UCSD Bike Shop broadens scope

    While many UCSD students choose to walk around campus every day, some students prefer biking or skateboarding as more expedient forms of transportation.

    For almost 35 years, students have been able to receive services for their bicycle needs at an on-campus location. The UCSD Bike Shop, which is located in the Old Student Center, specializes in bicycle repair and maintenance while offering a variety of bicycle-related equipment and parts aimed to ensure both a safe and fun ride for its customers.

    However, as skateboards have had a growing appeal with the student population, the UCSD Bike Shop has recently begun to offer skateboard parts to meet the incremental demands from the skateboarding crowd.

    “”What happened is that a lot of people requested bearings, truck nuts and other types of parts so we began to offer a whole selection of them,”” said Kris Wells, manager of the UCSD Bike Shop and former UCSD student.

    Part of the reason that the Bike Shop decided to market skateboarding equipment is that the shop hopes and expects to attract traffic while extending its services to satisfy the needs of those students who own skateboards.

    “”It also creates an additional service offered on the UCSD campus and serves as a good addition that will keep people coming to the Student Center,”” Wells said.

    In the center of the Bike Shop alongside a rack of bicycles, a variety of skateboard decks with such brands as Flip, Element, Lib Tech, Blacklabel, Shorty’s, Lucky and ATM are on display with other skateboarding paraphernalia such as bearings, wheels and trucks. Replacement hardware such as truck nuts and bolts, kinpins and bolts, grip tape, stickers and riser plates are also available.

    Wells has been shopping around at most of the local board shops in San Diego, mainly located in Pacific Beach and Encinitas, to compare and match prices.

    “”The Bike Shop offers prices that are pretty competitive because students don’t want to spend a lot of money,”” Wells said.

    While the sale of skateboarding parts reflects recent expansions, the Bike Shop has undergone quite a few changes since its inception in 1968. The Bike Shop first started operating in a Quanza hut located in Eleanor Roosevelt College. Basic services such as replacing flat tires and oiling services were provided for customers. As its clientele base grew, the Bike Shop then moved to what is now Groundwork Books and after a couple of years, it moved next door to its current location.

    The shop currently offers a wide range of services such as comprehensive tune-ups, drivetrain cleaning, inspection, oil change, brake adjustment, shifting adjustment, tire replacement and more. The shop also provides a selection of inner tubes, tires, replacement wheels and now skateboarding parts for sale. Even though big locks and lights are the shop’s two biggest sellers due to students’ concern for their personal safety and security, the shop offers a wide variety of bicycles available to purchase and rent.

    Although Wells said that the Bike Shop doesn’t really attract the local (San Diego) clientele because it is located within the campus and it’s difficult to find parking, he said that the shop is always attracting new people, especially transfer students.

    The initial demands for skateboard-related equipment consisted mainly of bearing and replacement parts. Although no longboards are in stock as of now, Wells expects G&S or Fibreflex longboards to become available as soon as the shop attracts more customers.

    “”I think skateboarding is rad. People come in here all the time asking for the parts, and it’s just a good addition to the Bike Shop,”” said Lee Kraus, an employee of the Bike Shop.

    The Bike Shop plans to advertise in a few weeks about its new addition in order to spread the news among students. Wells plans to work with a dedicated marketing employee to discuss future marketing strategies, such as handing out fliers on library walk and possibly distributing a newsletter every quarter to inform students about new additions and services offered at the shop.

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