St. Pete Bike Co-op encourages cycling, education, and advocacy
The St. Pete Bike Co-op is a non-profit organization that provides bicycle related education and advocacy, promotes bike safety, and encourages environmental sustainability in St. Pete. President and Founder, Carrie Waite, says “the focus is on helping people with the basics of bike maintenance and repair. You can come in and work on your bike for a small donation, learn the basics of bike maintenance, and be back rolling in no time.”
The co-op offers affordable ways to acquire and maintain a bike with the proper tools, space, and know-how that are necessary to do so. Though the co-op creates a donation-based space to repair and maintain bikes, members, visitors, and volunteers are responsible for fixing their own bikes once the required tools and education are provided. The goal is that cyclists who visit the co-op acquire an enduring set of skills. And no cyclist is turned away due to a lack of funds; simply volunteering at the shop can take the place of a donation. Cyclists are able to earn a membership by volunteering just six hours, or for just one hour for a day visit.
This year the co-op hosted the Tour de Shine event, a sold-out bike tour of St. Pete’s local murals. The co-op also assists with other local cycling events and provides safety information before group rides. They recently helped out with the St. Petersburg Shuffle Board Club’s “Tweed Ride,” a much anticipated annual cycling excursion in Florida’s cool winter weather that features tweed attire, waxed moustaches, red lipstick, and, of course, bikes and cyclists. Locally prepared scones, hot tea, bourbon cupcakes, and tweed cakes were provided at this year’s festivities along with locally brewed beer, and cyclists of all kinds enjoyed socializing and listening to jazz after the ride.
Programs like the St Pete Bike Co-op make cycling fun for everyone and get the average person out on a bike and advocating for cyclists’ rights. “It’s become more than the usual spandex crew,” Waite says.
Visit the co-op and donate or volunteer at 559 Mirror Lake Dr. N in St. Pete, every Thursday and Sunday from 6:30pm to 9:30 p.m. Click here to visit the St. Pete Bike Co-op website for more information, including a wish list of donation items.