Bike Co-op teaching joy on two wheels

Bike collective repairs, teaches and gives away bikes on the West Side

SAN ANTONIO – A big city trend around the country has taken root here in San Antonio that makes sure that everyone who wants a bike can get one, and also knows how to take care of one too.

It's the Earn-a-Bike Co-op which was created about five months ago by Christian Sandoval, who says he wanted to share his passion for the freedom bicycles provide.

Volunteers run the bike workshop, where bikes are donated, repaired and then given away.

Participants have to put in a number of hours learning how to repair a bike, then they get to build their own from donated parts.  

"When I was a kid, a bike meant freedom for me. So why lose it. Why am I tied to a car now," Sandoval said. "A bike can get me all over town and I can have a lot of fun with it and I can enjoy it."

Sandoval said it's popular, with 150 people participating. The problem is keeping up with the demand.

"We need cleaning equipment, we need tubes, we need tires. We need everything that is needed to put a bike like this back to work," Sandoval said.

Lydia Boudreaux has already been put through the repair work education process and now has rebuilt her own bike.

"People come into the community and we start giving them the knowledge we received when we first came here. So we share it and it just grows and grows and grows," Boudreaux said.

This paying it forward approach is in operation now at 2619 Guadalupe Street. For a schedule of events at Earn-A-Bike Co-op community events, visit www.earnabikecoop.org.