Organizers of La Bikery, a community bicycle co-op, were overwhelmed by the level of support and interest during the opening on September 19th in Moncton.
Coopérative La Bikery Co-operative is a community bicycle centre starting up in Moncton, with a vision to foster a sustainable, bicycle-positive environment. The co-op was set up with the intention of empowering people to bring cycling into their daily lives.
“We saw a need to make bike culture in Moncton more visible,” says Marc Xavier Leblanc (a.k.a Bones), one of the founders of the co-op. “We hope to encourage people to use their bicycles as a cost-effective, sustainable and active mode of transportation.”
It all started with Chrissy Lorette, who studied in Montreal and Ottawa and frequently used community bicycle centres in order to learn how to maintain and repair her bicycle. When she moved back to Moncton, she continued to commute by bicycle but missed the availability of those resources. “When I moved back to Moncton, I wanted to continue to use the bike as my main mode of transportation, but I really missed having a resource centre like a bike co-op that could help me maintain and repair my bike,” she said.
One summer day in 2011, Lorette mentioned this to Guy Gautreau and Joanna Brown, two community leaders who were also passionate about sustainable transportation, cycling, and community building. Their response: let’s build one!
Over many dinners, the small group of avid cyclists discussed the need for a community bicycle centre in Greater Moncton and spoke enthusiastically about the co-operative model. They approached the City of Moncton, which gave enormous support by donating space for the project and the Quality of Life grant.
The group met Cory Herc, yet another cyclist who had also recently moved back to Moncton and was a proficient bicycle mechanic with dreams of creating a similar space in Moncton. “It was a perfect fit,” said Herc, who became a founding member and operations chair.
During the winter, the group came up with a name, developed a vision and mission, incorporated as a non-profit co-operative, and began to flesh out the project. The founding members organized a community meeting to present the project, gather ideas, and generate support. The meeting confirmed the demand for a community bicycle centre.
A community survey and research of other bicycle centres fed into a solid business plan and budget, which secured funding from the Community Inclusion Network, the City of Moncton, and Mountain Equipment Co-op.
Over the summer, City of Moncton crews and members of La Bikery renovated the two-room space donated by the City and equipped the shop with tools and two work stations. “With almost 60 members already we are really looking forward to opening the shop,” says Herc.
The co-op is located right on the riverfront trail in the old fire station at 120 Assomption Boulevard.
La Bikery will rely on its members’ energies and imaginations to help build capacity and expand its vision. Membership is a one-time share of $5 and members will be encouraged to volunteer five hours annually to qualify for membership discounts on bike parts and workshops.
The Co-operative will host social events, as well as cycling and safety workshops, partnering with community organisations throughout the year to create events encouraging more people to get on their bicycles. All of La Bikery’s activities and spaces will aim to be inclusive, bilingual, and welcoming.
La Bikery’s Grand Opening will be on October 20th and will be accompanied by a Tweed Ride from Victoria Park to the Riverfront. So get your best tweed, your bicycle, and your friends and come celebrate the opening of La Bikery.