Co-op empowers others to fix their bicycles

Photo by Tamie Meck Elisabeth Bailey, 12, fixes a flat tire on her Huffy bicycle at the PPPC Bike Co-Op on Third Street in Paonia. The all-volunteer co-op strives to empower people to work on their own bicycles. The co-op will hold its spring 'Bike Swap'

Do goat head stickers have you fixing yet another flat on your bicycle? Perhaps your derailleur chain's derailed, or you just need a simple tune-up or brake adjustment. Consider peddling down to the Paonia Bike Co-op. Located on Second Street, the all-volunteer organization exists to get people to ride and maintain their bikes.

As it is today, the co-op had humble beginnings, said Cooper Woods-Darby, who was formerly part of Community Cycles, a non-profit in Boulder that supports cycling and cyclists. In looking for a space to create a similar organization in Paonia, Bill Mann, who operated Galaxy Bike & Sport to repair bikes until about 2014, offered him use of the space behind his shop. "And that kind of propelled things forward," said Woods-Darby. At about that time, a bike shop in Durango was closing down and donated all of their inventory and tools to the cause.

The co-op operates under the umbrella of The Learning Council, a nonprofit supporting life-long learning and education in the North Fork Valley. "It wouldn't happen without their support," said Woods-Darby.

The all-volunteer organization teaches others to repair and maintain their own bikes. The catch, said Woods-Darby, is that bike owners have to help with repairs and learn about their bikes. Volunteers also re-build used bikes to sell, with proceeds going to the co-op.

The co-op will hold its third ever Bike Swap this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the alley behind Paonia Town Hall. The event provides an opportunity to sell or swap bikes, bike gear, tools and clothing, said Ryan Strand, a regular volunteer at the co-op. "Anything bike-related." The co-op suggests a 10-percent donation from sales.

Some interesting bikes and bike parts have come through the swap, said Strand. Last year he found a vintage early 1960s Schwinn Typhoon frame and built a bike around it.

The Bike Co-op is open from 4-6 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If they can get the volunteers, said Strand, they will be open on Saturdays.

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