he said.

Reuse is the main goal of IU Surplus Store. It takes furniture, electronics and other items IU departments are done with and resells them or separates them for proper recycling.

“We get all kinds of things here,” said Kate O’Shea, IU Surplus Store Customer Service Representative. “The good thing is they don’t end up in landfills.”

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