Cedar City Bike Works aiming to get more bikes up and running for riders

CEDAR CITY — Cedar City Bike Works, a nonprofit bicycle collective, is working to get more people in the community riding their bicycles, one bike at a time

Matt Bolus, director of Cedar City Bike Works, repairs a bike during free safety clinic, Cedar City, Utah, June 4, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“The main reason people don’t ride their bikes is because they’re broken,” Cedar City Bike Works director Matt Bolus said during a free bicycle safety check held at the Library in the Park last Friday.

Toward the end of the hourlong session, Bolus managed to get the bikes of two teenage girls up and running again in less than 10 minutes. He oiled the gears and chains, made a few brake and wheel adjustments and pumped up a tire.

After Bolus had worked his magic, both girls smiled excitedly as they rode around the parking lot.

“That’s why I do it,” Bolus said, noting the kids’ smiling faces. 

“That kind of feeling is what motivates people to ride more, right?” he added. “And that is my goal.”

Bolus said Cedar City Bike Works is trying to provide a low-cost alternative, “just to get more people on bikes.”

A happy teenager rides her bike after it was repaired by Matt Bolus, director of Cedar City Bike Works, Cedar City, Utah, June 4, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Friday’s event was the first in a series of monthly sessions the new bike collective is planning on holding throughout the summer in conjunction with the Iron County Care and Share / Utah Food Bank’s mobile food bank pickup. Bolus said he’ll be ready with his bike stand and tools in the library’s parking lot from 11 a.m. until noon on the first Friday of each month.

“The whole idea of coming here is to just help people,” he said. “They may not be able to make a workshop or other kind of event, but here they can be coming to pick up their food, and we can work on their bikes while they wait.”

Bolus said Cedar City Bike Works has temporarily set up shop in a storage unit at Storage General, located at 690 W. Industrial Road in Cedar City, where people are invited to come in and work on their own bikes for free, using available tools and parts. They can also enlist assistance from volunteers if needed. 

Starting this week, the scheduled shop times are Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-8 p.m. To schedule an appointment, send an email to [email protected] or message them on their Facebook or Instagram pages.

Bolus said the collective is currently seeking more volunteer helpers. It is not necessary to have prior bike repair expertise, he said, adding that they’ll receive the basic training they need.

“Now that COVID is slowing down, it’s starting to get real,” he said. “We had to take a big step back last year – I mean, a lot of organizations did –  but now we can actually start working with volunteers again.”

Monday evening, the storage unit was filled with a few dozen bikes, many of which had been donated during Cedar City’s “Slow Roll” community bike ride held last month, on May 7. 

Matt Bolus, director of Cedar City Bike Works, prepares for open shop time at the collective’s temporary workspace inside a storage shed, Cedar City, Utah, June 7, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“Volunteers are going to be key to get these bikes fixed up and out to kids and people in need of transportation,” he said. “We actually got our first bike out recently. One of my neighbors, who is fostering a young woman, said she needed a bike. So they contacted us. And we said, ‘Yeah, we can definitely hook her up with a bike.’ We were able to fix up one of the bikes that was donated from the Slow Roll and give it to her, which was awesome.”

Bolus said anything they can’t fix, they salvage.

“We pull everything apart, and we try to save as many parts as possible.”

After being stripped for parts, those bike frames that can’t be repaired are taken to a recycling center, he added.

In addition to having an ongoing need for donations of bikes and parts, Cedar City Bike Works is also seeking a larger and more permanent home for the repair shop and bike storage facility, Bolus said.

For more information on the organization, visit the Cedar City Bike Works website.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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