The OCBC is a volunteer-driven, cooperative, non-profit, bicycle
education center. Our Earn a Bike program accepts donations of
used bikes, which kids can earn by learning about bike repair and
safe cycling. Surplus bikes are fully refurbished for sale or rent
to support our programs. We also offer school-based programs,
Traffic Skills classes, and a regular series of bike maintenance
classes for shop-use membership.
Mission and purpose
The Ohio City Bicycle Co-op was founded with bicycle education as its primary activity, with the purpose of increasing bicycle use, as reflected in its incorporation filing:
"The mission of the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op (OCBC) is to promote the use of bicycles in greater Cleveland and engage area youth and adults in cycling activities that foster independence, resourcefulness, and good health. The OCBC works to accomplish this by offering safe cycling and bike repair education, Earn A Bike programs, and a consumer's cooperative bike shop; by providing dependable used bikes and accessories; and by producing cycling events and tours that impart skills while encouraging riding for fun, fitness and practical transportation."
In 2006 the OCBC trustees approved this "working mission statement" to describe what we do:
"Help people use bicycles."
In 1995 the Cleveland Area Bicycle Association began collecting used bicycles to create an Earn a Bike program as a service project for the cycling community. This culminated in a project that awarded bikes and helmets to thirty East Cleveland children, but ended when key volunteers moved out of the area.
In early 2001, two of the organizers of that effort returned to Cleveland and joined with several other concerned cyclists in creating a bike-recycling and education project that began with an Earn a Bike program in a small garage behind the Arrupe Community Center of St. Ignatius High School in the Ohio City neighborhood. For the next two cycling seasons, three of this original group would help area children twice a week to earn donated used bikes by learning to repair them, and riding together to learn safe cycling skills.
In the fall of 2002 the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op (OCBC) was incorporated, and secured donation of a storefront on Lorain Avenue where it could expand this Earn A Bike program, renovate and sell surplus bikes to help cover expenses, and attract additional volunteers with an adult membership program that offered bike repair classes and shop use to the public. At this time OCBC also began to present Earn A Bike programs at schools and recreation centers as a fee service, and organized larger bike rides as fundraising events and for others, including the City of Cleveland. Being unsuccessful securing start-up grant funding, the organization operated entirely with volunteer labor, primarily from two of the founding members, one of whom began volunteering full-time in the beginning of 2003.
When the building on Lorain Avenue was sold in September 2003, the Co-op moved to a larger space in the Flats, where less street traffic greatly facilitated group riding, and a large amount of storage space eased management of the large volume of bicycle donations, now also coming from several area police departments.
In 2010, after several years of planning for an expansion, OCBC was fortunate to find a large industrial facility right across the street available, and in 2011 moved to its current location.
OCBC works closely with many other groups, listed on our Friends of OCBC page.
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