About

We Are a Social Bike Business

screenshot_382In the New River Valley, on average 19% of the population lives below the poverty line.  That means 1 in 5 persons in the NRV makes less than $11,945 (or a couple with two children makes less than $23,283).  With regard to carlessness, approximately 6% of all households in the NRV do not have access to a vehicle. Based on information from the Planning District Commission, approximately half of the employed population in the NRV has less than a 10-mile commute to work.

With such short commutes and the expanding transit operations in the NRV, a bicycle becomes a viable transportation option for some living in poverty.  However, the bike industry has stopped making quality, affordable transportation bicycles designed for people living in poverty. Individuals are left with the following choices: bicycles that cost several months’ salary, or bicycles that are so poorly designed, manufactured and assembled from big-box stores that they might work for a month or two before breaking.

 

screenshot_385screenshot_386Retail bike shops tend to be focused on advantaged people with disposable income. Even if an impoverished person obtains a quality bicycle, they have limited options for getting their bike fixed or repaired. The fee schedules charged by retail bike shops for repairs and tune ups range from $30 – $60 or more – and are, again, geared more toward the customer who has disposable income.

So, our mission at the Bike Kitchen is to create a community resource hub for people to access essential neighborhood services by a recycled bicycle. We are accomplishing this mission by creating a social bike business where people can purchase their own recycled bicycle and receive follow up maintenance support on a fee schedule that they can afford. We are also providing bike education training so that people can confidently ride in traffic and perform minor maintenance, way-finding assistance to access economic and social support agencies, and other services.

What we are not

We are not a bicycle co-op or collective. Co-ops and collectives serve advantaged people – people who have the luxury of free time. Most disadvantaged people do not have the time it takes to build a bike or learn bicycle repair by trial and error. We understand now that our chosen name may give the initial impression that we are a co-op – because this is a name widely used on the west coast, but that is not our business model.

About

Our mission at the Bike Kitchen is to create a resource hub for people to access essential neighborhood services on a recycled bicycle. To this end, we are building a social bike business to provide bikes to people without the social or economic capital to find one elsewhere.

Hours of Operation

The Bike Kitchen is located inside the Habitat for Humanity ReStore at:
1675 North Franklin Street
Christiansburg, Virginia

Hours:
During winter months, please visit us on Facebook where our hours will be posted at the beginning of each week.

The Bike Kitchen operates at times when the ReStore is closed. If the ReStore is closed during our operation hours, please email the Director.

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