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Our Community Bikes celebrates 25th anniversary with charity bash

A Pedal for the People bike build party. Photo Arman Kazemi Our Community Bikes (OCB) is celebrating 25 years of building bikes in the community with a charity bash on September 7 at Red Gate Arts Society starting at 8 p.m.

 A Pedal for the People bike build party. Photo Arman Kazemi A Pedal for the People bike build party. Photo Arman Kazemi

Our Community Bikes (OCB) is celebrating 25 years of building bikes in the community with a charity bash on September 7 at Red Gate Arts Society starting at 8 p.m.

Founding director Gavin Davidson says OCB started as a do-it-yourself bike repair and education space, which opened in Mount Pleasant in 1993 as a project of Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST).

"From the beginning the culture of OCB has been to empower people to repair their bicycles, get more bikes on the street by refurbishing bicycles and taking bikes out of the waste stream," says Davidson in a news release.

BEST created the PEDAL Society in 1999 to manage OCB and operate free programs including a free bike repair service for those in need called Pedals for the People.

OCB senior mechanic Jesse Cooper says the program was a response to the increasing need to make bikes available for low income and marginalized individuals.

“Volunteers from the community help repair bikes and then we are able to give them away for free. Bike repair is an amazing way to bring people together - women, youth, people with all skill levels can pick up a wrench and learn how to fix a bike," Cooper says.

The PEDAL Society helped start the Bike Kitchen at UBC, Maya Pedal in Guatemala and provided work experience for youth and people with developmental disabilities for many years.

All proceeds from OCB 25th Anniversary Big Spanky Do will support the Pedals for the People program. Everyone is invited for a night of live DJs, dancing, games prizes drinks, and live performances.

Ticket prices range from $15 to $25 but organizers say no one will be turned away due to a lack of funds.