Building on the bones of an old mechanics garage, a group of innovative bike enthusiasts are providing a space where Lansing residents can rebuild, repair and tune-up their bikes with a little help from their new-found friends.
In the works for about a year, the Lansing Bike Co-op
opened for spring and summer hours, offering tools, space and knowledge for anyone wanting to learn the mechanics of their non-motorized two-wheelers.
"There are a lot of people who need to know how to fix their bikes, or have a bike that isn't worth taking to shop," says co-op president Aaron Fields. "Whatever the case, they rely on their bike for transportation. We saw that need and in the community and wanted to provide the resources."
The idea, Fields says, is for people to come to the co-op, get a diagnosis on what needs fixing, and then receive guidance on the tools and steps to follow to keep their bike rolling.
"We provide the guidance, you do the fixing," says Fields. "We're an educational resource."
The Lansing Bike Co-op received a $3,000 grant this spring from the Tri-County Bicycle Association
and matching funds from the Ingham County Land Bank
to renovate and equip the garage with plumbing and heat.
"After we get those things installed we can go year round," says Fields. "For now we can only store stuff here and work in the parking lot."
The co-op is typically opened Wednesday nights until nightfall, with other hours posted on Facebook. The co-op also holds a "judgment free zone" Ladies Night on the first and third Sundays of the month.
"I learned how to fix bikes here," says Fields. "Taking a bike apart demystifies things pretty quickly. There's not as much to them as you think, and once you start messing around with them, you find out that they're pretty straight forward."
The co-op shares the two-bay building with Go Green Trikes
—Greater Lansing's trike courier service. The Lansing Bike Co-op is all volunteer-based, with board members including Fields, Mike Tostoh, Emily Petz and Carrie Nelson. About 15 to 20 people on average stop in during open nights, with a donation of $10 per hour of stand time suggested but not required.
Source: Aaron Fields, President, Lansing Bike Co-op
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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