Some people enjoy learning how to fix their own bike. Others can’t afford to take their wheels to a professional. Others just like to hang out in an inviting, inclusive space dedicated to fixing bikes and sharing bike knowledge.
The Bikery is a “bike kitchen” non-profit hidden on the neighborhood side of the Artspace Lofts building at Hiawatha and S Charles Street where the Central District meets the International District meets the north Rainier area.
Sam Bliss recently wrote a great profile of the Bikery for Grist:
The Bikery isn’t your typical bike shop. It’s a not-for-profit, volunteer-run bicycle cooperative focused on making cycling and bike repair accessible to everyone. Here’s how it works: You fix your bike yourself, with help from volunteers. You can use the space, equipment, and on-hand instructional assistance for $5 an hour — or you can “pay” by volunteering your time at the Bikery. The donated pieces of used bicycle and gear populating the shop can likewise be purchased for a few bucks or some work.
In essence, it’s a time bank. Everyone’s hours and skills are valued equally. Regular volunteers often rack up so much credit they stop keeping track.
The Bikery is part of an emerging movement of bicycle cooperatives, often called bike kitchens. These projects are popping up everywhere from Athens, Ohio, to Athens, Georgia, to Athens, Greece. Each co-op works a bit differently, but they’re all part of the real sharing economy — that is, the sector of people, businesses, and communities devoted to collaborating for the greater good, not greater profits.
It’s definitely worth a read, and the Bikery is worth a visit. And if you have bike skills and time to donate, they could probably use your help. But only if you can be patient and inviting to everyone who comes through the doors.