The city’s flourishing cycling infrastructure marks another milestone Friday when Kickstand—a not-for-profit community bike shop celebrates its opening on the East Side.
The shop, located at 1739 Venables St. at Commercial Drive in the basement of the Astorino’s building near the Adanac bike route, opened quietly at the end of August but the official “chain breaking” takes place from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14. The celebration features a public barbecue, children’s activities, cake, bike blender smoothies and bicycle workshops.
Kickstand volunteer Hana MacDonald said the goal is to encourage more people to cycle and learn how to maintain their bikes.
“It’s about empowering people to know how their bicycle works and it takes away, I think, some of the anxiety people have about riding their bike,” she said. “If they’re able to fix their flat on the fly really easily, they don’t have to worry as much about the cost of repair. It makes it more accessible to use every day and it encourages people to join the cycling community and support sustainable modes of transportation within our city.”
Aside from providing drop-in work space, the volunteer-run Kickstand plans to offer programs such as an after-school bike club, an earn-a-bike program for youth and stand-alone workshops on bicycle maintenance.
Current drop-in hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4 to 8 p.m.
Volunteer Travis Pawlak is excited about Kickstand’s possibilities and expects interest to grow after Friday’s grand opening.
“We’re going to run a whole bunch of children’s programs in this space in the afternoons in partnership with a lot of the local schools,” he said. “And I don’t know if you’ve been to any of the local bike shops, but the do-it-yourself bike shops are really blowing up right now. There’s lots of people using them, so given the need in this area and given the fact nobody has access to that in this area, it will be a pretty popular place to come work on bikes.”
The roomy shop features a wall of tools for bike maintenance and repair, and three working bike stands with plans to expand that to eight.
Donated second-hand bikes hang along another wall—some will be stripped used for parts, others will be built back up to working order.
It’s unclear how long Kickstand will be able to stay at the same address, although volunteers anticipate it will be in place for at least a year.
Boffo Properties provided the space at a subsidized rate.
MacDonald said it’s a perfect location.
“If we could stay in [the] location for as long as possible it would be amazing. It’s a really great location. It’s on one of the busiest and highly used cycling routes in Canada.”
Kickstand has mobile workspaces to allow volunteers to show up at festivals and farmers markets.
Vancity provided a $10,000 grant to develop the youth programs for school-aged students and their families.
Britannia Community Services Centre, Pedal Energy Development Alternatives (PEDAL) and the Bike Kitchen at UBC also helped establish Kickstand.
For more information, including its drop-in schedule, see eastvankickstand.org.