Bike Shops & Access to Bikes
One of the most common reasons people stop bicycling is because their bicycle breaks. Maybe it’s a flat tire or maybe it’s something more serious like a bent wheel. No matter the severity of the problem, if the bike owner doesn’t know how or have the time to fix their bike, or there is no bike shop within walking distance, they will park the bike, sometimes for years.
People who do not own a bike also hit this issue because, while bikes are easy to find at big multipurpose stores and thrift stores, most will have heard terrible stories about such bikes. Bikes bought from stores that do not specialize in them are most often badly assembled and usually dangerous to ride.
The solution to these barriers to increasing bicycling points to neighborhood bike shops. At One Street, we see neighborhood bikes shops as primary to increasing bicycling. Helping bike shops reach sustainability is one of our favorite ways to serve. We also value bike shop associations for their service to their member shops. Here in the United States: National Bicycle Dealers Association.
If you are a bike shop owner (and even a leader of another sort of organization), this guide to Social Media for Bike Shops will show you how to tap free social marketing opportunities with only a few minutes a day.
For bike shop owners and managers, here's a good example of a bike shop employee manual.
For anyone who works in a bike shop that welcomes visitors from all corners of the Earth, make sure to keep the European Cycling Lexicon handy.
ONE STREET'S SOCIAL BIKE BUSINESS PROGRAM
Through our Social Bike Business program we assist bicycle programs around the world in areas in the greatest need of:
- affordable transportation bicycles
- easy access to trusted bike repair
- business opportunities for those in need.
These social bike businesses follow a sustainable for-profit structure, but instead of profits going to owners, they go to serving social needs.
COMMUNITY BIKE PROGRAMS
A different type of neighborhood bike shop, sometimes called a community bike program or co-op, is becoming popular. These nonprofit bike shops come in many shapes and sizes and are often the beginnings of great social bike businesses. However, some fall into common mistakes early in their development:
~ opening a bike shop with the main purpose of getting access to wholesale bikes and parts,
~ trying to run the shop with volunteers without a comprehensive and well-respected volunteer management system in place,
~ forgetting to work with other bike shops in the community to ensure the community bike shop is not compromising these other shops.
Some excellent examples of nonprofit community bikes shops:
- Recycle-A-Bicycle in New York City: http://www.recycleabicycle.org/
- Community Cycling Center in Portland, Oregon: http://www.communitycyclingcenter.org/
- Bikes Not Bombs, based in Boston, Massachusetts: http://www.bikesnotbombs.org/
Some good efforts to connect these popular programs:
- Bike Collective Network: http://www.bikecollectives.org/
- The annual BikeBike conference in the U.S.: http://www.bikebike.org/
We enjoy helping all types of bike shops flourish in the neighborhoods they serve. Please contact us if you do not see the resources you're looking for here.