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Thread: Bike co-ops

  1. #1
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    Bike co-ops

    Can anyone lend any insight into how bike co-ops operate? I belonged to one in college and it seems like a great thing to introduce to this here community of Austin. If I remember correctly we paid a membership fee and were given access to a great little shop outfitted with most of the tools you could need. I would like to know if there are any currently operating co-ops out there and their contact info so that I could talk shop with someone experienced in organizing such a joint. I understand it would be somewhat of an endeavour but I would like to start thinking about it.

    --Chris

  2. #2
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    Whoa- I didn't know about these co-ops. If anyone knows anything about Chicago bike co-ops, let me know.

    I'm going to check with the local Park Tool guy to see if he knows anything.

    KB

  3. #3
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    Thats a great idea. My LBS lets me use the shop tools on my own bike anytime, they know i dont know how to wrench and will make more money off me in the long run

  4. #4
    bici accumulatori pinerider's Avatar
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    Here's a webpage I've come across for Re-Cycles Co-op in Ottawa. As well as working on their own bikes, volunteers refurbish donated bikes and sell them. Only costs $10 a year to join! There are contacts listed so you can ask them for details on starting one up. Sounds like a great idea.
    ...!

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    There is a bike co-op shop in nearby Toronto, just a block or 2 SE of Spadina. I only saw it just as they were closing up for the day, though.
    As far as starting a co-op, though-you need to be in a town of hard-core commuter cyclists for it to work. Where I live, most of the adults that commute by bike only do so because of poverty. $20 used bikes are plentiful here, so the idea of a co-op is probably pointless in my town.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

  6. #6
    Gordon P
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    D*Alex is talking about The Urbane Cyclist at 180 St. John St. Toronto.

    Website at:

    http://www.ucycle.com/

  7. #7
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Gordon,
    I've checked the Urbane Cyclists site and have been there a number of times. I don't think they are a co-op in the sense Txthroop meant. I don't think MEC is either.
    http://www.mec.ca/Main/articles_main...=1050528969509

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    No, it's not Urbane Cyclist. This shop is down some skinny street with a youth hostel on one end.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

  9. #9
    Gordon P
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    I've checked the Urbane Cyclists site and have been there a number of times. I don't think they are a co-op in the sense Txthroop meant.
    I was trying to put a name to D*Alex's post. I have been there a few times and a friend of a friend had something to do with it, but I never knew how it worked. I agree that MEC is a different animal altogether. I’m going to ask around Winnipeg to see if something like this exists here.
    Regards,
    Gordon p

  10. #10
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    Well, I had no idea this was such a novel concept. Thanks for all the replies so far. Yes, I think a co-op like the one I had in mind would work best in a place where there is a high cyclist density--especially an older-type town that matured before the car culture changed the compact designs of our cities into sprawling ooze. However, here in Austin we have a huge university as well as our share of folks who just like to do the right thing. And the co-op itself wouldn't really have to be that large, just an empty garage really. I'll have to do some market research... I guess I'll give the alma mater a ring and see if the Bike Co-op is still around.

    --Chris

  11. #11
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    I was at a Bike Expo last Sunday near Cleveland, Ohio. These guys had a table set up and I picked up a "handout".

    http://www.ohiocitycycles.org/index.asp

    I finally dug it out of my pile of information, hope it will help.

  12. #12
    Guest
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    Louis-

    This is exactly what the Park Tool guy in Chicago does here. He has the same program set up for Saturday mornings. I actually attended the kids class this past Saturday- I was going through a big discussion on what I could do within the organization, so I missed the lecture on trueing a wheel. I'll probably catch it next time.

    These kinds of organizations are undiscovered jewels.

    KB

  13. #13
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    Yeah you're right Koffee, undiscovered jewels, indeed. I'd love to nose around that place sometime.

    FYI, the "links" section of that website lists many more co-ops.

  14. #14
    Guest
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    Cool. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I'm going to check into that link some more and see what they've got to offer!

    KB

  15. #15
    Gordon P
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    Interesting links related to co-ops.

    International Bicycle Fund
    http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/freebike.htm

    Here is an interesting link for the Community Bicycle Network and Bikeshare.
    http://www.communitybicyclenetwork.org/bikeshare.html

    Koffee you may find this organization interesting.
    Wenches with Wrenches
    http://www.communitybicyclenetwork.org/wrench.html

  16. #16
    Guest
    Guest
    That's too funny... I'm a wench now?

    I'm diggin' that name a lot! Thanks Gordon!

    KB

  17. #17
    Gordon P
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    I hope I didn't offend you Koffee!
    I thought I read in another thread that you were teaching a cycling course and learning bicycle mechanics.

    Gordon p

  18. #18
    Guest
    Guest
    Oh, no!!! It wasn't offensive at all... I found it pretty funny.

    Thanks again for the great links.

    Koffee

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