Bike collectives are popular but Moab lacks one

The back of Bike Fiend bike shop is the closest thing Moab has to a bike collective, with a stand, loaner tools, and used bicycles. Photo by Aidan McClean

Bike collectives, or Bike Co-ops as they are often called, function as a place in the community where anyone can go to access education about bikes, find affordable parts, use loaner tools and stands, and to collaborate with others on projects regarding this earth-friendly mode of transportation.

Bike co-ops exist all over the world, mostly in cities, and are open a few days a week. They have bikes for sale that are a lower cost than most brand new bikes, and volunteers can donate hours towards owning a bike. Bike Collectives run off of donations from generous people and companies and are run by volunteers and a few very passionate people to keep it going.

Moab has a big cycling community, with Google listing 11 bike shops in this small town of a little over 5,000 people and gobs of tourists. That also means that the bike shops have paid employees, most who work 10-hour, 4-dayw shifts, explains Michah Davis from Chile Pepper bike shop.

This means that in their days off, they are out enjoying what the landscape has to offer. There are also many events that are cycle-centric. The recent “Filmed by Bike” short film festival showcased inspiring narratives about cycling, the various bike races and challenges throughout the year that draw people in, and there are also bike parties; events that encourage dressing up and riding around town, stopping to dance a few times throughout the night together as a big group.

So begs the question, why isn’t there a bike co-op in Moab? “Living in a community where there are a lot of cyclists here, when they’re done with their bikes, they just sit around and collect dust when they could be reused,” said Derek Timothy, who works at Moab Cyclery. The benefits of having one would include free bike education, new friendships, building confidence, safety and maintenance training, having a supportive community to rely on, while nurturing a love for biking.

Pierre Chastain owns Bike Fiend on Center Street. He keeps the spirit of cycling alive at his shop no matter what kind of bikes people are into. “I’m really excited to bring more people to the cycling culture. If you’re intimidated, it doesn’t matter, we have a place for people to go to find out more,” said Chastain, fostering a welcoming and inclusive attitude towards anyone interested.

The shop also provides a shop copy of “The Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair” to anyone who needs a resource on the basic mechanics of bikes, as well as a bike stand and loaner tools available free of cost. Another great resource is the “Tool Shed” at the Moab Valley Multicultural Center. They may not have proper bike tools because they have only what they have gathered from donations, but it is open most of the week.

Any type of cycling opens up new opportunities for people, affording them the mobility to get to school, a job, or out of the house. It seems farfetched now since many locals in Moab have more than one job, not a lot of extra time to donate hours, and a hunger for adventure in the outdoors, but “If somebody were to want to do it, we would support it,” says Chastain of starting a bike collective in Moab.