Community Highlight // Bike Root Community Bicycle Shop

Many of you who have been involved in the YYC Bike Community may be familiar with Bike Root. Bike Root is a community bicycle shop that operated out of the University of Calgary for many years. However, due to development, infrastructure changes and lack of space they were unable to hold a permanent location at the school. But guess what?! Through lots of hard work and perseverance, they are now back on campus and looking to connect with new people!

The dedicated crew of volunteers have been working endlessly on getting a suitable location at the UofC, and so a huge thanks goes out to them for continuing to fight the good fight!

The Bike Root grand re-opening is just around the corner (April 12th), so we took the chance to chat with Olivia Brook, the interim Membership and Volunteer coordinator, to find our what we can expect from the re-launch of Bike Root!

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For those who are not familiar with the Bike Root, can you tell us a little about what you do?

We are a not for profit bicycle shop. We have the tools and experienced mechanics to help people learn how to fix/upgrade their bikes. The Bike Root hosts events on campus during the school term as well as off campus during the spring/summer months (Tune tents at Folk Fest, Sled Island, etc). We also have an inventory of items for purchase (bike lights, handle bar tape, etc) and are aiming to build back up our Bike Library. When we first opened on campus, we had a functioning bike library of over 50(+) bikes. All you needed was 10$ and you could loan out a bike on the condition your brought it back at least once a week for a check up. Although we are not a political organization we are tapped into the larger cycling community, as most organizations like us are, which allows our members to become more active in advocacy.

It is really inspiring how dedicated the Bike Root team has been to the cause. Can you tell us a little about the volunteer team, and what has inspired you to continue working on securing a new location?

Our volunteer base is comprised of students, staff and admin from the university as well as dedicated communities members and alumni who have a great love of bikes and want to make cycling accessible. It’s been tough over the last few years as our members has dwindled significantly, but we are fortunate enough to have a group of passionate cyclists and the mentorship of bike root alumni to support us.  I think because at the core the bike root is about the love of bikes, which seems almost like a basic instinct at this point, we were able to preserve despite a lack of infrastructure.

It must have been discouraging at times. What kept you going through the hard times?

Hope. Haha, I think it was a mixture of idealism and encouragement from other cyclists. We also were always getting support from the Calgary cycling community and certain staff at the University. Calgary as a whole started to gear itself towards a more cycle friendly attitude, which was inspiring to us as well.

Where have you reopened, and do you have a set daily schedule?

We do not have a set daily schedule as of yet. We are waiting for more volunteers before we set a large schedule. However, after our Grand Opening we will have shop hours Thursday evenings. Our new shop is located underneath the Arts Parkade on the University of Calgary campus. We are through the loading bay doors that face the student residences

Why do you think that places like the Bike Root are important in YYC?

As the city becomes more cycle friendly is it great to have places that are accessible and affordable to learn how to fix your own bike. It’s empowering as a cyclist to be able to do small mechanical work and to know that you are, in some small way,  having a smaller environmental impact.

What are the details for the grand opening?

April 12th, 3:00pm-6:00pm at our new shop. Live bands : Sealegs, Scott McKay and Androway will be playing. There will be drinks, snacks and door prizes from yourselves, BikeBike, Bike Calgary and more! The event is FREE and all ages are welcome. We will have bike racks set up for people to lock up. Come rain, snow or shine the party will still be going down!

Want to stay in touch with Bike Root!?…
Website: www.bikeroot.ca
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Bikeroot
Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/bikeroot/

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