ST. GEORGE — By this summer, the St. George Bicycle Collective will be in a new location on Bluff Street.
Currently, the city owns the building the collective leases. But its long term plans are to demolish it along with the Inn at St. George in order to develop the two lots. According to city officials, there are no firm plans on what will occupy those lots. But what is in the works is for the city to lease space at the Dixie Metropolitan Planning Organization Building at 39 S. Bluff Street and sign a long term lease allowing the St. George Bicycle Collective to move in.
Before the collective moves into its new permanent location, it will occupy a temporary space after Christmas at 389 Industrial Road, #8.
“Although the city purchased the MPO building a few years ago to tear it down in preparation to widen Bluff Street, the plan now is for the city to maintain the building with the possibility of still tearing it down 15 or 20 years from now,” said Danielle Larkin, co-founder of the St. George Bicycle Collective. “So, for now, it’s a great spot for the collective to utilize hopefully for the next 10 years.”
Now the biggest challenge for the collective will be to find enough volunteers to help with the renovations required to make the space usable for their needs.
“With the new space we’ll need more volunteers,” she said. “We are going to need a bunch of support for getting remodeled. We need help from builders and anyone who is willing to contribute. We are always, always, always looking for more volunteers.”
The community collective bike shops located in Salt Lake City, Ogden, Provo and St. George are staffed with professional mechanic instructors who are there to walk patrons through tune-ups or repairs. The idea is that those people will, in turn, become more regular and confident riders after learning how to patch the tube or adjust the brakes.
They carry a large selection of used bicycles that are overhauled by mechanics and given a multi-point inspection so they’re ready to ride out the door.
The collective also carries used and new parts and accessories to get people’s bikes dialed in perfectly to fit their riding style and personal tastes.
The bicycle collective in St. George is the newest location and the only community bike shop in Southern Utah.
It all started with a small group of volunteers that committed hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to build bikes for those in need.
What started in St. George in 2015 as the Bike Kitchen with Larkin and a handful of volunteers became a full-fledged collective community bike shop in October 2017.
“Basically what we do is take donated bicycles and recycle them to get them back onto the community,” Larkin said.
Along with its youth program which focuses on providing bicycles and safety gear to elementary school students as well as educating them on how to change a tire and perform basic maintenance, the collective has its “earn a bicycle program” where people in need can donate six hours of their time for the two-wheeled transportation. The collective also donates bicycles outright to charities like Goodwill and sells bicycles to generate income.
“There are so many people here on bicycles, but there are so many people who need them and can’t afford them,” Larkin said. “There are also people in St. George who have a bicycle, but they don’t have the money to maintain them.”
To assist this segment of the population, the collective offers maintenance benches and teaches people how to keep their bicycles in good working condition.
“If you have a bike that is broken down you can come in,” Larkin said. “If you have maintenance knowledge you can use our benches, but if you lack the knowledge one of our mechanics will assist you. We won’t fix it for you because that’s the purpose of why we are here. We want people to learn how to do it on their own.”
Throughout the collective’s four satellite offices, the organization gave away more than 1,500 bicycles in 2018, with its more than 2,000 volunteers donating nearly 17,000 hours of their time.
For more information on the St. George Bicycle Collective, call 435-574-9304
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