McWhinney eyes huge Fort Collins project

Apartments, offices, stores slated for full downtown block

By Tom Hacker Reporter-Herald Staff Writer

Raising its stake in Northern Colorado’s rental housing market, McWhinney plans a summer groundbreaking on an apartment project that consumes an entire city block in downtown Fort Collins.

The developer has filed conceptual plans that describe a 608,000-square-foot, five-story building that includes a five-level parking garage, rental apartments and office-retail space.

“We looking at breaking ground in the second or third quarter of next year,” said Mike Hill, who directs McWhinney’s multifamily housing projects.

Hill did not venture more information than is contained in the concept plan, declining to discuss project costs or pricing for the available residential and commercial space.

Hill said the project will put about 300 rental apartments on the downtown Fort Collins market, and an additional 13,000 square feet of combined office and retail space.

The block is on the northern edge of Old Town, fronts College Avenue and is bounded on the north and south by Maple and Cherry streets and on the west by Mason Street.

For about a decade, the block had been the center of a plan by Fort Collins Real Estate founder Mike Jensen to build at 10-story downtown hotel.

Jensen had assembled a half dozen separate properties, worth more than $8 million, to put to that use.

But the economic collapse of late 2008 iced the plan, and the block went into foreclosure with ownership reverting to Greeley-based Bank of Choice.

Fort Collins real estate development and brokerage firm Brinkman Partners listed the block for $4.6 million before McWhinney’s recent purchase contract.

McWhinney has jumped into the rental apartment market with major projects in the past two years.

In 2010 the developer broke ground on the $45 million, 303-unit Lake Vista apartment complex at Centerra, now close to completion. A new 252-unit apartment project is under construction at the company’s Van de Water holding, just south of Kohl’s department store.

“As Chad McWhinney likes to say, we like to get in front of the inevitable,” Hill said of the region’s rental market. He added that he was “absolutely confident” that the downtown Fort Collins market would absorb another 300 residential rentals.

The block totals three and a half acres, part of it clipped by a Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line, complicating the development process.

McWhinney has engaged Denver firm Oz Architecture, designers of the Lake Vista and Van de Water projects, to design its new Fort Collins venture.

Tom Hacker can be reached at 669-5050, ext. 521, or thacker@reporter-herald.com.

Original Story – 09-15-2011 – Reporterherald.com

Creating a cycling culture: Old Town crew gives back to FoCo, Ghana

By David Martinez

Just a brief jaunt from Old Town Fort Collins lays an unassuming shack on a patch of worn, crumbly asphalt.

In front, a small, quaint sign that reads “Bike Co-op” dangles gingerly, looking sorely out of place.

Cover designed by Katie Dalsimer | Collegian

You wouldn’t know it, but through the front doors a handful of volunteers sit and wait for local riders to take away an endless menagerie of used bikes and parts.

The Fort Collins Co-op, a non-profit organization, currently houses between 800 and 900 bikes of every shape, model and price level, almost all of which are organized haphazardly in a giant warehouse.

Despite the shoddy appearances, those at the Co-op believe they are providing Fort Collins with invaluable services: affordable bikes for students and low-income residents, bike repair education and bike safety education.

Will work for bikes

Rick Price, the Co-op’s Safe Cycling Coordinator, said their used bikes usually sell from anywhere between $25 to $150 depending on the quality, but a higher-end bike in good condition can cost up to $600. And while many of the bikes are in less-than-pristine condition, the Co-op helps people repair their new bikes through their open shop on Wednesdays and Fridays.

During those sessions, from 2 to 5 p.m., volunteers work with people for a complete diagnosis on their bike’s problems and go over quick-fix details to help people repair their own bikes.

People do have to pay for their own parts, but prices rarely exceed $15. According to Price, there’s also an option to trade volunteer work for parts.

For Mike Cullerton, a software engineer who volunteers on open shop days, the line of people who need bike help is “non-stop.”

Cullerton’s boss, a cyclist himself, gave him time off to work the open shop Wednesdays and Fridays when Cullerton learned the Co-op needed volunteers. He said his job is to answer questions and teach people how to take care of their bikes. And while he said the work is sometimes difficult, it is was altogether rewarding.

“Bikes are in my blood,” he said. “I love doing this.”

Cycles for Ghana

Chase Baker | Collegian
Alicia Leonardi, Fort Collins resident, works on her bike at the Fort Collins Bike Co-op. If your bike needs repaired, the Bike Co-op will help you fix it for only five dollars an hour.

In the warehouse, at least 400 of the 800 to 900 bikes lay in a mountainous heap. Out of the pile, it’s seemingly impossible to distinguish one bike out of the cluster of wheels and handlebars.

But this Saturday, nearly a dozen volunteers will load those bikes into a giant crate and ship them to Ghana, Africa where they will be auctioned off eight to 12 bikes at a time.

Shops in Ghana will then fix the bikes and sell them cheaply to their residents.

Price said with about 10 new bikes coming into the Co-op daily, it was easy to fill a crate, which will go toward the Village Bicycle Project, a nationwide project to provide Africans with a cheap means of transportation. Plus, the Co-op doesn.t have enough volunteers to turn all of its bikes around and put them back on the streets of Fort Collins.

“The flow is endless,” Price said. “Bikes just walk in the door.”

The donation on Saturday will be the second one in as many years. In May 2009 the Co-op shipped close to 450 bikes.

The good, the bad and the ugly

For Darryl Sanders, the Co-op has provided a small bright spot in his time in Fort Collins.

A chef who has worked in Washington D.C. and Jackson Hole, Wyo., Sanders has had his first bike stolen and his second bike, which he bought at the Co-op, vandalized. He’s gone back to the Co-op to find new wheels, as his had been bent past the point of repair.

“I’m from D.C. I’ve never been jacked before,” Sanders said.

His bike was vandalized while he was in Old Town one night. Which he had to walk it back to his house.

And judging from the state of some of the bikes donated to the Co-op, Sanders isn’t alone.

In the corner of the warehouse lays a 7-by-10-foot steel garbage bin filled with spare bike parts donated to the Co-op that are too broken or disfigured to fix — a cornucopia of bent bicycle handlebars, stripped wheels and a cluster of five bike frames that had been solderized together.

Filled to the brim, the Co-op emptied the bin only four months earlier.

Price said the volunteers do what they can to fix the donations they receive, but many end up requiring too much labor to repair.

“We’ve got more drama with bikes than cars here,” Sanders said.

Helping the community

Chase Baker | Collegian
Alicia Leonardi, left, and Claire Mechtly, senior landscape architecture major, work together on repairing Leonardi.s bicycle. Mechtly is one of several workers at the Fort Collins Bike Co-op who lend their time toward helping individuals fix their bikes for a cheap price.

But while the Co-op gets nearly more bikes than they can handle, they go to great lengths to help their community in other ways.

Fort Collins Police Services has teamed up with the Co-op to deliver bikes that police have recovered as stolen or abandoned. The Co-op keeps each bike for 60 days, waiting for anyone to call and claim it.

According to Price, only about 1 or 2 percent of the bikes’ owners end up reclaiming their bikes.

The rest are then placed in the Co-op’s Earn-a-Bike Program, which donates 10 bikes a month to select people who donate 10 hours of community service to the Fort Collins community.

The Co-op also branches out to schools and organizations with operations like the Bicycle Safety Program, which offers classes such as Traffic Skills 101 and children’s safety and riding “rodeos,” teaching children safe cycling skills.

Price said they also try to reach out to motorists and college students as much as possible. According to Price, the city’s highest bicycle crash rates belong to students, about 16 to 24 percent.

He also said motorists need to learn where to look for cyclists and how to treat them on the road.

“The education of cyclists is complicated,” Price said. “The education of motorists, relative to cyclists, is complicated.”

Cycling to the future

In five years, Price said he hopes to see the Co-op with paid staff and a new place for business.

Price said for a business that was founded in 2003 by Rafael Cletero, who “came in with a dog and a trailer,” that would be a sweet sight.

The only paid member on staff, Cletero, the Co-op’s president, receives a small stipend from the sales of the Co-op. Even Price, who is one of six members on the Co-op’s board of directors, works for free.

Several of the volunteers at the Co-op said they don’t mind volunteering, saying they appreciate the work they’re doing.

Or, as Price said, it’s worth it to be “building communities through bicycling.”

“There’s a certain pleasure in putting people on bicycles.”

Assistant News Editor David Martinez can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

Original Story – 09-09-2010 – Verve

Local cyclists vent complaints

By Ali Sylte

Rick Price logs 70 miles per week on his Cannondale commuter bike.

Price, 60, is a member of the Fort Collins Bike Co-op, a group that looks to further the interests of Choice City cyclists and ultimately hopes to make the CSU campus free from automobiles.

The organization hosted a meeting of about a dozen students and community members Tuesday to discuss the future of the cycling community in Fort Collins.

The meeting was one of eight listening events to be held throughout town.

“The ultimate goal of these listening events is not only to make it safe and convenient to cycle in Fort Collins, but also fun,” Price said. “In an automotive dominated environment, it’s tough to make the roads safe for cyclists and pedestrians.”

The information gathered from these meetings will be delivered to the Bicycle Advisory Committee, the Transportation Board and Fort Collins city planners.

Price fielded many complaints about the poor etiquette shown around campus and the community by student cyclists.

“In their defense, it is hard to pay attention to the road while arranging a date on your cell phone and listening to your iPod,” Price said.

Additional comments included complaints about ice on bike lanes, unclear signage about dismount zones on campus and the lack of knowledge that students have about bicycling laws and regulations.

“It’s important to acknowledge our deficiencies, in terms of bike accessibility, so that we can move forward,” said David Kemp, the Fort Collins City ike coordinator.

The ultimate goal of bike reform is to make the CSU campus entirely car free. But this goal is far from being realized, Price said.

“We’ll have to wait for them to build a couple more parking garages before that can happen,” Price joked.

Fort Collins has already improved tremendously in terms of bike accessibility, Price said. Listening events such as this one have been responsible for positive reforms in the cycling community, like the addition of bike lanes on Laurel Street, and the expansion of the Mason Trail.

“When we come up with goals, city planners listen to us,” Price said. “The city staff, grants and resources have enabled the city to make great progress. But unfortunately, there’s still work to be done.”

“CSU students are the most common bike users in Fort Collins, given that it’s the most economical type of transport,” said Shane Miller, a member of the city’s Transportation board. “It is important that they really get active in the cycling community.”

For Russell Geisthardt, a CSU physics major, the meeting was worthwhile. “As a biker on campus, it’s nice to have my voice heard,” Geisthardt said.

_Staff writer Ali Sylte can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Original Story – 04-27-2010 – Rocky Mountain Collegian

Co-op donates bicycles to 60 Putnam School of Science kids

By Marcy Miranda

For 7-year-old Anthony Fernandez, Saturday was a day to remember.

The first-grader at Putnam School of Science received his first bicycle Saturday afternoon, a cherry red model with two training wheels, courtesy of the Fort Collins Bike Co-op.

Anthony was one of 60 students from Putnam who received a free bike and helmet for winning a contest held by the school, said Kristen Dart-Gmeiner, a third-grade teacher at the school.

Anthony’s mother, Angelica Cid, said Anthony was counting down the hours until he could go to the co-op and pick up his bicycle.

Bill Heistermann fits 6-year-old Arissa Frikken for a bike helmet as the Putnam School of Science student waited to receive her free bicycle Saturday at the Fort Collins Bike Co-op. (V. Richard Haro Rich Abrahamson Dawn Madura/The Co)

“He said, ‘we can’t be late,’ ” with urgency, she said in Spanish.

Immediately after seeing his new bicycle, Anthony got to work on learning how to ride it, practicing in the parking lot outside the co-op.

Also riding outside was 9-year-old Krista Grossmann, who received a pink bicycle with gears and handle brakes.

Grossman, a fourth-grader, wrote a winning essay about what she would do with a bicycle, although the excitement of winning made her forget the content of her essay.

“I was really, really excited to win,” Krista said.

Dart-Gmeiner approached the co-op several weeks ago and asked to see if they would be interested in donating bikes to Putnam students, 80 percent of who qualify for free and reduced lunch.

“For a lot of our kids, a bike is a real expense,” she said.

Students who entered the contest either drew a picture or wrote an essay about what they would do with a bicycle, depending on their grade, Dart-Gmeiner said.

Volunteers with the co-op visited the winning students at school to measure them and fix a bicycle that would suit them, said Rick Price, safe cycling coordinator for the co-op.

The bikes given to kids were first donated to the co-op and were repaired before going out again, he said.

In the next few weeks, the co-op will host bicycle safety classes and bike rodeos at Putnam and Laurel School of Arts and Technology. Students will learn the rules for safely riding on the street.

Other cycling organizations in town, including the city’s Safe Routes to School program, have also hosted rodeos throughout the year.

Original Story – 04-25-2010 – Coloradoan

Bike safety simplified for students

By Coloradoan Staff

Bill Black, owner of the 1st Choice After School Kare, or ASK, program, decided to get a jump-start on spring and brought two experts to share their knowledge about bike safety to students at Liberty Common.

Dave Roberts, owner of Spokes bike shop in Windsor, and Rick Price, safe cycling coordinator for the Bike Co-op of Fort Collins, taught students about using the ABC Quick Check list before they ride to make sure their bikes are in good operating condition.

Courtesy of Bill Black/1st Choice After School Kare Dave Roberts, left, owner of Spokes bike shop in Windsor, and Rick Price, second from left, safe cycling coordinator for the Bike Co-op of Fort Collins, provide lessons in safe bike riding for students at Liberty Common School. First-grader David Geo, second from right, and second-grader Leo VonBargen, right, learn about the ‘ABC Quick Check.’

Both experts emphasized wearing helmets and showed how to inspect them to make sure there are no cracks.

“If your helmet has a crack, send it to file 13 (trash can) and purchase a new one,” Price said.

Roberts explained the importance of giving proper hand signals to let people know riders their intentions for turning, slowing or stopping.

Black is working with Price to get the safety program into all 12 ASK programs. Black also wants to work with other after-school care companies.

“If we could save one child’s life with these seminars, it would be worth a lifetime of classes,” Black said.

Interested?

For more information on the ASK program, visit www.1stchoiceask.com. For more information on bike safety classes, e-mail Price at rick@experienceplus.com.

Original Story – 02-18-2010 – Coloradoan

Co-op cycles into new locale

Question: What services does the Bike Co-op offer?

Answer: The Bike Co-op does everything it can to keep our community bicycling, including those who can.t afford to buy a bike. We try to educate our neighbors in all things bike-related including bike maintenance, bicycle education and safety. We keep good bikes out of the landfill and recycle poorly built or unsafe bikes. We refurbish and donate bicycles for a wide variety of charity events and programs for those in need, including the Earn-a-Bike program.

Q: How long has it been in existence?

A: (The co-op has been open) since spring 2003.

Q: When and where did the co-op move?

A: (The co-op) first moved from its original location in the winter 2007-08 and to its current location, 331 N. College Ave., in late August.

Q: Why did the co-op decide to relocate?

Rick Price, safe cycling coordinator at Fort Collins Bike Co-op, checks a bicycle at the co-op’s new facility at 331 N. College Ave. (Dawn Madura/The Coloradoan)

A: Adequate space for the Co-op means enough room for workspace, offices and storage as well as heated quarters to allow for full operational mode through the winter months; we didn.t have either of these at our last location. That.s the reason we moved to a temporary heated space last winter, and we.d rather not do that again as this is like moving three or four houses. Until late August, we were housed in city space linked to our work for the city with the Bike Library and the Found and Abandoned bikes for the city.s police services.

Q: What advantages/disadvantages does the new location offer?

A: Advantages: The entire operation is under one roof, we have heat, and we have great visibility on College Avenue. The disadvantages are that we now have to pay rent. Since we can sell services and bicycles from our new location, though (we were not allowed to do so from the city space) we hope to sell a few used bikes to cover the rent. (But donations are welcome to help pay that, too).

Q: How has the public reacted to the move?

A: With excitement and enthusiasm as most folks around town knew our last situation was no good, especially during the winter months. We are now outfitted in every aspect to better serve the community within this new format. People seem to love our new home as much as we do. Now that we are open (from) 2 to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we are attracting more and more people to sign up as volunteers, to register for our Earn-a-Bike program and those just looking for bike parts.

Q: What will the open house on Saturday entail?

A: Short, informal guided tours of our new facility (8,600 square feet). Come and see how many bikes get thrown away in this community annually. Ask questions about our programs and learn how you can help as a volunteer. Oh yeah, did we say that we.ve got Christmas presents? Pick up three helmets for the entire family for $25 (yes, that.s a package of three for $25), lights and locks as stocking stuffers as well. Or maybe you need mountain bikes? We.ve got a bunch.

Q: How will the new building lend to future growth?

A: For the most part, our programs are not tied to a place. That said, having winter space to work in will allow us to prepare Earn-a-Bikes for the public throughout the winter and to teach bicycle maintenance year-round.

Q: What is the Earn-a-Bike program?

A: People in the community can earn a quality, fully refurbished bicycle from the co-op by volunteering 20 hours at any nonprofit in town; those in need referred by a social work agency only need to volunteer 10 hours to receive a bike from the co-op.

Original Story – 12-14-2009 – Coloradoan

Bicyclists learn rules of the road

By Nate Taylor

The number of League of American Bicyclists trained instructors in Fort Collins is likely to more than double after a handful of residents participated in a weekend training to become certified to become certified to teach the community how to ride safely in traffic.

Cyclists taking part in bike instructor certification instruction from the League of American Bicyclists make a left-hand turn onto College Avenue from Mulberry Street on Sunday. (Michael G. Seamans/The Coloradoan)

The three-day session began Friday, and assuming the six Fort Collins participants pass tests, the city will have 10 certified instructors to teach cyclists proper behaviors in traffic.

“Cyclists fare best when they behave and are treated as if they are motor vehicles, and that’s what we’re here to teach and pass on to the community,” said Rick Price, a board member with the Bicycle Cooperative of Fort Collins and one of four in the city currently certified as a league cycling instructor.

Members from different cycling organizations through-out the city were among those attempting to earn the certification, but there were also cyclists from Longmont and even Montana. The course incorporates classroom learning and hands-on experience with cone courses and road cycling experiences.

Preston Tyree, who taught the weekend course, said the value of the instruction is exponential when instructors can start to influence younger generations’ cycling behaviors.

“We all learn to ride as kids, and everyone thinks about riding in that same way,” said Tyree, the league’s director of education from Austin, Texas. “But when we go out and see you hugging the curb, I’ll tell you we need to talk about safety.”

Cyclists wait at the traffic light at the intersection of Mulberry Street and College Avenue. (Michael G. Seamans/The Coloradoan)

The bike co-op is targeting younger riders after receiving a grant from REI to instruct children ages 10 to 14 for the next few years. Price said the goal is to reach 5 percent of the students in Poudre School District each year with the grant money.

“It’s a good place to start,” Price said, adding he’d like to be able to offer the training to businesses and most of all to the thousands of Colorado State University freshmen who are new to Fort Collins.

“That’s probably the biggest demographic we need to educate,” he said. “We have very limited educational outreach in this community, and that’s where the bike co-op wants to make a difference.”

As a teacher in Poudre School District and a member of the Fort Collins Cycling Club, Karen Koski said she was attempting to become an instructor because she values her personal safety on the road and wants to be able to better teach her students safety when she takes them on an annual 12-mile bike ride.

“It’s very practical, and I know I’ll be able to use all this information,” Koski.

Koski and other members of the cycling club have plans to also get involved with the safe routes to school program.

“I think we can make a huge influence,” she said. “To me, though, it’s not only important to target kids, but we also need to target kids and their parents who can help reinforce the lessons.”

Reaching adults is one of the biggest challenges, Tyree said. It’s very common for cyclists to have the impression that if they ride frequently, they don’t need to take a class about safety.

John Taggart, a co-op board member and participant in the training, said there probably isn’t a cyclist on the road who wouldn’t learn something valuable from the course.

“It’s valuable because people want to learn in a safe environment like this.”

Original Story – 08-10-2009 – Coloradoan

Refurbished bikes aid people, environment

Fort Collins Bike Co-op, others support Village Bicycle Project

Opinion Piece

As Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

That’s where Village Bicycle Project and supporting groups such as the Fort Collins Bike Co-op come into play to ensure people in need can strike a balance in their lives with refurbished rides.

For people a world away, the value of a good bike goes well beyond recreational pursuits; bicycles often help to ease poverty by improving access to farms, markets, jobs, schools and health care.

Recently, members of the Fort Collins Bike Co-op packed hundreds of abandoned and donated bikes into a shipping container destined for Ghana through Village Bicycle Project.

Since its start in 1999, this international effort has provided 36,000 bicycles, taught 5,500 people about bicycle maintenance and distributed 15,000 tools in 12 African countries.

Through its involvement with the project, the Fort Collins Bike Co-op has continued to educate people about the environmental benefits of a good bike and has helped to keep our regional landfills free of discarded rides.

We salute this effort and hope there will be more localized initiatives to help people around the world find balance and keep moving forward on two wheels.

Original Story – 06-01-2009 – Coloradoan

Saved from landfill, bikes now Africa-bound

By Trevor Hughes

Volunteers in Fort Collins on Saturday loaded hundreds of abandoned and donated bikes into a shipping container bound for Africa.

The bikes collected by the Fort Collins Bike Co-op are destined for Ghana under the auspices of the Village Bike Project.

Co-op volunteers have been collecting and refurbishing the bikes for months, concentrating mostly on adult bikes in reasonably good condition, said co-op board member Doug Cutter.

“The criteria is that it’s not totally a rust bucket,” Cutter said during a break from loading.

Cutter and several other volunteers Saturday were wheeling the bikes from the basement of the old Steele’s Market out into the parking lot, where local Ghana project coordinator Riley Phipps packed them into the steel shipping container.

Pedals were screwed on facing in, handlebars turned sideways and tires deflated. Cutter estimated about 450 bikes would be loaded and sent off.

Packed among the bikes are seats, spare parts and helmets.

“They’re all compressed as much as possible to save space,” Phipps said.
Cutter said the bikes will be trucked to Denver, put on a train and sent to a port, then shipped to Africa, where they will be distributed. He said some of the bikes will be sold, to pay for the shipping costs.

Since its founding in 1999, the Village Bicycle Project has provided 36,000 bikes to Africans. According to VBP, some African countries charge high taxes on bikes, considering them a form of recreation, not low-cost transportation.

Cutter said while this is the first shipment of bikes from Fort Collins to Ghana, it likely won’t be the last. The co-op rewards volunteers with refurbished bikes, if they want them, with the aim of diverting as many bikes as possible from landfills. Worst-case scenario, the group recycles broken bikes as scrap metal.

“If you have an abandoned bike, you can call us and we’ll take care of it,” Cutter said.

Riley Phipps creates a pile of bike tires outside of the former home of Steele’s Market in Fort Collins on Saturday. Fort Collins Bike Co-Op loaded a container of over 400 bikes and miscellaneous parts which will be shipped to Ghana, where the government levies higher taxes on bicycles , viewing them as recreation rather than low-cost transportation (Photos by Miranda Grubbs/The Coloradoan)
Fort Collins Bike Co-Op board member Doug Cutter loads bikes at the former Steele’s Market in Fort Collins on Saturday. Pedals were screwed on facing in, handlebars turned sideways and tires deflated in order to more tightly pack the container. Cutter estimated about 450 bikes would fit.
Volunteer John Toerper loads bike wheels Saturday into a shipping container bound for the African country of Ghana. The Fort Collins Bike Co-op works to keep bikes out of landfills by repairing or recycling them.

Original Story – 05-24-2009 – Coloradoan

Time to nurture our bicycle culture

By Rick Price

Richard Florida observed in the March Atlantic Monthly that recovering from our economic woes ‘will require a new kind of geography …. a new spatial fix for the next chapter of American economic history”

Indeed, for a century now, we’ve nurtured a car culture. From Henry Ford’s assembly line, to the birth and growth of suburbia after World War II, to Dwight Eisenhower’s interstate highway system (he really never intended for it to give us Centerra) and on to rampant suburban growth from 1960 until last November, our love affair with the automobile seemed to thrive on its own.

Florida is right that we need a “new kind of geography.” Those of you who have lived in Fort Collins for long might already feel that you’ve even helped to create one. If you push the walk button more than you push the button on the automatic garage door opener, you probably have. And if you are one of the 7,200 cyclists who, on average, ride their bike to work, school or to shop every day, you are, indeed, creating the new geography.

How can we further nurture this new geography? Well, you could ride your bike more. But there’s more to building a bike culture than just riding your bike. In fact, you don’t need to be a bike geek to be a part of Fort Collins’ bike culture. You don’t need to be a mechanic to know the difference between a fixie and a single speed. You just need to become involved with the Bike Co-op. But before I tell you about the opportunities there, I suggest you ponder the following numbers.

Until 2008 abandoned and recovered bicycles in the city were retrieved by police officers using police cruisers to pick up abandoned bikes. Bicycles were stored for a required impound period and then shipped to auction in California. In 2006, the last year for which complete records are available, the bikes sold at auction brought $3,367 to city coffers. The Bike Co-op, by contract with the city, now physically picks up these bikes, refurbishes them and keeps them in the community.

In 2008, the co-op donated 50 bikes to children at the Salud Family Clinic for a value of $2,000. It released 89 bikes to disadvantaged citizens for a value of approximately $13,350, and it donated ten bikes for non-profit auctions or door prizes for a value of $3,000. The total value of bikes returned to the community by the co-op in 2008 was $18,350. We expect to double these numbers in 2009.

To do that, though, we need your help. Maybe you could help us write a business plan, a fundraising plan or develop and deliver a bike-safety curriculum for public schools in the Fort? Or perhaps you could simply give us 90 minutes of your time this Friday through Sunday at the National Collegiate Road Cycling championships right here in Fort Collins. The co-op has committed to finding 100 volunteers especially for Friday, or fewer on Saturday, beginning at 7:30 a.m. each day.

Visit the Bike Co-op Web site for more information on how you might volunteer to build the culture: www.FCBike Coop.org, or write to Rick@Experience Plus.com if you can help Friday or Saturday.

Rick Price, a geographer, lives in Fort Collins and is a member of the board of the Bike Co-op.

Original Story – 05-05-2009 – Coloradoan