Every year around this time, the grey cold starts to sink just a bit too deep into our bones and we start dreaming about Spring. Sadly, it’s still a few months away, so we settle for dreaming about what we’ll get to do when it warms up again–and that inevitably leads to bikes. We like bikes. HRG is home to several avid bikers (including Colton) and we’ve given away free chips & salsa at Mountain West Burrito for bike riders. For all you fellow two-wheeling fans, here’s a spotlight on one of our favorite local spots, the Provo Bicycle Collective:
If there’s something satisfying about shaking the greasy hand of a mechanic, I felt very satisfied indeed when I shook Scott Manning’s hand at the Provo Bicycle Collective. Scott, a gently jovial man, has been with the Collective since its formation in November of 2011. As a 501(C)(3) non-profit and sister to the Bicycle Collective in Salt Lake City, the Provo Bicycle Collective does a lot of great work for the Provo community and is poised to do a lot more as people continue to get on board with the mission: repair education, affordable bike restoration and sales to lower-income people.
The Collective is kind of how you might imagine it would be. To enter the headquarters, I walked past a pair of tattooed Collective-goers and their pit bull, through the garage door, past the converted bicycle/speaker/turntable contraption, into the converted auto shop and then, as described before, I shook the greased hand of the bearded Collective-Goer-in Chief, Scott. With the exception of two workbenches surrounding a single bike stand, the place is wall-to-wall with bikes of all sorts and sizes in various states of repair.
Yes. It’s awesome.
I’ll admit I’m a sucker for anything bike, but this—this is something even more fantastic altogether. Aside from the veritable cornucopia of frames, parts, tools and glorious proletarian vibe, the genuine spirit of the Collective just exudes goodness. Scott explains.
“A lot of people don’t get it at first. They try to drop their bike off and say ‘I’ll be back in an hour’. It’s the whole ‘teach a man to fish’ thing. We focus on low-income people and kids. We are trying to get them on bikes that actually run well.” This is typically the moment when they will promote local bike shops if visitors are looking for traditional service, Scott explained to me. They aren’t there to take business away from shops but rather to help people get educated.
If you’re still puzzled, don’t be. It’s simple. Scott and other volunteers open the shop a few days a week and for $5 an hour (payable to their plastic can of a cash register), they will show you how to fix your own bike. If you want to buy a bike, the volunteers spend time not used teaching to repair donated bikes to working order. These cost anywhere from $35-$140. “Most of our bikes are donated by LDS wards and Eagle Scout projects,” Scott tells me.
How can you not love this!?
As with any labor of love, Scott and the folks at the Collective drip with integrity and a genuine sense of mission. Take for example their self-imposed mandate to keep the streets safe for kids on Halloween. Annual Halloween Rides involve a mass of volunteers decking their bikes out with glow sticks to form a neon orb of costumed riders slowly crawling through Provo neighborhoods to slow traffic. The aforementioned converted bicycle/speaker/turntable contraption blares throughout.
Other events the Collective undertakes are Monday Night Bike Rides, repair education events, bicycle polo and Downtown Provo dance walks (again with the bicycle/speaker/turntable contraption).
Besides needing enough sales and donations to cover winter rent (you can buy bikes and donate in the shop to help with this need), the Collective has plans for the future. “I’d love to see more high school students through here,” Scott says. “They often don’t know the rules of the road and don’t know basic repair. They get a flat tube and think, ‘Oh, my bike is broken’ and throw it away.” This is the essence of what the Collective does: education.
So, comrades, get yourselves down to the Provo Bicycle Collective and see what’s up. Like them on Facebook and go see the shop. Besides finding truly great old Raleigh frames just asking to be restored, you’ll undoubtedly to get to shake a greasy hand or two.
Provo Bicycle Collective
49 North 1100 West #2
Provo, UT 84601