project leader
Jim S
1840 Columbus
(Cleveland Flats (but serving all of NE Ohio))
latest update rss
Halfway there; and looking forward to seeing YOU at Cyclebrate II Dec. 7th!

the project

The Ohio City Bicycle Co-op is a volunteer-driven, cooperative bicycle education center offering riding and repair classes, hands-on learning and shop credit for volunteering, fully refurbished bikes for sale or rent, and public shop use and repair assistance.  Co-op purchases and program fees, along with grants and donations, support bicycle safety education programs in our shop, and in the broader community in partnerships with schools, businesses, social service agencies, and other organizations.

The long range goal of this project is to alleviate "bike repair deserts" -- neighborhoods without a bike shop close enough to walk (or take one bus) to, with a broken bike.  For ten years or so OCBC has been offering "fixathons" in bike repair desert neighborhoods here; helping residents (mostly kids, but many adults too) to fix their bikes and learn how to keep them running themselves.  Many of these folks are “necessity cyclists” -- in the Central neighborhood, for example, 78% of residents have no access to a car.

Our informal, ten-hour Shop Class series has taught hundreds of people how to tune up their own bikes, and trained all of our many Key Volunteers – at least a dozen of whom have gone on to bike shop jobs. But it is time to step up the pace, and offer a more structured track with real mentorship and feedback for those who want to grow into an important part of this community’s bicycle renaissance.

the steps

Sending Al, our head mechanic, to Barnett Bicycle Institute is a necessary first step: he is an excellent mechanic, but anyone can always learn more, and we need to also learn how the most highly regarded bicycle tech training program in the country is run. We are thankful to Cleveland Neighborhood Progress for covering the majority of his tuition for this two week course, and full day of certification testing.

Curriculum development is something that is ongoing for us, but student evaluation (with quizzes and tests) is not something we have done much of, so this will be the big part of our work on this project. Fortunately, we have some great volunteers, partners and friends who do do that work all the time – so we aren’t asking you to pay for any of that.

Refurnishing the work shop is the part everyone will see; and the shiny, clean part that will make all those involved feel special.  It is also the expensive part, and the part that will have the biggest immediate impact: we have been limping along with the same six motley tool sets and mish-mosh of workstands for the last 15 years, and it shows.

why we're doing it

Cleveland is becoming a good place to bike. Decades of advocacy work have produced a growing network of bike infrastructure from the City, finally almost keeping pace with a ballooning ridership: bike counts on the two main cross-town bridges have doubled each of the past three years.  Also, after decades of out-migration, Cleveland is starting to see rising numbers of downtown residents.

Over the last fifteen years, several new bike shops have opened in the suburbs, but the city of Cleveland itself has had a net loss of shops in that time.  If we are going to keep adding more cyclists (a great thing for the city, our air and water, and the climate!) we will need more bike shops, and more bike mechanics.  And we will need them close to where young new city residents, who like to bike, are choosing to live -- which is, conveniently, also near many of our bike repair deserts, in the neighborhoods with the greatest numbers of necessity cyclists.

To build real resilience in our communities and capacity into our transportation system, we (the people of Cleveland) need bike shops in the city.  To get there, we (the OCBC) are developing an apprenticeship program with performance metrics and meaningful feedback, so we can certify that individuals have the basic skills and experience needed to get work in a bike shop -- or, hopefully, to start a bike co-op in their own neighborhood with surplus bikes and parts from OCBC, and support from our community partner organizations.


Barnett’s tuition $2700 – 2500 (grant) = 200

Gas, tolls & lodging: 1276

10 workbenches (lumber and supplies): 305

10 workstands: 4060

10 tool sets: 2226

Subtotal = $8,067

ioby Platform Fee $35

ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $242

Total to raise = $8,344


Halfway there; and looking forward to seeing YOU at Cyclebrate II Dec. 7th!

Thanks to many generous donors, we have a solid foundation for refurbishing the OCBC shop!  Nine of those folks are on the guestlist for Cyclebrate II, our winter "fun[d]raiser"  since they donated at least $100. We have another great "Cyclebration" planned, with an even bigger -- and more educational! -- winter cycling fashion show.

If you would like to attend, but have already donated, please know that you can donate here again, and when the total of your donations (before any match) reaches $100, we will put YOU on that guest list!

Thanks again to all our donors!  We hope to see all our friends, new and old, to Cyclebrate with us on Friday, December 7th!

-- Jim

Al has a bed to sleep in in Colorado!

Thanks to everyone who has donated so far (and the kind Common Ground matching donation), Al will be staying at a nice Air BnB instead of sleeping in his car for the two weeks he will be at Barnett's!   He was very happy to get that news, just before he left work a few minutes ago to pack, and get on the road tomorrow, to be on time for his first class on Monday.

Next we hope to start building workbenches for the shop, right after Cyclebrate, our winter bike fashion show and fun(d)raiser -- to which all donors to this ioby project will be eligible for one FREE ticket for each $100 they donated (before any match). to express our thanks.  So we are exending our project deadline to the day after that event, to give you time to tell your friends and relations, and they can join you at the party!

Thanks again for the support,



This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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