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A bicycle cooperative ("bike coop"), bicycle co-operative ("bike co-op"), bike kitchen, or community bike shop is a non-profit assisted-service bicycle repair shop. Precise definition of these terms is difficult, since some charge fees, all have slightly different goals, and diverse histories. Generally they are not-for-profit organisations or social enterprises.
Ordinary people bring in bicycles needing repair or maintenance; volunteers teach them how to do the required steps.[clarification needed — see talk] The users learn repair skills which are useful both for breakdowns on the road and for at-home repairs. Co-ops also sell new and used bike parts and a few charge for repairs. In addition, they may provide other services, such as selling refurbished bikes and offering formal group bike-repair classes.
Costs to users
Some bike co-ops charge users a set fee of between US$5 and US$20 per hour for "shop time" — for the use of their space and tools. They tend to waive the fee for low-income users. Other co-ops use a pay what you want strategy: they request that each user make a donation.
Co-ops with lower overhead costs are often more relaxed about cost recovery. For example, one co-op inside a large "community environment park" in Australia exists rent-free. That co-op charges about US$10 for a one-year membership, which includes unlimited shop time.
The cost of new or used parts is normally extra.
Some early bike co-ops started out on the west coast of the US; one example is the Bike Kitchen in San Francisco. Another early bike co-op was the Fahrrad.Selbsthilfe.Werkstatt, founded in 1983 in a formerly squatted factory in Vienna.
Bike co-ops can now be found worldwide. The Bike Collective Network wiki includes a list of hundreds of co-ops scattered throughout a few dozen countries. The list is sorted by country and by province/state.
- Local bike shop
- Maintenance and repair (in Bicycle): discusses self-service, full-service, and roadside assistance
- See, for example: "Frequently asked questions » How much does it cost to fix my bike at Bike Pirates?". Toronto, 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. [...]"
- See http://www.thebikeshed.org.au/ and http://www.thebikeshed.org.au/WhatIsCERES.aspx.
- "Community Bicycle Organizations". Bike Collective Network wiki. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- Bike Collective Network: An umbrella association of bike co-ops and other organizations.
- Community Bicycle Organizations: A list of bike co-ops worldwide, sorted by country and by province/state.
- International Bicycle Fund community bike programs directory. Many of the groups in this directory, though not all of them, are co-ops.
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