A Community Bike Shop provides bicycles, classes, services and social support to community residents. While models vary, the typical formula includes earn-a-bike classes, where residents earn a bicycle by learning how to repair and safely operate one; safety classes open to the public; repair services for hire and work stations for use by the public. They frequently work with youth developing job skills and providing critical after school attention. The shops usually sell basic parts and accessories, like helmets, lights, bells, racks, fenders, tubes, tires, etc. Their revenue comes from sales of bikes and parts, donations, and grants.
CalBike values the critical importance of community bike shops. Especially in neighborhoods that can’t support for-profit bike shops, community bike shops are often the first and only option for many socially marginalized communities and individuals to go to for repairs, maintenance, or just getting started on using one of the most affordable and cleanest mobility options. Typically run as a cooperative or collective with a strong commitment to inclusion, community bike shops provide a space for people to build community around promoting sustainable transportation and alternative cultures to our automobile dependencies.
In September 2018, CalBike sponsored Bike!Bike!, a 4-day international conference hosted here in Los Angeles that included workshops, social networking, group rides, camping, and collaboration among some of the world’s most passionate bike mechanics, advocates, activists, and leaders. To learn more about Bike!Bike!, read this post by CalBike’s own Jared Sanchez, who attended.
On September 10, 2020, CalBike gathered more than two dozen community bike shop representatives from across California for a webinar. We discussed the challenges the organizations face during the coronavirus pandemic, solutions, and how best to support these valuable institutions.