St. George Bicycle Collective moves into new location

ST. GEORGE — After several months of anticipation, boxing up inventory and the stress of relocation, the St. George Bicycle Collective has moved into its new location on Bluff Street.

The exodus from the previous location, a building leased from the city, began in 2019.

Dannielle Larkin, co-founder of the St. George Bicycle Collective, is pleased with the new location at 39 S. Bluff St., saying it’s a “fantastic” location.

“The visitability is great and access is pretty easy from Tabernacle Street or 100 South,” she said. “Although it is a more challenging space to fit into, we will make it work.”

The city still owns the building the collective had leased. As of December, its long term plans were to demolish it along with the Inn at St. George in order to develop the two lots.

St. George Bicycle Collective’s Shop Manager Michael Hernandez loves his job, loves getting grease under his fingernails and loves the collective’s new location. St. George, Utah, July 17, 2020 | Photo by David Louis, St. George News

Although the city purchased the building a few years ago with the plan to tear it down in preparation to widen Bluff Street, according to city officials, there are no firm plans on what will occupy those lots.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike confirmed that several parties have had an interest in the properties, but no decisions have been made on their future.

“We will go through a request for proposal process and  (conduct) reviews before such a decision is made,” Pike added.

Regardless of what happens to the former location, Forrest Woolman, the collective’s director, is also pleased with the new location.

“The new building has better access to the community, not only for the bicycling community, people that have to take public transit or walk, it’s much easier to get here,” Woolman said. “The other great thing is we are next door to Red Rock Bicycle, down the street is Bicycles Unlimited and up the street is Rapid Cycling. If they were to call a part of St. George a bicycle district this would be the place.”

Not much has changed at St. George Bicycle Collective’s new location, a growing stockpile of old and worn out bikes waiting to be refurbished and donated to people in need or sold to keep the shop running. St. George, Utah,  July 17, 2020 | Photo by David Louis, St. George News

Community collective bike shops are located in Salt Lake City, Ogden, Provo and St. George.

Each is staffed with professional mechanic instructors and volunteers who are there to walk patrons through tune-ups and repairs and answer questions about how to choose the perfect two-wheel ride.

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.

The St. George collective is the newest and the only community bike shop in Southern Utah.

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.

The collective carries 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.

To assist residents, the collective offers maintenance benches and teaches people how to keep their bicycles in good working condition.

It all started with a small group of volunteers that committed hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to build bikes for those in need, Larkin said.

A file photo of kids learning how to repair bikes at the St. George Bicycle Collective, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the St. George Bicycle Collective, St. George News

The goal, she added, was to take donated bicycles and recycle them to get them back onto the community.

While still open for business and community outreach, COVID-19 has had a negative impact on several programs that included youth programs that provided bicycles and safety gear to elementary school students free of charge as well as educating them on how to change a tire and perform basic maintenance.

Both programs were put on hold since COVID-19 forced schools to close.

Also affected were summer workshops for children to learn how to work on their bicycles along with the collective’s “earn a bicycle program” where people could donate six hours of their time at the collective for a free “no-frills” two-wheeled transportation.

“With everything that has been affected we are still able to give bikes to children … and adults … through organizations like Switchpoint Community Center and Southwest Behavioral Health Center,” Woolman said. “We are still here to help people learn about and own a bicycle.”

For more information on donations and sales at the St. George Bicycle Collective call 435-429-2666. COVID-19 protocols are in place.

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

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