New Cedar City bike collective working to provide low-cost bikes to those in need

Matt Bolus with Cedar City Bike Works collected 34 bicycles, was able to repair 31 and return them to their owners at no charge, Dec. 20, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Matt Bolus

CEDAR CITY — A bike collective, Cedar City Bike Works, has been organized to help provide low-cost bicycles, maintenance and repairs to community members in need.

After volunteering for a similar organization in Montana, Matt Bolus told Cedar City News he wanted to bring a bicycle collective to Cedar City when his family moved here.

“It was kind of an eye-opening experience for me,” Bolus said. “I’d worked in for-profit bike shops for a while – I’d been a mechanic for 25-30 years – and it was the first time where I got to use that trade skill, being a mechanic, to help people. … I like working on bikes, they’re little puzzles. And I just want to make sure that kids and people in need of bicycles get them.”

Bolus is currently working on establish Cedar City Bike Works as a nonprofit, with goals to provide low-cost bicycles to individuals in need, as well as provide maintenance, repair and educational services. Bolus is part of a board of directors helping to achieve those goals.

“What we’re trying to do is create a nonprofit that utilizes hands-on mentorship and education in bicycle repair and safety,” Bolus said. “The idea is that we’re promoting cycling for recreation and transportation and it’s kind of a DIY kind if thing. Somebody would come to us, we would teach them how to work on their bikes, and by recycling bicycles and bicycle parts we can offer low-cost stand time and parts for people to do that.”

In addition to the bicycles and maintenance services, Bolus hopes to provide bicycle commute and repair safety classes, as well as a youth program.

“I was fortunate enough to have an uncle that was a master mechanic, and I was able to learn from him, how to do this,” he said. “I would like to start something like that here.”

The collective is still in its initial phases, and Bolus said the biggest need is for a location to receive and repair bicycles.

“Once we can start getting donations in bicycles, we can start helping more people,” he said.

Bolus also acknowledged the community support the collective received during its holiday repair event last month. Cedar City Bike Works collected bikes in need of repair from community members, then fixed and returned them at no cost shortly before Christmas. Bolus said Earl Grimshaw of Three Peaks Graphics, Brian Jeppson of Cedar City, Austin McKimmey of Outlander Cycle Repair, the St. George Bike Collective and members of the Iron County Care and Share were instrumental in the success of the event.

Peggy Green, executive director of the Care and Share, said the collective addresses a need within the community.

“We have so many people that rely on bikes as their sole method of transportation,” Green said. “It’s one of those small things that can be a huge hurdle for someone that depends on their bike and I really feel like its providing something that a lot of people really need.”

James Jetton, the Care and Share shelter manager, said he hopes to continue working with the collective.

“Once they do get their shop up and running and they’re doing well, we could refer clients who need bikes for transportation to work and other appointments,” he said “We could refer them there and he (Bolus) would be able to discount or comp (bikes) or come down and do tuneups.”

Jetton added that transportation can be a big challenge for clients utilizing shelter services.

“I think it’s easy for people to overlook or not really be aware of how much of a barrier transportation can be to get a job interview, to get to a doctor’s appointment, anything like that,” Jetton said. “Especially when the weather’s bad. It’s a service that really touches on an issue that doesn’t probably get a lot of attention. It’s something that’s really needed.”

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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