A bicycle cooperative ("bike co-op"), bicycle kitchen, bicycle collective, or community bike shop[1] is an assisted-service bicycle repair shop.

Bike co-ops assist individuals who are in need of bike repair and maintenance. They often sell new and used bike parts as well as refurbished bikes, and offer formal bike repair and bike assembly classes.[2] Visitors can learn repair skills both for breakdowns on the road and for home repairs. Staff, volunteers, and instructors are generally available to assist.

Costs to users

Shop time

Shop time is considered to be the use of the bike co-op's space and tools. Some bike co-ops charge users a set fee of between US$5 and US$20 per hour. Some bike co-ops will waive the fees for low-income users. Bike Pirates in Toronto is one example of a co-op which uses a pay what you want strategy. They request that each user make a donation.[3]

Co-ops with lower overhead costs are often more relaxed about cost recovery. For example, one co-op inside an Australian "community environment park" existed rent-free until recently. That co-op continued to charge just $8 USD for a one-year membership, including unlimited shop time, even after it began paying rent.[4]


The cost of new or used parts is usually added to the shop fee, but is typically substantially below retail prices.[citation needed] Some workshops stock new items such as brake pads, inner tubes, cables and housing, and bearings, for example.

Parts may be sourced from public donations. Children's bikes are often donated when they are outgrown, and abandoned bikes are sometimes obtained through partnerships with police departments (evidence control), street cleaning firms, or from large institutions such as schools and universities.


An early bike co-op was the Fahrrad.Selbsthilfe.Werkstatt, founded in 1983 in a formerly squatted factory in Vienna, Austria. Another early co-op was "P'tit vélo dans la tête", founded in Grenoble, France, in 1994.

In the United States, one of the earliest and longest continuous running co-op is BICAS in Tucson, Arizona, founded in 1994 (named changed to BICAS in 1996.)

Later, some bike co-ops were founded in the western US. Examples include the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective in Utah, founded 2002, and the Bike Kitchen,[5] founded in 2003 in San Francisco.

Bike co-ops can be found worldwide. The Bike Collective Network includes a regionally-sorted list of hundreds of co-ops scattered across a few dozen countries.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Community Bicycle Organizations". Bike Collective Network wiki. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Crane, Gabe (Spring 2007). "The Rise of the Bike Kitchen". Next American City. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Frequently asked questions » How much does it cost to fix my bike at Bike Pirates?". Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Bike Pirates Bicycle Club. Retrieved 15 January 2013. How much does it cost to fix my bike at Bike Pirates? That depends on you. [...] 
  4. ^ See "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-02-05. Retrieved 2016-02-09.  and http://www.thebikeshed.org.au/WhatIsCERES.aspx.
  5. ^ Lybarger, Jeremy (February 2, 2014). "Bike Kitchen Anniversary Party". SF Weekly. Retrieved November 1, 2015. 

Further reading

  • Duregger, Michelle (30 April 2010). "The Anti-Shop". Bicycling. Retrieved 9 June 2015. The Recyclery is Oklahoma City's first bike co-op, open three days a week. Everything is free--tools, advice from bicycle-savvy volunteers, workshops, parts and frames. It's stocked by donations from community members and a couple of bike-shop employees, and is run by volunteers. 
  • Forbes, Rob (28 April 2009). "Bike Kitchens: Building Community, Bikes". Yes! Magazine. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  • Cross, Kim (20 February 2015). "The Fixer". Bicycling. Retrieved 9 June 2015. The popular connotation is that co-ops are for urban twenty-somethings who want a fixed-gear bike. But they're more for people who don't know anything about bikes, want a community to connect with, or want a cheap and super-easy mode of transportation. 
  • Narciso, Dean. "Bicycle co-op helps local enthusiasts learn to do repairs". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  • sheldonbrown.com/measure.html: Precise measurements are often needed so bicycle parts will assemble correctly. It is usual to perform many of these measurements with special tools which you aren't going to carry around in your on-road toolkit. Also, some of these tools have only a single use, and they can be rather expensive.

External links

Lists of co-ops worldwide