What is a ‘community bike shop’?
A community bike shop is a place where you can fix your own bike. The shop has bike stands, tools, and volunteers who will help you with this. They won’t fix it for you but will help you to fix your own bike. That is how we define it at least.
Bikes have changed over the years, but not as much as you might think. We would still recognize the first bicycle, which was introduced to the world in 1817 (it was more like a large run bike). About 60 years later we get the first chain driven bike where the similarities to today’s bikes are even more apparent.
By Gun Powder Ma – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
The bicycle is a simple machine. Fixing a bike is also simple. It can seem intimidating, but once you understand the basics of the few major systems on a bike, completing almost any repair is very doable. There is one obstacle that stands in the way of most people who desire to fix their own bike: tools.
Although simple, many fixes on a bicycle require specialized tools. Chain breakers, cone wrenches, and crank pullers are just a few. This is where the community bike shop finds it’s home. Not everyone who bikes needs to own all these tools, one set of tools could be used by many people. For example our community of Bowness could probably get by on three sets of tools, like the three that lifecycle currently has. Throw into the mix some bike stands so you can work on your bike at a comfortable height without it falling over, some volunteers who will guide you through most any repair and you bring bike maintenance to the masses.
That is the ‘bike’ part of the bike shop. We are also about the ‘riding’ part, as well as building community with our neighbours and other bike minded folks. I’ll get into that in future posts.