Let’s make a distinction here. The average Reno bicycle shop is about business; new bicycles and parts all at a price that may keep college students out of the shop. The Reno Bike Project, however, is about community. Their parts are used and their shop and tools are available to everyone. Their bicycles are made entirely from scratch.
This surge in consciousness and bicycle usage can be witnessed around the university campus.“People are becoming conscious of their carbon footprints,” says 26-year-old Kyle Kozar, co-founder of the Reno Bike Project.
Gasoline dependency, global warming, and health concerns contribute to more and more people preferring pedals over petroleum pumps, according to the Earth Policy Institute. In 2008, the world produced 130 million bicycles compared to 52 million cars — more than twice as much.
As more people turn to riding their bicycles, a community shop seemed to be the best option for the Bike Project founders. In October 2006 Silverman and Kozar recruited volunteers and began working on bicycles in their friend’s basement once-a-week. Street artist Herman Beans designed their logo (a bicycle with wings) and the two friends began to promote their vision. Soon they were featured in the Reno News and Review and Reno Gazette Journal, and their operations expanded. By October 2007 they had their very own shop. To better accommodate their needs, they moved again in September 2008 to their current lair on 541 E. 4th St.
The Reno Bike Project will make a bicycle entirely of used parts, starting at $175. A broken fork, malfunctioning derailleur or cracked wheel is no problem. They have a wide selection of used, thrifty parts. Many volunteers are willing to work right alongside anyone needing assistance with repairs. In other words, they teach people how to fix and maintain their bicycles.
“[Community bicycle shops] reduce pollution by recycling, reduce landfills by recycling, reduce traffic and take an active part in creating a cycling culture,” says 28-year-old Noah Silverman, co-founder of the Reno Bike Project.
The cycling culture includes anyone with a passion for cycling. Reno may not be the most bicycle friendly city, major renovations in bike lanes won’t go into effect until 2030.Local cyclists must brave the elements of weather and roads in dire need of repair.
“Reno Bike Project is really cool,” says Paul Thompson, 23, Undeclared. ”They make riding sounder in a town that doesn’t go easy on cyclists,”
The Reno Bike Project has a diverse clientele, ranging from many University of Nevada, Reno students that frequent the shop, to casual riders and even the 40-miles a day, commuter.
And, it all started in a basement.