Since its inception in 2012, the Bridge City Bike Co-op (BCBC) has offered services and programming that aims to enable access to recreation and active transportation through bicycles. Youth and adults of all ages can learn how to fix their own bicycles, or build/restore a bicycle using donated frames and parts.
At the heart of our organization, the BCBC aims to educate and encourage individuals to overcome the fear to ‘look under the hood’ of their bicycles and empower them to repair their bicycles through cultivating each individual’s inner ‘do-it-yourself’ spirit. This is achieved by dispelling the myth that bicycle mechanics is difficult and replacing it with the attitude that bicycle mechanics is fun and can be tackled one step at a time. At the BCBC Shop, volunteers and staff cultivate a fun, supportive and inclusive atmosphere. The result is a consistently lively environment, where individuals from all walks of life come together and help each other to fix bicycles. In the summertime, it is not uncommon to see 20 – 40 individuals in the shop at once.
The BCBC offers a ‘build-a-bike’ drop-in program, which aims to provide access to bicycles to individuals who are in need of them. In this program, youth and adults can build or restore a bicycle that was donated to the BCBC to own. They are supported by BCBC volunteers and staff who provide education and encouragement from start to finish. Once the bicycle is ready for the road, it is free for youth to take home, and adults are asked to contribute a ‘pay-what-you-can’ donation or volunteer hours before taking theirs home.
We believe that providing access to bicycles through this program can enable youth and adults who might not otherwise have the opportunity to own a bike, to partake in regular outdoor physical activity and active transportation. It also empowers new and existing bike-owners with the ability to maintain and fix their bicycles.
In addition, the BCBC seeks to be a part of the broader Saskatoon community. For the past 3 years, the BCBC has hosted an annual event, called, ‘Bike to Work Day’, to encourage new cyclists to try riding their bike to work or school, while celebrating the efforts of those who already commute to and from work regularly. The event features commuter stations at various locations around the city. Each commuter station is hosted by local businesses and cafes, and offers free grab-and-go refreshments and great company. This event has grown to see over 300 people attend this past summer.
Through our programming, we hope to foster a sustainable cycling culture where everyone can feel connected to their bicycle by integrating cycling into their daily lives and feeling empowered to sustain its use.
Stan Yu Co-Chair of the Bridge City Bicycle Co-op
This article was previously featured in the Spring 2017 issue of DIRECTION Magazine, "Supportive Environments". Original publication date: March 2017.