The Bike Church is reborn.
Saturday was the grand opening of the Davis Bike Collective – the newest incarnation of the Davis Bike Church, which was evicted from its former location on campus in October.
The new Davis Bike Collective has taken up residence in an 1138 square-foot garage in East Davis, near the northwest corner of Fourth and L Streets.
“We‘re definitely still in the process of getting everything set up and organized, but we have tools and space and that‘s all we really need,“ said Sarah McCullough, a cultural studies graduate student who was welcoming a steady flow of visitors into the new space Saturday.
Dubbed “Bike Forth,“ the new location is more obvious and accessible than the old space behind the Domes Sustainable Living area, McCullough said. It‘s also on one of the major bike routes connecting East Davis with the rest of the city, she said.
Saturday’s opening was the culmination of months of planning and organizing after Student Housing forced the Bike Church to close because it did not comply with university regulations.
Now the group is working with the Solar Community Housing Association, a nonprofit that manages J Street Co-op and Sunwise Co-op. It will eventually be its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, said Robbie McMurry, a Davis resident and Davis Bike Collective volunteer.
“I sort of view it as empowerment over your own transportation,” McMurry said. “The way we do that is education, providing tools and supporting a healthy lifestyle.”
Because the group has to buy tools and pay rent and insurance bills, DBC has suggested contributions for various services. The average donation for a day’s work is $5, but those who utilize the service can give back in other ways, like volunteering their time.
“Ultimately we just want to get people on their bikes,” said Josh Gould, a UC Davis alumnus who has volunteered with the Bike Church for four years. “If you want to come and fix your bike, we will provide tools, knowledge, a helping hand,” he said.
DBC’s work is meant to complement the business of bike shops in town, Gould said. Volunteers and ministers share their expertise on where to find special parts, and more people on bikes ultimately means more business for established bike shops.
The organization of the Davis Bike Collective is based on other bicycle cooperatives around the country, such as the Sacramento Bike Kitchen, Boston’s Bikes not Bombs and Working Bikes in Chicago, said Christopher Salam, a UCD grad student in biological engineering who is a minister-in-training at DBC.
It’s not certain whether DBC will be able to come back to campus, but Salam said the tone of the organization has become much more positive, and coordinators are working with Transportation and Parking Services to arrange for a university-sanctioned presence on campus.
Several possibilities have been discussed, including a location in the North Entry Parking Structure and a space in the Experimental College Community Garden, Salam said.
For the time being, the group is focusing on settling into its new digs. In the next few weeks, racks will be installed in the ceiling and an artist will begin working on a mural inside the garage, Salam said. Eventually, Bike Forth could be a venue for small shows and other entertainment events.
Organizers said the two most important steps toward getting involved are checking the group’s DavisWiki page and showing up. Regular work hours are scheduled Wednesdays from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m. The group meets Fridays at 6 p.m., and additional work hours will be posted on the wiki page when they are more certain.
More information is available at daviswiki.org/davis_bike_collective.
JEREMY OGUL can be reached at email@example.com.