The Athens Bicycle Co-operative

Athens, Ohio has a non-profit organization of volunteers that fix and play with bikes. The intent being to create a community of people who can enjoy bikes to their fullest. To do this we need a very active and savvy bike community. We further this goal by fixing bikes, teaching volunteers about bikes, creating an environment where volunteers can teach themselves about bikes, planning bike related events, and creating ways of getting more bikes to more people.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

AYBiTS Explained

As part of the bike co-op's mission to increase bicycle usage in Athens, we have been working on a new community bike-sharing program.

It's called the Athens Yellow Bike Taxi Service, or AYBiTS for short.

We start with old Huffys, Roadmasters, and Magnas of the rusted variety. They get stripped of parts, (which is not always possible) roughed up with a wire brush, and painted a bright canary yellow.

After a few coats of yellow and a few clearcoats, they get stickered and decorated with gorilla tape. All are given a name and a 3-digit taxi number. A coroplast insert goes in the frame triangle to make it extra conspicuous. Then they are rebuilt, sans derailleur. Setting them up as single-speeds will reduce maintenance and make the bikes simpler to operate. However, they must be geared to climb the steepest hills in Athens, which prevents them from going very fast, unless coasting down those steep hills. They need to have adjustable seats, though measures may be taken to prevent seat theft. The wheel's axle nuts will possibly be secured with threadlocker to keep them on. (though that makes patching tubes difficult) To prevent most flats, tubes will be filled with slime and no-flat strips will be put between the tubes and tires. If possible, we will provide the taxis with a noisemaker, a mirror, fenders, and a cargo basket on the handlebar. For fun we could also give them notepads in zippered bags for people to record their trips, draw pictures, or write random things in.

To help defray the costs of building the taxis, we intend to provide advertising space on the taxis for local business to rent.

Eventually, a whole fleet is produced. At some point this spring, (probably at the beginning of OU's spring quarter) we will unleash these taxis upon the town. Each will be chained and padlocked, all accessible from a set of identical keys.

To use the program, one would first sign up at the Athens Bicycle Co-Operative and provide us with a full name, phone number, and e-mail address. We'd suggest a donation, either in the form of currency or volunteer time. Then we'd give the person a key that unlocks all the bike taxis. From there they can use any available taxi for free. We'd ask them to leave the taxi in a public place and lock it back up when they are done with it, preferably on a bike rack. Initially, when there are fewer taxis we would ask users to keep them within the OU campus area, so that they are easier to find. Once more taxis are produced, we could enlarge their scope of operation to the greater Athens area. For convenience, we would allow users to provide their own lock, with their full name clearly visible on it, and "double-lock" a taxi for no more than two hours in order to keep it from disappearing on them. That way they could be taken to class, store, or eatery and secured for the person when they returned. If a person happens to forget about a taxi that they've double-locked, we can contact them about it and ask them to remove their lock.

To maintain the service, our users are encouraged to know how to look for problems and inspect the bikes as they are using them. In case of a problem, they can contact us and give us the taxi number, its problem and location so that a volunteer can be dispatched to either fix the bike on-site or bring a bike trailer to haul it back to the co-op for repairs. It may also be necessary for volunteers to relocate taxis from low-lying areas up to the hilltops, which they will tend to gravitate away from.

To launch the program, we hope to have at least 25 taxis. The idea is to stage a steeplechase-type event in which participants sign up to race the taxis to each advertiser's location and pick up a spoke card, bringing all of them back to the starting location and winning prizes.

We really hope this program will be well-received and effective in getting more Athenians into practical cycling.


Bike Donations!
Funds for parts, paint, sticker paper, chains, locks, etc!
Materials! like sheet metal, pet toy squeakers, coroplast signs, thin plastic, or anything else we may find useful

If you want to help in any of these areas, please contact us at

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter break

Not much activity in the Bike Co-op over winter break, except bike taxi production. Chris made an awesome lowrider/frankenbike. Here are some recent taxi builds.

#110 the Road Mistress (the lowrider behind it)

#109 Yugo Wye Notteh

#108 Uba Unobtanium

#107 the Grasshopper

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yarr! Bike Pirates!

Ay Ay, Bicycle Buccaneers! It's the second ever Half-Masst event!

Here are the rules:

1. Every player starts with a bike, and their choice of safety-approved pirate weaponry. Players are encouraged to wear clothes that distinguish them as a pirate, such as a striped shirt, vest, eye patch, bandanna, sailor's hat, or three-corner hat. Excessive jewelry is not recommended.

2. Players have a half-hour to collect treasure flags and their cans of ballast within four square blocks of uptown Athens. Flags are worth a point, cans two, and tall cans three. Flags will not be found anywhere on the main streets, but in alleys and parking lots. Flags will always be reachable from street level.

3. Players may form teams of up to two people. Solo pirates are awarded double point values.

4. Players may attack their opponents to gain their treasure, or send them back to the College Green if they have no treasure. Combat is only allowed in off-street areas, like alleys and parking lots. The Green is a combat zone, except for the monument circle.

5. No hitting with anything besides your weapons, in their intended fashion. No headshots with melee weapons. No intentional ramming while on your bike.

6. After a skirmish and subsequent plundering finishes, the two players must lose visual contact with each other before they may engage again.

7. Approved weapons include: 
A. Foam melee weapons (or boffers) no longer than 3 feet from hand to tip
B. Any single-shot foam projectile shooter (including pistols, rifles, shotgun, bows, and crossbows) as long as it fires safely padded bullets or arrows and can only be used once without reloading.
C. Large "sock bombs" made of no less than 8 socks. Only one sock bomb per player is allowed.

All weapons will be checked in before the game and scrutinized for safety standards.

8. You may dismount at any time for fighting, collecting, or hiding, but remember that pirates steal bikes, too! Stolen bikes must be brought to and retrieved from the statues on the Green.

9. At the conclusion of the game, players must return to the monument circle for their treasure to be counted. Results will be tallied and the pirate(s) with the most loot will get to open the treasure chest and see what bounty they've won.

Half-Masst is always halfway through the month, either on the second or third Friday. This month's game will be Friday, November 14th, starting at 5pm. 

Monday, November 3, 2008

West-end Bikes in the Basement

Announcing our newest bike co-op location! 40 1/2 Smith Street, with entry to the basement on Foster Place. (Foster place is a short one-way street that begins on West Union where the Rio Grande mexican restaurant is.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Our Garage!

the first two Yellow Bike Taxis

Docta Peppy

A growing fleet


A happy mass!

CM on Washington Street, May 08

Bike hold-up shot from April's mass


Let's add some color to this blog! Here are some current and past posters and flyers for the co-op and related events.