Dear OCBC community,
This pandemic has seriously affected our operations, and also our outlook; we have learned quite a bit about what is not necessarily important, and a whole lot about what should not be taken for granted. We are grateful for our dedicated staff and board, and the hundreds of volunteers who are so essential to helping us to “help people use bikes.” Here’s how we are getting back to that mission, but still without their help, for now.
- OCBC will be open for limited sales and service beginning Saturday May 9th, in the first phase of a “No-Contact” procedure to ensure the absolute minimum chance of infection for our staff and the public. Bikes that are fully refurbished and ready to ride can now be purchased on our website, with advice on size and fitting available via email. Purchased bikes, as well as parts and accessories, can be picked up by appointment Thursdays through Saturdays, noon – 5p (or other times if necessary), and will be done with all protective measures, and no shared space in any case.
- Public use of the workshop will NOT resume until risk of infection has passed. However, helping people with necessary repairs to make their bikes safe to ride is an important part of our mission, so appointments can be made to drop off bikes for essential repairs during the above times.
- Bike donations will be accepted only by appointment, and on a very limited basis due to our greatly reduced volunteer capacity. Public volunteer opportunities are not available now, but will be, remotely, in a later phase of this policy.
We have been eager to get back to helping people use bikes for transportation, health, and wellbeing — especially since bike shops are classified as essential businesses under the Ohio Dept. of Health Covid-19 order. Designing a process to protect everyone from infection, without compromise, was our first priority, and we are satisfied with what is described here.
However, drastic changes to our standards and practices have been required for our small staff (of three) to provide meaningful services without the help of our many volunteers (who amount to about eight extra workers for every hour we are open). We have settled on an evolving plan that will provide bikes and repairs to the most people as quickly as possible, at the most affordable cost, without compromising our high standards for safety and careful service. Here is how we will implement that, in three phases:
Phase 1 services available:
Donated new bikes for sale
We usually only have donated, used bikes for sale, but the first three models for sale on our website are new, fully assembled, “cruiser” style bikes — with only one gear, and a coaster (pedal) brake — that are simple, durable, and inexpensive. These were donated by corporate partners whose employees we helped to assemble them for charity service events. The majority of these bikes were donated to Cleveland Metropolitan Schools and other partner organizations just before the pandemic, and your purchase of these remaining bikes will go a long way to support OCBC’s operations during a time when our usual programs have been canceled. There are three wheel sizes available: 20” for children, 24” for youth, or 26” for adults (standover height sizes available). A free check up, Bike Basics maintenance classes, and a trial membership to Bike Cleveland for Street Smarts safe cycling class are included.
Refurbished used bikes for sale
The other bikes on our website are what we normally have for sale in our showroom: fully-refurbished donated used bikes that will be running like new, with any worn parts replaced with new; priced at about half of the cost of a comparable new bike. A free check up, Bike Basics maintenance classes, and a trial membership to Bike Cleveland for Street Smarts safe cycling class are included.
Parts for sale
We have many good, evaluated used replacement parts for sale: Most are $5 – $25, and we can help you with installation tips if needed. Email with pictures and/or as much detail as possible about parts specifications, and we will make sure you get what you need. Our “fancy” (antique or high-end) parts will be available online soon. The new parts that we carry are the same price as at your local bike shop, so we encourage you to support them too, but are glad to provide new cables and housing with your used brake calipers if needed.
Drop-off repairs (for later pickup)
If your bike is not steering or stopping well, or is making unusual sounds or acting funny you should find out why — in case it is a symptom of something (like a loose crank arm) about to fail, or something worn out (like your brake pads) and about to cause something else to fail (like your wheel rims) — any of which could cause a crash. We are able to diagnose many problems you can describe via email and follow up over the phone, and will tell you if it something that’s not dangerous or that you can fix yourself, and repair just what is needed to make your bike safe and reliable for your needs. We have a Pay What you Can policy for necessity cyclists.
Only limited bike donations being accepted
Because most of the work to process the hundreds of bikes we are donated is done by volunteers, at this time we are unable to accommodate more than a very few. So if you have a good bike you would like to donate but are able to leave it for a bit longer in your garage or basement, please do. If you are moving, or must dispose of it for some other reason, please email us a clear picture and we will reply promptly to advise — whether with us, or any other options. If you have an inexpensive department store bike, know that it will be recycled properly by anyone who finds it on your treelawn.
Additional services, including distance learning opportunities, to be offered in future phases will be announced here, and, as always, please feel free to email with questions or suggestions. To see our tentative plans for future phases, please review this page.