Cooperation: the story of a bike cooperative

Thursday, November 26, 2009

With the ever necessary push for alternative transportation, universities need to step up in support. This can be enforced by universal bus passes and campaigns to encourage walking and cycling. Cycling is cheaper than other modes of transportation and faster than walking. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors or just to get from place to place!

So, how about a bike co-op?

In 2008, a couple of students working in Sustainable Development and Sustainable Transportation prepared a proposal for a bike cooperative on campus. They researched other campus bike coops, where we could put one, how it could be run, and how much it would cost. With a positive reception from administration and support of the SFUO, two new students have updated and prepared a new proposal outlining the ideal way a bike coop at uOttawa would function, with intentions of seeing it open in March 2010.

That’s right – the University of Ottawa and the SFUO will open a bike cooperative in 2010.

Okay, so it’s happening - but why?

Prior to 2008, Re-Cycles (a local Bike Coop) was located near campus on Nelson street. This location was close enough to campus to accommodate uOttawa students, unfortunately Recycles have since moved across town on Bronson Avenue. The creation of a bike coop on campus is a perfect opportunity to establish a productive partnership with the cycling community and the Universities surrounding community. The Bike Club runs repair workshops that are well attended and Sustainable transportation operates a bikeshare program that currently has little room for expansion. We need to seize this chance to create a sustainable transportation hub on campus. It would increase cycling awareness, encourage an active lifestyle and healthier environment for all involved and most importantly, provides a space for hands on learning about cycling. This nonprofit bike centre would make available tools and other needed items and educational workshops, as well as advice and tips from volunteer mechanics to encourage do-it-yourself bike repair. The bike coop will also sell bike parts and other bike accessories at cost to its members. This initiative hopes to make cycling more accessible to those who might otherwise be deterred by expensive maintenance costs and intimidating bike shops.

Does it need help?
YES! The coop will need lots of volunteers with experience (even just a tiny bit) with bikes and a motivation to learn more. There will be one hired position as well. Suggestions for website content – like tips on safe cycling – are welcome.

Coming up
A map of bike racks (including the new secure enclosure!) on campus will be available soon.
Stay tuned for updates on the bike cooperative! In the mean time, keep cycling!

Other campuses with bike co-ops:

In Ottawa:

- sarah jayne

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