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Old 04-29-08, 10:17 AM   #1
roseskunk
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bike co-op anyone?

howdy folks. i'm a prof at a small school in the south, and i'm very interested in starting a bike co-op here. whether it would be a part of the school depends on the interest, but i''m wondering if anyone has any experience with co-ops... either associated with schools or not. i'm in a small town of 8000, with another 8500 students. this would be a perfect town for riding, the winters are mild and the town is small enough to be able to ride from one end to the other in fifteen minutes. few people ride here though, as it's perceived as... well, i don't don't really know. everyone drives a truck even across campus when you can see the other building a few hundred yards away. i'm trying to change that.

i've been buying bikes on craigslist and giving them to students, but as you can imagine that gets expensive pretty quickly. and i think a co-op would be a great place to foster other alternative ways of doing things- energy for one, and a nice organic garden for another. maybe i'm just dreaming, but i think it could work, and if it can work here (in texas) it can work anywhere.


so, any advice would be appreciated. thanks!
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Old 04-29-08, 03:37 PM   #2
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Great idea, and best of luck! Involve the kids.

In the town I used to live in, I helped organize a bike coop. Here's their link:

http://www.mrbikecoop.com/
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Old 04-29-08, 04:07 PM   #3
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Check with the local police/university police and see how many bikes they have in unclaimed property, perhaps they could be diverted to start the co-op. I would charge at least a little bit for bikes to help cover the cost of tools and required new parts.

I have no clue how to set up a co-op, but have plenty of sad bikes I would donate if I was closer.

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Old 04-29-08, 07:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roseskunk View Post
howdy folks. i'm a prof at a small school in the south, and i'm very interested in starting a bike co-op here. whether it would be a part of the school depends on the interest, but i''m wondering if anyone has any experience with co-ops... either associated with schools or not. i'm in a small town of 8000, with another 8500 students. this would be a perfect town for riding, the winters are mild and the town is small enough to be able to ride from one end to the other in fifteen minutes. few people ride here though, as it's perceived as... well, i don't don't really know. everyone drives a truck even across campus when you can see the other building a few hundred yards away. i'm trying to change that.

i've been buying bikes on craigslist and giving them to students, but as you can imagine that gets expensive pretty quickly. and i think a co-op would be a great place to foster other alternative ways of doing things- energy for one, and a nice organic garden for another. maybe i'm just dreaming, but i think it could work, and if it can work here (in texas) it can work anywhere.


so, any advice would be appreciated. thanks!
longest running and most successful bike co-op I've heard of

http://www.brixtoncycles.co.uk/find_us.html

http://www.brixtoncycles.co.uk/news.html
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Old 04-29-08, 07:36 PM   #5
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The Edmonton Bicycle commuter's Society started from very humble beginnings in 1980 and the old timers tell me that they started working out of a wood heated shop with barely any facilities, tools, and a very limited membership.

Fast froward 28 years and our society has become a well known and rather powerful force in the community to promote cycling and our shop, Bikeworks, is as well equipped as any commercial operation and often has parts no one else has.

Our bike month is held through June and we can boast that during this time when there are many daily events, festivities, and activities, everything that was used was transported by bicycle.

We handle the bike parking at nearly every major festival here and Edmonton really is the festival capital of Canada.

I sit on the board and volunteer as a mechanic and may be stepping down from my board position to run the shop for the summer as a paid employee at out shop where we focus on teaching skills rather than performing repairs for individuals.
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Old 04-29-08, 08:37 PM   #6
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8500 students isn't a lot, but I would think they have a decent SUB. At every institution I've attended or worked, their bike coop or student run bike shop has been in the SUB. Space there is normally allocated by the SU, which generally is eco friendly and mildly-extremely socialist.... which means they normally (or always in my experience) hand over cheap space for use. The key is getting someone on the board of the SU involved. Faculty support normally goes a long way in getting matching funds from the institution to help a SU sponsored initiative, especially if you can establish that faculty/staff will use it.
It also helps if the VP - Buildings and Facilities for the Uni is fed up with students parking in "his" spot.... but that can always be arranged if it isn't happening already. ;-)
As a side note: all the sustained campus bike coops I've seen charge a nominal fee (like $20/year) for the bikes to help cover the cost of the space and parts to build up donated bikes and maintain current ones.
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Old 04-30-08, 10:42 AM   #7
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Where are you? Yellow bike in Austin has been known to aid others in start up.
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Old 05-06-08, 02:19 PM   #8
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thanks guys, all this is great. i need to do more research, poll some folks to see who might actually use a coop, and maybe start out with some events, rides, etc. i'm in commerce at texas a&m/commerce. i know that there's a bike club at college station, i'm going to contact them as well. i absolutely intend to get the kids involved as well as faculty and administration... keep sending me ideas!!! thanks! v
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