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.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Welcome to the Athens Bike Co-op Newsletter!

This new feature of our operation will serve to inform you, the community, on our ongoing quest to enable others by virtue of mankind's noblest invention. Herein will be announced each month's schedule. (the schedule is agreed upon at our planning meetings, held the first Sunday of each month at 4pm.) Other content will follow in the newsletter, at the discretion of its author(s), who are also selected at meetings. You are invited to participate as well by sending e-mail and sharing your experience with or questions about the bike co-op, or any other suitable content.

If you would like to receive these e-mails, just send a simple request and compliance will be likely. Otherwise, please suggest this newsletter to anyone you think may want to receive it and have them sign up by sending us an e-mail and requesting it.

That being said, here comes the


Open Shop Hours -

Sundays 1-3
Mondays 7-9
Wednesdays 1-3
Thursdays 7-9
Fridays 3-5

These hours are often subject to change without notice, and even more so in the winter.

Special Events -

...uh...Christmas at home with the family?


-If you have a space heater that isn't being used, it would help us to keep working in a cold garage this winter.

-Your bike donations are always accepted. Please leave them (maybe with a note) outside our garage.

-Monetary donations can also be made by mail. Send checks made out to: Eric Cornwell / 18 Euclid Dr / Athens, OH 45701


-Sponsor a Bike Taxi! For $5, you can dub a yellow bike with the name of your choosing. For $10, You can add your favorite phrase or quotation to the side panel of a bike!


Q: "How does the bike co-op work?"

A: Basically, one (or more) of our volunteers will offer their assistance and expertise to help you with anything bike-related, such as they are willing and able. In return you are expected to make some sort of contribution that helps our cause, such as you are willing and able. (monetarily or otherwise) Hopefully, the exchange is something that is generous to both parties. Our policy is to be generous by both offering affordable bikes and by sharing our mechanical knowledge and expertise while we assist you.

Q: "How are things going at the bike co-op?"

A: Slowly but surely. Sometimes even little operations take more time than you would think, because we are working with either secondhand parts, cluttered space, or partial knowledge of what we are doing. Steadily, however, things do get done. Bikes get fixed and put in the sale rack. Small improvements are made here and there to organize the space. People get their hands greasy and learn new things about their bicycles, too. Since it's winter break, things are naturally a lot less busy, so our activity is mainly geared toward having lots of bikes ready for next spring, both for a spring bike sale and for a spring bike taxi release.

Q: "How does the bike-share work?"

A; It's called the Athens Yellow Bike Taxi Service, or AYBiTS (Aye, Cap'n! Bits o' steel!) Yellow bikes with universally keyed padlocks are put on public bike racks throughout campus and uptown Athens. By paying a yearly membership, you can access any of these bikes for free trips. This can be handy for students, locals, or visitors who can use a more affordable and convenient bicycling option.

Q: "How is the bike-share doing?"

A: I'd say that it's been going pretty well for its first 9 months. A few bikes are MIA and a number of repairs have been made on the bikes, but I notice them getting used and sometimes courteously repaired or delivered by one the members, which is great. Membership is around 35 and our fleet is at maybe 13-15 bikes. I have 13 frames on the rack so far, being painted for the release in the spring. They are getting decorated with stencils as opposed to printed stickers this time, hopefully with better-lasting results.


-The bikes always need attention to work properly! Bikes left to sit too long will often have deflated tires, so if you just air them up and they will likely hold. Bikes left under the weather will keep getting rustier, so choose covered parking spots for them if the weather is going to get nasty. That means you can bring a bike onto private property overnight and put it back on a public rack when there's better weather outside.

-If you come across a problem with a bike, please continue to let us know about which bikes need help and where they are.

-Thanks everyone for keeping an eye on those bikes!

-Your feedback on the Athens Yellow Bike Taxi Service would be greatly appreciated!


Logo - The Bike Co-op has a new logo!

Website - Francis Tatem has been working on a website for our humble organization, but I haven't any news yet as to when it will be available, or at what address. Stick with our blog for now.

Art Bikes - John donated his well-decorated singlespeed MTB for us to sell, and I had this idea for an art bike auction. Two other nice mountain bikes have found their way here, both with ugly spray-paint jobs that tell of being stolen. I was going to custom paint and decorate these bikes and maybe we can hold a fundraising event where we auction off a handful of rad-looking bikes.

Our Own Bike Rack - Welded from two scrap frames and forks, the thing will serve as a lock-up place outside our garage, and a place for outgoing and incoming bikes and taxis. It will have two flags on kickstands that will work just like a mailbox flag does. It's kinda funky-looking. and good for welding practice. It's OOBeR!


-A number of years back there was this idea for a fundraiser that involved cyclists riding stationary bikes in the cold, and stripping their clothes off for donations. Sound crazy/awesome? This of course is not happening until we have more drunk college students and some absurdly dedicated volunteers.

-Having a welder and lots of bike parts is inspiring. Next crazy custom bike idea: a bicycle sidecar.


Thanks for tuning in to what's happening at the Athens Bicycle Co-operative. As ever, our aim is to promote and facilitate cycling in Athens and beyond. Ride safely this winter.

____e  c

37 South May Avenue
Athens OH 45701

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

November schedule

Announcements from the early Novembuary meeting:

Anyone want to loan us a space heater?
A list of e-mails is to be compiled for sending out of an e-newsletter each month.

Friday the 13th - Half-Masst Bike Pirate Attack - meet on College Green
Friday the 20th - Athens Alleycat Race - meet on Fern Street by the Bookstore
Friday the 27th - Critical Mass - meet on College Green

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Costume Contest/Race Results

Thank you all who participated in Friday's events!
Here are the Winners:

Critical Massk
Best Costume - Bobb as a zombie
special mention - Cayce as Rosie the Riveter
Scariest Costume - Brian as a pro wrestler
special mention - Trevor et al as immortals
Funniest Costume - Emily as a garden gnome
special mention - Cait as a unicorn/fairy
Best Bike - Eric's italian gondola
special mention - "wheels of steel" tandem

Great Athens Bike Race
results are missing, sorry!
What's important was that Lex Luthor gave accurate directions.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Critical Massk/Great Athens Bike Race

second ever Great Athens Bike Race! CM will start earlier than usual, so be ready at the Civil War Monument at 5pm with or without a costume. We'll do a few laps on Court, and go down to Camp Campbell (17 Campbell St, between BP and KFC on Stimson) where there will be voting for the best costumes and prizes awarded. From there the GABR will begin at 6pm and take racers on a checkpoint course all over Athens, with multiple drinking challenges facing each team of 3-4 people. Please pre-register for the GABR on facebook:
There will be a $3 entry fee per team.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thanks, Backdrop Magazine!

Hell, yeah. Awesome spread on the Athens Bike Co-op put forth by the OU student publication Backdrop Magazine. Pick yourself up a copy in one of OU's many buildings and read all about us. Special thanks go out to Shane Barnes for penning the article and to Tyler Sutherland for snapping those sweet pictures. Way to go!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mows by Muscle

I made this:

It's a reel mower/bicycle hybrid. I call it Mose Allgrassin. I landed this reel mower that was all rusty and broken, so I spent a few days combining it with a 24" Huffy that had one of those "spray it like you stole it" paint jobs done to it. It took a few tries to hone the geometry, as a 70ish degree head tube angle turned tadpole trike tends to make the thing lean to the OUTSIDE of a turn. (Great if you wanna fall over with every steering correction.) Instead, the head tube angle has been made near vertical. Even a bit of caster (or anything greater than 90) helps more for leaning INTO turns. Even so, I had a hard time controlling the above version, because of the tall, narrow handlebar, and the hard front wheels that were too close to each other. Also, I needed to have adjustable height. Below is the newer configuration, with the bike's original handlebar added a little lower than its original height, a pair of 10" balloon tires welded outside the rims to widen the mower's stance and add pneumatic suspension, and pivoting sleeve-tubed bracing bars for changing the cutting height.

I'm still getting used to maneuvering  this thing, but it's hella sweet. The old lady next door to me could hardly believe it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Customized Bikes

Here at the Bike Co-op, we enjoy diverting ourselves sometimes to make wacky custom bicycles. Here are a few of  the mutants we've turned out.

Tallbikes, Choppers, and Lowriders, oh my! There ought to be enough for a mutant bike troupe by now...anybody wanna get together for some wild freak-bike rides?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

We sold Bikes!

above pics by ~Kelly Krivicich

A whole dozen!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Paw-Paw Fest plus Bike Co-op

6 volunteers were at the Paw Paw Festival this weekend, as were a number of bicycles and tricycles from the bike co-op. The truckshaw and the grocer's trike helped take out the trash and deliver goods into and within the festival grounds. The rickshaw did a little bit of joyriding, and people borrowed the tallbike, unicycle, and chopper for some fun (and falls.) The local bike polo league (the Cougar-Bats) set up an exciting bike polo tournament of three teams. I broke two mallets within an hour. Our table for the bike co-op dispelled information, and we also managed to sell a few T-shirts, comic books, and pieces of bike jewelry. On the whole it was a success and a great time for all.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2nd annual Fall Bike Sale

Here comes teh Fall Bike Sale!
We will be on the College Green next Monday with our bikes for sale on display. Come by anytime from roughly 10AM to 5PM and try out some used bikes. Prices start at around $30 and go up to around $100. If we have poor weather, the bike sale will continue in the West portico of the Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium. All bike sale proceeds go toward our endeavors to promote and facilitate more bicycling in Athens, so it's a good cause. Plus, you'll be recycling a bike that someone else didn't want! It's a good deal all around. At last year's bike sale, we sold all 11 bikes we had plus 2 more that were donated on the spot. It was a pretty big success and we hope to have similar results this year. We might have closer to 15 bikes this year, I hope, so come early for best picks!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fall Schedule

Here's a list of events happening in September:

Planning Meeting: Saturday the 12th
Half Masst: Friday the 18th
Paw-Paw Fest: Saturday/Sunday 19th & 20th
Fall Bike Sale: Monday the 21st
Critical Mass: Friday the 25th

In the Future, Planning Meetings will occur every first Sunday of the month, at 4pm. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer at the Bike Co-op

Summer always sees us a little less active at the garage, though most of the workshops are still being manned. Some new things have been happening since the mig welder got worked with. A fellow from Arkansas moving through  offered a welding workshop and helped to build a stacker tallbike. A chopper also got welded that day and since then I have built another tallbike of a different variety on my own. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures at the moment, but if you need visual stimulus, click here:

Other news: possibly the co-op will set up a table at the Wisteria Cornstalk festival. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bike Month and Bike-To-Work Week

May is Bike month and the 11th through 15th is Bike to work week! Here's what's going on: 

Friday the first is a Pedal Patrol event. Patrols are going to start happening the first Friday of every month from now on. When we go on patrol, we basically spread out looking for some specific way to interact with the community and promote bicycling. This upcoming patrol will basically involve posting and handing out the flyer above and telling people that it's bike month. In the future patrols will involve things like administering fake tickets, applying subversive stickers, tagging sexy bikes, or giving kudos to other cyclists.

Friday the 8th will be Half-Masst, only because Friday the 15th is National Bike-To-Work Day.
Details on Half-Masst are here:

Monday the 11th will be the first Bike After-Work Beer Ride, in which we'll either ride to our favorite bar for a beer or take some beers with us somewhere to enjoy. The same will occur every day that week, culminating in Friday's Ride, which will be the first annual ATHENS BIKE SHUFFLE. It's the only way to celebrate National Bike-To-Work Day in the Athens style.

Friday the 22nd we will hold the Athens Alleycat Race, which takes place on Fern Street. Tournament-style heats of two will determine the first Alleycat Champion in this town.

Friday the 29th is the last one, so that means a traditional Critical Mass ride, which one can learn about by going to

FOR ALL OF THESE EVENTS the meeting place is the Civil War Monument on the College Green and the meeting time is 5pm.

Have a good Bike Month!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Thanks to Mr. Ron Linkers, the Bike Co-op now has use of an authentic rickshaw cargo trike from India. There are also three other rickshaws owned by Ron, one deluxe and two regular passenger models, that may be put to use as well. The truck will be for carrying our mobile workshop to the Farmer's Market, providing delivery services, and carting around bikes when the need arises. We'd like to use the pedicabs to provide chartered rides as part of the Athens Yellow Bike Taxi Service sometime in the future. The biggest obstacle to these endeavors is, of course, the topographical nature of our city. Besides lowering their gear-inches, some electrical input may be necessary if we want to take these beasts up anything over a %5 grade. If anyone in blogland can offer some engineering expertise as far as making an electric assist happen, that would be swell. I already have a solar panel trickle-charger that would be useful for recharging. Ideas for the pedicabs included installing a sound-system like Cory's pedal-powered one, so that passengers could plug in their iPods and bump their tunes while being carted around. But, without major funds to make these improvements, we'll have to keep the rickshaws in the low-lying parts of Athens, mainly the bike path. If you're interested in this project want to make money doing deliveries or driving pedicabs, let us know!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sign-up Docaments

Links to pdf files of our sign-up sheet, release form, and user guide:

Now members can view and print these forms at their own convenience, before bringing them into the bike co-op to sign up. (Be prepared for ad bombardment when downloading these files from MediaFire.)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Launch Week

Thanks to everyone who came out to the sign-up and launch party events. We even had the special honor of signing up Paul Wiehl, the mayor, to our program. The poker run was a great time for everyone involved, and we got to thank most of our sponsors in person for their help. The winner, with five kings, received a certificate for a custom-painted frame and decided to give it to a friend of his who recently lost a bike to theft.

At the moment, taxis are still being shuttled back down to the bike co-op garage for some final touches. Half the fleet still needs baskets, a few more ads need to be placed, and some mechanical kinks need to be ironed out. This week I will be getting things going with a "rolling start" by focusing on one bike at a time, and e-mailing our new members in the order that they signed up as each taxi is completed. I'll ask them to come down to the garage, review the manual, get a copy, give their donation if they haven't made one yet, and make their $10 deposit on the key. Then I'll hand over their key and let them ride away on a fully completed bike taxi. This way I can still say the program is underway as promised, but it will be a while before all 25 taxis are out and all members have their key.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

One week 'till AYBiTS Launch

I've set a date for our program to really get rolling. This Friday (April 3rd) there will be a sign-up event on the College Green from 10AM-4PM. I plan to bring most or all of the fleet if possible and hold orientations for new members and go over the user manual with them.
To join the program, members need to provide their name, phone, e-mail, and license number, sign a liability waiver, sign that they've read and will abide by directions in the manual, and make a donation. I'm suggesting $20 from every new member. 
I want to bring one Taxi that has every part slightly loosened. Then I can show what to look for when performing a bike-check, which is part of their duty as members to keep the fleet maintained. 
Also, Cory is letting us use the stationary pedal-powered sound system to draw some attention while we're there.

The day after, on Saturday the 4th, we'll be having the launch party. We'll take the first 25 members who want to participate in a poker run and go to all of the sponsor locations. Each person collects a playing card or two at every location and whoever has the best 5-card hand will win a custom-painted frame from the Bike Co-op, either their own bike or one of ours. I'm thinking of allowing others to participate as well, but they have to provide their own bike to do the poker run. Non-AYBiTS members will have to donate $5 in order to get a chance at the prize.
And after that, I imagine we'll move the party indoors and celebrate. By Monday, the Taxis will be spreading out and begin fulfilling their duty, unless I'm still waiting on padlocks, which haven't been ordered yet and may hold things up.

In the meantime, though, we've got some work to do finalizing the fleet. Many of the bikes are still in the decorating stage, and 4 of them are still in the paint removal stage.

Since last November, this program has been slowly dwindling the Bike Co-op's treasury. Now, however, it is beginning to regenerate some revenue. I have been doing a lot of legwork seeking sponsorships from local businesses, offering them ads in return for donations. So far, we have the Farmacy, the Import House, the Athens DIY shop, Mike's Tree Care, and Meagan's LGBT organization making monetary contributions, while the University Courtyard Apartments have donated bicycles, the Minuteman Press has been donating and reducing price on copies, the Village Bakery has set up a donation box for us, and Athens Paint and Decorating has donated 33 yellow sheets of 18"x24" coroplast. These will become cargo boxes, like the ones Independence and the Road Mistress are wearing. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Signage

A couple of new signs have appeared around the garage, to make it easier to find us and make things easier for those who live upstairs.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Trip Conclusion

Yep, I made it back. No great news to report, except that self-contained touring by bike is a great experience. I enjoyed the routine of riding all day, stopping where I chose, and seeing new and different things while meeting new and different people. Biking is amazingly calm and carefree when your path is devoid of automobiles. I didn't make the Summit, I had it confused for a different event (Bike!Bike!) that is actually intended for cyclists, and not just suits. Book sales were low, as would be expected in the absence of thousands of enthusiastic cyclists. The greatest joy was planting geocaches, in the form of easter eggs, at various points along the return trip for a group of Athenians who are making the same journey now. They are in for a few surprises is all I can say!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eric Goes to D.C.

Hey friends of the bike co-op. This is Eric posting from Columbia Heights in Washington, D.C. I've just completed a 300-mile bike journey to get here. Starting in Boston, PA, I rode the Allegheny Trail to Cumberland, (with a significant road detour because of a closed tunnel) and took the C & O Canal Towpath from there to Georgetown. Here are some pictures of the trip:

The purpose of the trip was supposedly to attend the National Bike Summit, but in fact may just be an excuse to take a long bike ride, visit the founders of the bike co-op, Erika and Keith, and maybe try and cover the expense of the trip by shamelessly peddling copies of my book to any bike-minded people I find. Either way, it was worth the ride!