Wednesday, January 19, 2022

BikeWalk Williamsburg Opens Storefront for Donated Bicycle Refurbishing Project in James-York Plaza

Bicycle Co-Op of Williamsburg’s new storefront provides a space for volunteers to refurbish donated bikes and distribute them to those in need. (Courtesy of BikeWalk Williamsburg)

WILLIAMSBURG — The Bicycle Co-Op of Williamsburg, a project of BikeWalk Williamsburg, has a new storefront to where donated bicycles can be refurbished and distributed.

The Bicycle Co-Op Project sees volunteers refurbish and repurpose old bikes to make them rideable and sell them to individuals based on their ability to pay. 

Located at 601-E Merrimac Trail in the James-York Plaza, the shop provides a space to work on the bikes and for the community to come in and see them all in one place.

“It’s such a huge advantage to have a space because in the past we have had volunteers who have been working on bicycles, but they’ve been having to do it in their homes,” Andy Ballentine, communications director of the Bicycle Co-Op of Williamsburg, said. “And we haven’t had a place for folks that might be interested in a bike to come in and see them all because they’ve been scattered around the area at people’s homes.”

Now the volunteers are able to work on the bikes at work stations in the back of the shop, while the bikes that are ready for sale are displayed at the front of the shop.

The store, which had its soft opening just two weeks ago, has been a year in the making.

The Co-Op shop has been a year in the making. (Courtesy of BikeWalk Williamsburg)

“It’s been kind of fun to be involved with something that started with an idea and now has become reality,” Ballentine said.

A grant from the Williamsburg Community Foundation paid for much of the furnishings required, and the Co-Op was able to buy many needed tools and supplies from Barry and Jan Herneiseye, the former owners of the now-closed Bikes Unlimited.

While the shop’s delayed opening means that prime bicycling season has passed, the Co-Op plans to hold a grand opening in the spring.

Before then, however, the Co-Op will get its name and mission out into the community.

On Saturday, Dec. 11 beginning at noon, the Co-Op will give away children’s bikes that they accumulated from donations on a first come-first serve basis, just in time for Christmas.

“Hopefully, if there are families that would not be able to afford bikes for their kids, this might be a way they could get something that’s safe and reliable,” Ballentine said.

The shop’s location right on a bus line and its close proximity to other agencies that provide social services, such as the new location for FISH, Inc., will help support the organization’s mission, Ballentine said.

Ballentine noted the help the Co-Op has received from the community, such as Sherwin Williams stores donating the paint used for painting the cement floor.

“It’s been really neat to see how enthusiastic people are about our mission,” he said.

The Bicycle Co-Op of Williamsburg store is currently open Thursdays from 5-7 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m.

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