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Old 09-20-13, 08:26 AM   #1
anthonygeo
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Bike Co-Op?!

What are these bike co-ops you guys speak of? I live in a small town, I did google it just curious how its different from a LBS.
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Old 09-20-13, 09:09 AM   #2
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LBSes tend to sell, service, and stock parts for the newest and higher-end bikes. Bike co-ops try to keep bikes of all ages running. Different business models, different clientele for the most part.
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Old 09-20-13, 09:13 AM   #3
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A bicycle cooperative ("bike coop"), bicycle co-operative ("bike co-op"), bike kitchen, or community bike shop is a non-profit assisted-service bicycle repair shop. Ordinary people bring in bicycles needing repair or maintenance; volunteers teach them how to do the required steps. The users learn repair skills which are useful both for breakdowns on the road and for at-home repairs. Co-ops also sell new and used bike parts. In addition, they may provide other services, such as selling refurbished bikes and offering formal group bike-repair classes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/bicycle_cooperative
I haven't heard of many in small towns, but medium and larger cities may have them.
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Old 09-20-13, 09:16 AM   #4
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I am a card carrying member, volunteer, and former board member of our local co-op which is one of the oldest and longest running in North America.

We currently operate two shops which are fully equipped where members and non members can come and work on their own bicycles and be assisted by a body of well trained volunteers and some professional mechanics.

Rates for members is $2.00 / hr and non members pay $5.00 / hr - we stock new parts and maintain a stock of used parts that we sell at very competitive rates.

We are also heavily involved in local advocacy and promotion of cycling as a means of effective personal transportation.
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Old 09-20-13, 09:22 AM   #5
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So co-ops are more like open workshops, then? Man, that'd be nice. I wouldn't have to hunt down each tool I need piecemeal...

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Old 09-20-13, 09:23 AM   #6
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I am a card carrying member, volunteer, and former board member of our local co-op which is one of the oldest and longest running in North America.

We currently operate two shops which are fully equipped where members and non members can come and work on their own bicycles and be assisted by a body of well trained volunteers and some professional mechanics.

Rates for members is $2.00 / hr and non members pay $5.00 / hr - we stock new parts and maintain a stock of used parts that we sell at very competitive rates.

We are also heavily involved in local advocacy and promotion of cycling as a means of effective personal transportation.
Whoa so neat, we have one LBS so I think something like a co-op would be frowned on.
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Old 09-20-13, 09:31 AM   #7
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Other than just use google are these things usually called something that would make it easy to find one? Is there a co-op website that may list them?
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Old 09-20-13, 09:31 AM   #8
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Whoa so neat, we have one LBS so I think something like a co-op would be frowned on.
Our local shops support our co-op with donations of parts and consumables and offer discounts to our members.

The people who come to our shop to have work done are often people who would not be able to afford regular shop rates or are do it yourself types who want to learn.

Our teaching program is fairly comprehensive and a good number of local mechanics have learned a good deal from these classes and time spent volunteering in the shop which exposes them to a myriad number of bicycles, teaches problem solving skills, and helps develop a good stand side manner.
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Old 09-20-13, 09:32 AM   #9
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Other than just use google are these things usually called something that would make it easy to find one? Is there a co-op website that may list them?
I did just find one via google but I'm wondering if there is a community of sorts.
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Old 09-20-13, 09:39 AM   #10
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Bike Co-Op?!

So people with experience get together and start one? I'd love to get one going in my town!
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Old 09-20-13, 09:47 AM   #11
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They also recycle used bicycles/parts. If you are looking for an obscure piece, they have bins of them to sort through. If you find what you are looking for it will be (almost) free. It's not time efficient, but it is cost-effective and fun and educational.

You will not learn much at the LBS. You will learn a lot at a co-op. IME the mechanics are 'teachers' as much as mechanics.

Bike co-ops are awesome.*



*They are not for everybody. It can be hit-or-miss. Sometimes you will spend a bunch of time and get nothing accomplished because they didn't have the right part. Sometimes they are crowded so you will not get much attention from anybody. But that's the risk you take.
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Old 09-20-13, 10:00 AM   #12
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Bike Co-Op?!

I'm totally missing out on this, I may search St Louis or Nashville just to check one out.
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Old 09-20-13, 10:17 AM   #13
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You guys need to work on your Google-fu: http://www.bikecollectives.org/wiki/...&Itemid=100015
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Old 09-20-13, 10:19 AM   #14
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Whoa so neat, we have one LBS so I think something like a co-op would be frowned on.
There is sometimes tension and perceived competition between co-ops and LBSes, but there need not be. They tend to serve different ends of the market, and LBSes should look at co-ops as an investment in their customer base. Get less-fortunate people (and more people in general) on bikes, and they may be able to afford higher-tier stuff someday.
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Old 09-20-13, 11:15 AM   #15
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Other than just use google are these things usually called something that would make it easy to find one? Is there a co-op website that may list them?
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You guys need to work on your Google-fu: http://www.bikecollectives.org/wiki/...&Itemid=100015
I wonder how that ^^ compares to the resource sticky in LCF? http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-bike-kitchens
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Old 09-20-13, 11:28 AM   #16
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I wonder how that ^^ compares to the resource sticky in LCF? http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-bike-kitchens
Oh cool. I don't wander into LCF very often, but more info is always good.
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Old 09-20-13, 12:06 PM   #17
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Its Democratic-Socialism for bicycle users . Mutual Self Help.
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Old 09-20-13, 12:45 PM   #18
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Its Democratic-Socialism for bicycle users . Mutual Self Help.
What I found strange was that the bike capital of the U.S. really does not have a bicycle co-op and that many other cooperatives were employee based, which is not a bad thing at all.
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Old 09-20-13, 02:24 PM   #19
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A list of co-ops. Been meaning to visit the two in Seattle, but have not as yet...

http://communitycycles.org/links/bike-collectives.html
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Old 09-20-13, 03:07 PM   #20
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Its Democratic-Socialism for bicycle users . Mutual Self Help.
Damn commies! I bet Obama is responsible.
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Old 09-20-13, 10:30 PM   #21
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What I found strange was that the bike capital of the U.S. really does not have a bicycle co-op and that many other cooperatives were employee based, which is not a bad thing at all.
You mean Portland?
http://www.communitycyclingcenter.org/
http://www.citybikes.coop/

Both buy/sell used parts, loan tools, and teach basic bicycle mechanics.
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Old 09-20-13, 10:41 PM   #22
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You mean Portland?
http://www.communitycyclingcenter.org/
http://www.citybikes.coop/

Both buy/sell used parts, loan tools, and teach basic bicycle mechanics.
It is a little different from the co-ops I am familiar with... City Bikes is a worker owned co-operative and the C.C.C. also operates much like a regular shop that does fee based repairs although they also run a lot of great community programs. I have volunteered at the C.C.C. and with Wrench Raiders in Portland which is a group that serves needy cyclists in the downtown core.
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Old 09-21-13, 04:47 AM   #23
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When we moved three years ago we donated a huge amount of bike bits, including a frame someone had given me, to a bike co-op in our former city. It's amazing how much stuff cyclists tend to accumulate over the decades. It's a great way to clean out your garage/basement/spare room if you tend to hoard bike stuff.
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Old 09-21-13, 10:03 AM   #24
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I am a proud volunteer at a bike co-op here in Phoenix, AZ. Bike Saviours is the name; I'm pretty sure it's on some of the lists posted earlier. We have all the tools needed to do anything to a bike. We have a large stock of used parts, and we have a stock of new/"fancy" parts. We stock new tubes, chains, spokes, and more. We charge less for used parts, so someone can build a bike (from the frame up) for ~100 dollars including a new chain and tubes. I love it there. I've built and bought two bikes up from nothing but the frame for ~ 80$ each.
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Old 09-21-13, 09:14 PM   #25
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Just a question on the business model. I understand they charge for the time spent using their tools. As for the parts that you need, do members get discounts? Are there any kind of parts that you can't find or unlikely to find at co-ops?
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