Angi Urban on Bike Co-ops

Bike mechanic Angi Urban talks about her experiences in bike co-ops in the US and Mexico.

Episode Notes

You can find Angi on Mastodon as or email her at

Bike co-ops and orgs mentioned by Angi:


Recorded on January 15th, 2021

Angi: It helps people be more independent. Because that’s the goal, right? The goal of a co-op is for you to fix your own bike. It’s equipping people with knowledge. And I think that’s like the sexiest thing.

[intro music]

Ana: Hi, welcome to Real Co-op Stories. I am Ana and today I’m talking to Angi Urban about bike co-ops.

Why don’t you introduce yourself? Tell us your name and a little bit about your background. Where were you at before you got involved with co-ops?

Angi: Sure. So my name is Angela Urban, I go by Angi. And so I guess that’s my background. Honestly, my life kind of started with bike co-ops, like, not gonna lie. So I started all my co-op stuff my first year of college. Right. And so before that, you know, I was just, you know, doing the thing of like going to high school, you know, middle school, the whole deal.

And the thing is with that is that my family was very strict. So in the sense of, like, like “You’re going to get all A’s” is like the way my family was like, and I was like, “Okay”. So I just spent a lot of time, you know, on school. And then, you know, there was this freedom when I went to college. I know a lot of people say that, but and then, you know, so I was like, so it was really a big part of finding myself.

And that’s why it’s really close to my heart and really important to me now, like, you know, staying connected with bike co-ops because it gave me so much. I could say it gave me my identity, seriously. And so, you know, it’s just like, I have a lot to thank for it. And, you know, I guess a little bit of my background before that is, you know, like when I was a kid, I was always a tomboy and, you know, when my dad, you know, he would like go into the garage and fix things, then I would go, too, and then I would want to fix things. And, you know, I always played with Legos, and in eighth grade, you know, I bought that big Millennium Falcon Lego, which like, you know, I bought with all my pocket money, literally. And I spent like two weeks just only doing that, you know, after school, like the whole, or I think I spent winter break doing that, anyway.

So you know, I’ve always liked hands-on stuff. But I had never really got a bit much of a chance to do a lot of this, like fixy hands-on stuff, because I spent so much time with school. So it was just like, you know, this whole world where I was like, “Yes, this is my place.”

Ana: Cool. So it was your first year of college and somehow you got wind of this co-op. So tell me how that came about.

Angi: Yeah. So I, right first year of college, I moved into dorms, and one of my floor mates in the dorms, she was, she was similar to me in the sense that, you know I don’t know, she liked to, you know, like do things and like fix things and whatever. So, like I liked biking, you know, I took my bike with me to college and so she also brought her bike with her.

So, you know, we got along really well. We did like bike together and stuff, and I don’t know where she got wind of this co-op, but one day she just tells me like, “Hey, you know, there’s this bike co-op”, you know. I asked her a little about it, but like, honestly, I went into it, not really knowing. I just knew that it was a workshop with bike tools where I could fix bikes.

And I was like, “Yes!”. And so, you know, I just, I just went with her. That was my, my first, first time.

Ana: You get there the first day and what happens? Do you just show up and say like, “Hey, teach me how to fix bikes” or did you already know how to do that?

Angi: I had no idea. Right. I show up, I like, see all these tools. I’m like, “What?” I don’t know how any of them work except for like the screwdriver, for real. And so you know, I show up and I’m like, “Guys, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I have no idea how to fix bikes.” And they were like, “Cool, that’s fine. Uhm, just sort through the parts, see what works, you know, roughly. If you have any questions, let us know and just, you know, sort the parts.” And, you know, that’s kind of how they start out all like, you know, new volunteers. That was kinda my like first experience is just like, you know, sorting things and like cleaning up the workshop.

But it was really cool because, you know, meanwhile, they would be like, “Oh, hey, I don’t know, like, Tim over there is fixing a bike. And you know, he’s down to show you, like, some stuff.” So I would like go over there and I would be like, yeah. “Okay. What is this?” And then, you know, so people were really cool, and like really down to like, you know, share knowledge there.

So that was kind of like, you know, my first experience, and I am not going to lie, I’m going to come clean right now. The reason I started going back after that first time was because I had a crush on one of the guys who, who was there. Cause he was like my age. He, I think he had a mullet or something.

I don’t know. He was really cool. And this is part of where my I guess infatuation with fixed gear bikes comes in because he, he was a fixie kid. He was like a cool city, I dunno, fixie kid and I was like “aww.” You know, so I started going back, you know, in hopes of seeing him more. That didn’t work, but the more I went to the workshop, the more I found out that everybody there was cool.

Everybody had knowledge to share. You know, even me at some point, at some point, you know, I got to that point and then, you know, it was like just this really cool community of people who wanted to get together. And it was all volunteers, you know, keeping this running. And it was also a really good outlet for me, you know, because I was in college most of the time.

So it was like either like, you know, just like stay on campus and study all day, or like, you know, a couple of days of the week go to this workshop. And so that’s what my life became, you know, study, workshop, study, workshop. And then, you know, I just like started, I started staffing there, you know, I became part of the council.

And so that’s just kinda how everything got rolling.

Ana: So tell me a little bit about the day-to-day, such as it was, I know you weren’t in there nine to five, but how was the life there? You said you started fixing bikes. I assume it wasn’t just your own bike that you’re fixing, you know, twice a week, every week.

Angi: Yeah, so there were, there was a lot of tasks to do, you know, there. Cause the way the co-op was structured was that, you know, we got donations just from like anybody, of bikes and parts that, you know, were in varying states of I guess disrepair or good condition. So, you know, we would have to sort through those.

And then the bikes that were salvageable, we would fix up and put out for sale. The bikes that were not salvageable, we would just take off all the parts that were usable and then we would put those in their respective places. And then, you know, so most of the co-op workings was either fixing a bike for sale, sorting parts, or just like kind of keeping the place clean, or helping people who came in. There was a couple of different, like, nights or days at the co-op.

There was “open shop” where anybody could come in. You know, for people who weren’t volunteers, there was a shop fee, but if you were a volunteer, you could use your volunteer hours as like, you know, kind of currency, you know, to pay your shop fee. On open shop days, you know, if there were volunteers there, they were just like doing the thing to keep the workshop going, or they were helping people who just came in to fix their bikes.

That happened a lot where, you know, I don’t know, somebody would come in, they would be like, “Yo, my breaks are messed up, but I don’t know anything about fixing bikes”, you know? And then I would go over and I would be like, “Oh yeah, I’m a volunteer. I’m not doing anything right now. So I’ll help you do that.”

And then, you know, but, and there was this like, strict rule, right. That like, we don’t touch other people’s things unless they say we can, you know? So it’s like, if like, I don’t know, somebody comes in, I’m like, “I’ll help you fix your brakes.” I’m just telling them what I know. And you know, maybe if they’re like, “Hey, can you show me?”, then I can show them. But like, otherwise, like I let them do the whole thing. I’m not touching their bike.

And I actually got into a big fight with a dude one time who was also a volunteer, about this. Cause you know, I was fixing my bike and then he suddenly comes over there and he starts taking the tools out of my hands and doing the things for me. Like I don’t know what he was thinking, but I started yelling at him like, and he never came back to the workshop after that. Which is pretty crazy. Anyway, that’s a side note.

But so there’s open shop, right? Where people can come in and volunteers kind of help out you know, if they need to, if they know how to fix their bike, you know, they can just come in, pay the shop fee, fix their bike, and that’s cool.

There was “Volunteer nights”, right. Where just like volunteers would come in, you know, take care of the big things. Like if we got a big donation of like, I don’t know, 20 bikes, they would process all of that, you know, fix them up, take them apart, whatever. And then just keep the place running.

And then there was, so there was two open shops per week. There was one volunteer night, and then there was a woman and queer night. Right. Because I mean, as we all know, the biking industry for a long time was very male dominated and that was kind of weird vibes. And so we had this woman and queer night.

Where, you know, it was, it was like just for like people who identified as women and queer who could come in and then, you know that was like essentially like an open shop if they wanted to come into just buy a bike, great. If they want it to come in to like, learn about bike mechanics, they didn’t bring their bike, but they just wanted to learn, great. You know, we hook them up with a volunteer and then, you know, do that. So that, that was a really cool night.

Ana: So you said that at some point you became a member of the council, right? So can you tell me a little bit what that means? How was the governance structured? What was your role as a member of the council and all of that?

Angi: Sure. So it was horizontal, right? Where it, the council just like took care of the, like official things to keep the co-op running and literally anybody could be on council. Right. But usually it was the people who were volunteering a lot and like understood a little bit better, how the co-op worked. There was like one guy, for example, who was on council, who was an accountant by profession.

Right. Which is really useful for us because the co-op had a bank account. Because, you know, they were selling bikes and whatever. So, you know, he took care of that just based on skillset. And then yeah, and then I, I don’t know if there was a couple of other like specialized people to keep things running, but other than that, it was pretty much horizontal.

And then, you know we would decide like, “Oh, Hey, there’s an event that, I don’t know, this group invited us to. Do we want to go there and host a little pop-up shop?” Or, you know, do we have enough people to hold that down and you know, all these things or like, you know, anything out of the ordinary or just to check in, if anybody wants us to do anything, change anything, whatever. You know, then they would go there and, you know, talk about it.

Ana: So I get the sense that this was not a co-op that had been set up, you know, as a for-profit business in any way. I’m curious if you have any sense of what the finances are or if the co-op ever struggled to, you know, have money to pay for its space or, or if that mostly was covered. And how did that feel?

Angi: Well, I guess maybe going back a little bit in history for this co-op. I started my journey in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the US. That was where I went to college. You know, that’s where I spent many years at this co-op that’s Free Ride Pittsburgh.

And so I know that they they started as just like a crew of anarchists who was like, “We want to create a space where anybody can come and fix their bikes.” And so, you know, it started as a dream from them. I think probably, you know, just like going wherever somebody let them. And then as the co-op grew and started to, you know, like sell more bikes and like get more money. I don’t know how many places they were at before. They’re at the current, their current location, which is a little part of a warehouse that another, I guess, group has, and they’re called Construction Junction, where they like, it’s the same, it’s like a reuse center, not of bikes, but like of furniture and like all these other things.

And so, you know, they made a deal with them for rent. And I guess, you know, ever since then, they’ve been able to maintain that, or I guess, you know, talk it out with them to, like, they’ll make up for it later. I’m not entirely clear on that, but I do know that, recently, Free Ride has been doing very well, and so I don’t think they’re really worrying about about paying rent right now.

Ana: Cool. That’s very good to hear.

So you were at Free Ride for a while, and this was, you know, you started there in 2014, right? What happened then? I know for example, that later on, at some point you started working at least for a summer in a different bike shop. So do you wan to tell me a little bit about that?

Angi: Sure. So I guess maybe timeline wise, right? I was, you know, in Pittsburgh for, I think the first like three or four years of my college. And then I took an internship in Arlington, Virginia. And then, you know, I was there for like, I don’t know, you know, a semester. And it was funny cause I was just biking around one day, walked into a bike shop, cause I like these things and they were like, “Oh, hey, wanna apply for this job?” I was like, “Uh, yeah.” And then, you know, I got the job, which was a pretty like crazy stroke of luck. This was in Washington DC, right, this bike shop. And while I was there, you know, I kind of dabbled in the bike co-ops that were around there, you know, in Arlington Virginia, in Alexandria, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

I kind of frequented those places. You know, just to see what was up. Cause they were all differently structured than, you know, Free Ride was. So I wasn’t really able to find a place where I could go back regular and I don’t think I really had the time anyways. But yeah, that was cool.

While I was there, there was a conference, a bike co-op conference called Bike Bike, and this was Bike Bike Northeast, which applies to, you know, the Northeast of the United States. And that was in Alexandria, Virginia, that year. So I attended that, conveniently. After that like half year in this Washington DC area, then I went back for a semester of college and then I went to Mexico, to another bike co-op and I was there like full time helping with, you know, whatever they had and then eventually settling in as like a full-time mechanic, you know.

Their structure was a little bit different, where it wasn’t like volunteers helping anybody who comes in for open shop for example, but it was like, there was, well, when I was there two mechanics, right. Normally there was a full-time mechanic and then, when I was there, another one. And then we fixed clients' bikes.

And then, kinda little bit separate, there was other people, there was other workshops, like, you know, days where people could come and learn about fixing bikes, or I guess, you know, like if somebody already knew how to fix bikes, they could kind of come in and use our tools, you know, while we were there, it wasn’t a a big deal.

While I was there, they were actually setting up a bamboo bike workshop, which was really cool because one of the guys who also worked there, but he didn’t work in the workshop, he helped organize things. And he was in charge of the bamboo bike workshop where, you know, they literally built bike frames from bamboo up, to, you know, like a full bike frame. So I helped him organize that bike shop section.

And then they had another program where, you know, they got in contact with people in the neighborhood who could really use a bike, but couldn’t really pay for one. And then, you know, so they fixed up some bikes for those people and then get gave them to them. And then, you know, as a bike mechanic, I kind of helped like repair those bikes to be available for donation.

Ana: This was Casa Ciclista Guadalajara in Mexico, right? So winding back for a moment, can you tell me a little bit about how you ended up there? Because that seems a jump. I mean, it’s one thing to go from Pittsburgh to Arlington, but how did you end up in Guadalajara?

Angi: Right, right. So I guess rewinding, right. I mentioned the Bike Bike conference that I attended in Virginia. That was a regional Bike Bike, but there’s an America Bike Bike, and the first one I attended of that big conference was in Mexico, was in Guadalajara. And so, you know, I attended Bike Bike Guadalajara in 2016. And then after that I attended all of the other Bike Bikes after that. I don’t even remember where all of those were.

Ana: What happens at a, at a bike conference? Tell me a little bit about that. Cause I have no idea about that scene.

Angi: Sure. I mean, this isn’t a bike conference, like, you know, the, like, bike shops where, you know, they come out with like all the, all new carbon fiber race bike, like it’s not, not like that. It’s like you know, a bike, co-op a bike collective conference, where we all get together.

So we have, right like sessions. Right. And we have like, say, I don’t know you know, like five different sessions throughout the day. And then we have like, I don’t know, five different, I guess, classes within that, or like discussions.

So, you know, these can vary from classes where somebody teaches something they learned. For example, there was like a bike art one, where, you know, they were showing us and like teaching us how you can use bike parts and make art out of it. Or, you know, it could be a discussion of like, “Hey, our co-op is really struggling with this. So like, does anybody have any input on that? Are we the only ones struggling with this?”

You know, this could be anything from financial troubles to like, I guess like social troubles or practical troubles, just like in terms of donations, for example, or whatever. And so it was just kind of this big thing just to like, you know, bring people together and talk about all the, all the things they’re learning or all the problems they’re having and to try to like kind of improve the functionality, I guess, of, of co-ops.

Ana: That makes sense. So, I guess that also tells me that there must be a not insignificant scene of this style of bike collectives. Right. If there is even a conference for them.

Angi: There’s a lot in, I could wager in all of the big cities in the United States, there is a bike co-op. You will guaranteed be able to find a co-op probably two or three. At least in the big cities. And then, you know, in the smaller cities, there’s probably one. In the towns, like, probably not, but you know, who knows?

And yeah, and so there’s actually, we recently discovered that there was actually quite a few bike co-ops in South America. So before 2016, right, when Bike Bike was in Guadalajara, Bike Bike, as a conference was essentially like just the United States. At least, you know, this version was like just the United States and Canada, I think.

And then, you know, I think by like various connections, they got connected to Guadalajara and then they were like, “Oh, this is great. You know, like let’s extend.” And so then they went to Guadalajara and I think I’m blanking a little bit right now, but I think in 2018 or ‘19 was Bike Bike Los Angeles and in Bike Bike Los Angeles there was a great guy who was on the committee.. You know in Los Angeles, one of the guys involved with the co-ops on the committee, he’s Fabian. So he was connected to a lot of people in South America who had, who, you know, like were involved with bike co-ops.

So, you know, he became like the chair of that committee, which was focused on bringing people from various countries in South America to Bike Bike in Los Angeles. And that actually proved to be a very successful, like, I guess, sub-committee. And there was a bunch of people who came from like Argentina and Venezuela and like I’m blanking on the other countries that had had representatives there. But it was great because, you know, it was like really interesting to see the similarities, but also see, you know, the, the things that, you know, they brought to the table, which, you know, we all learned a lot from.

Ana: Jumping around a little bit, when you were talking about your time in Virginia, in the Arlington area, you mentioned that you checked out some of the bike collectives there, but they were structured in different ways. And so I got curious about that. Like what, what were the differences? What were the similarities? What did you see that was new?

Angi: Sure. Well, for example, the bike co-op that was closest to me in Arlington, Virginia, that was, that was a bike co-op for kids. It was connected to a school, and I think they had some, you know, they were mainly focused with dealing with kids who were like, I think in like high school or middle school and, you know, I guess providing, like, I wasn’t sure if it was after-school activities or like, like I wasn’t really clear with the structure there because I wasn’t involved in it, right. Because I’m not, I wasn’t in high school at the time. But they, they were focused, you know, with doing programming with kids. I went like once I think to help out, but it was, it was, it was still a little bit out of my way.

And then there was a co-op that was very similar to I think Free Ride, but that was in Alexandria, which was 10 miles from me, which was not a great distance to be doing on, on bike because I didn’t have a car. Right. So like doing on bike every day, both ways after work. So that didn’t work out.

And then another bike co-op that I actually went more often to was called Gearin’ Up in Washington, DC. They were really cool. And I like, you know, I honestly just bumped into them a lot in like various places, like. One of the people who ended up working there also work with me in the bike shop I worked at in DC. So, you know, there was a lot of overlap. But they were also a kids bike co-op. So they also did more kids' programming.

Ana: So going back to your time in Guadalajara, tell me a little bit more about that in detail, starting with, like, how did you end up there? Did you just reach out to them and say like, “Hey, can I come and work with you?” And they said, “yes.” Or was it more complicated than that?

Angi: It was pretty much like that. I think I, I think… Rewinding a little bit back, right. When I was in DC, which was the previous year, or I was living in Arlington, Virginia. Right. And the family I was living with was a Bolivian family and the woman and the man who I was living with the, you know, they were a couple, they were a married couple from Bolivia and they didn’t really speak English.

So, you know, it was this crazy thing of like, you know, I, I moved to this place in Arlington, Virginia, and suddenly I had to start using my Spanish knowledge, which, you know, I sure I did high school, middle school, I learned Spanish, but it’s totally different, you know, being in class and being like “Hola, ΒΏcΓ³mo estΓ‘s?”

And so like, you know, saying that every day when I come home, and then actually understanding what she says. So that was like crazy for me a little bit. And then I was like, “Okay, I need to learn Spanish.” So that was my first thing. And then my second tip that I needed to learn Spanish, really like for real,now, was also in DC. When I was hanging out with a friend, I met on the Metro and one of his friends and they were also Bolivian or I, well, I think one was Bolivian and one was from Ecuador and then they, we, we got high together and they started speaking so fast in Spanish. I was like, that was like the deciding factor when I was like, “Oh my God, like, I need to learn Spanish.” Because I didn’t understand anything they just said, and I am shitting my pants, I cannot.

So you know, these, both these experiences combined, I was like, okay, I need to learn Spanish. And I was like, how am I going to? And so I actually looked for my college, my university to be like, okay, can I do a study abroad?

And then when that proved impossible, considering, you know, my major in whatever, then I was like, “Oh, Hey. I know these people in Guadalajara” and, you know, I hit them up on Facebook. I was like, “Yo I want to come work for you.” Cause I knew that was, that was a kind of tradition of a bike co-ops was to, you know, have this like inter- casual exchange.

And then, you know, they were like, “Yeah, dude, come over.” And they could, they actually hooked me up with somebody else who was in the collective there you know another woman who happened to be looking for a roommate. So I was like, great. And so, yeah, that’s, that’s how I ended up there, ultimately.

Ana: So you, you went there and you basically worked as a mechanic, or did you do other jobs too?

Angi: Like I said, it was helping to organize this this bamboo bike workshop, which pretty much involved, just like set up, you know, like moving things around, like going with one of the guys to go buy some specific things. Like. Just, just little things like that. So it was mostly either fixing bikes or cleaning and organizing.

Ana: I’m very curious, also about this idea of making bikes out of bamboo. I’ve never heard of this before, and it sounds so cool. Was that a thing that they had to come up with or is this a, a thing that generally people in the bike scene are experimenting with? Tell me a bit about that.

Angi: So I’ve never met anybody say in the US who has been experimenting with this but from the, the guy who, whose idea this was, Mexi, he died, he died a while back, but he was really cool dude. He was the one who decided to make a bamboo bike workshop there in Guadalajara. And I think it was because he attended a different bamboo bike workshop where he himself learned how to make these types of bikes.

So, you know, he was equipped with the knowledge of how to do this. And you know, since bamboo is a very, it was just kind of a sustainability idea too, right. Considering that you know, a lot of people in Mexico don’t earn very much money, one. Two, bamboo bikes, right? Like bamboo grows so fast. It, essentially, the material costs nothing.

You just need like the epoxy and like a couple of extra things, so, you know, bring it all together. And then all the bike parts too with it. And then it’s actually very sturdy and like not flex, I guess, flexible, maybe the right word, really impact absorbing, right? Because like bamboo as a material, it’s like a plant material.

So it’s not like, I don’t know, aluminum where, you know, it gets one crack and then it’s done. It’s like, it can take a lot of force and just like be fine. So the, there was like couple of reasons, right. Including the cost, as well as the sustainability. And I guess, right, that Mexi had this knowledge that he could share with other people.

Ana: Yeah, that’s very cool. And do they make just the frames out of bamboo or do they make other parts too?

Angi: I think they just make the frames out of bamboo and then the rest of the parts are normal bike parts, at least at least in this model. Because I, I think there’s a couple of different models, but the, this one that they were doing was like this,

Ana: So how long were you in Guadalajara?

Angi: It was, it was a semester. So. I think I got there in February and then I left at the end of June. So about half a year, give or take a month.

Ana: Did you go back to Pittsburgh then? Or how was your journey like after that?

Angi: It was actually pretty, pretty trippy going back. Cause I went on a little adventure. Right. So one of, I guess my acquaintances in Mexico was like, “Hey, there’s this heavy metal music festival in Europe. You know, this summer.” Right. So that was going to be in July that, and then he was like, “why don’t you come with me?”

And I was like, thinking, you know, I was like, “Oh, well this heavy metal music festival is…” It was in Slovakia or something, which was right by where my family is. Right. My grandparents and everybody lives in Hungary. And then right at that time, I happened to have a friend who was studying in Prague. So I was like, that sounds great.

I’m down for an adventure. Plus, I will add that I thought listening to heavy metal was really cool and I wanted to be cool. So I was like, “Oh yeah, I want to go.” So there was a little bit of disingenuity there, but I’ll admit it. But either way, you know, so I decided to, you know, go out. I was like, yeah, let’s go.

You know, like, and then I’ll go visit my family after that, you know, we can both go. And then, so I went with him to Europe, but right. We flew into Amsterdam and then I think we were going to hitchhike from there to Slovakia. Or, I mean, I don’t really remember how he planned it, but we got to Amsterdam and there was a squat there that we stayed at for a while, where I found out that he was actually very annoying.

So I left him. I left him and then, you know, I visited my friend in Prague and then I went to my family and then I was like, no, you can’t come here because I just like, can’t take this. And I was just like done. So yeah. And then, and then I went back to Pittsburgh and then I finished school, finally.

And then that’s kind of, and then, you know, after I finished college, then my sister and I decided to do a bike tour around Europe and that got intervened with, by Corona.

Ana: [sighs]

Angi: And here we are, living in Hungary right now.

Ana: You’re living in Hungary right now. Any bike co-ops over there?

Angi: Yeah, there’s one. I found out it’s like a couple of streets down from where I live, so it’s really cool. And I actually need to do some major fixes on my bike down there one of these days, but yeah.

Ana: After Corona and everything is over, what are your plans? Are you coming back to the States or do you plan to tour Europe still?

Angi: The plans to bike tour Europe are kind of like gone, you know. It was just like, it was a nice idea and it was going to be great, but I don’t know, higher powers intervened. So we’re like, okay. Fine. So I don’t think we’re going to continue. My plan was to well, actually my plan was to go back to the States via Brazil, which is a big, you know, roundabout way to get there. But I, I really I’m studying Capoeira. Are you familiar?

Ana: Yeah, the, the Brazilian dance slash martial arts.

Angi: Yes. So I’m studying that and you know, so I really love it and I, you know, would want to go to, you know, where it originated from. And I also have a, I have a friend who was in Brazil, so I was just going to kind of like go around like that was the plan, but then Corona really intervened and, you know, kept me stuck here for a lot longer than I expected.

And so I was like, I was like, you know what, I just need to get a job and I got a job. But that wasn’t good. So now I’m searching for another one and I promised the people who at this one, who’s going to get back to me next week that, you know, I could be around for a while. So I, I told myself I would be here for another year if they do take me on. So I don’t know what’s going to happen after that, honestly.

Ana: Is the job bike-related at all, or co-op related?

Angi: It’s a bike mechanic job at, at a bike shop. So. Yeah.

Ana: Cool. So do you ever plan to go back into, bike co-ops or start one yourself or join one?

Angi: That’s, that’s the ultimate dream for me. Like if I, if I could like write down, you know, what my dream for my future is, right. It would be to, you know, get a house, that, with a garage that opens onto the street, in a kind of central place, so people could get to it pretty easy and, you know, just do a bike co-op out of my garage.

And so that’s the ultimate dream. But you know, details pending. I don’t have a house. I don’t have all the tools. So. Who knows? I have a little bug in my heart that does want to go back to the Northeast US. So I think that’s will, that’ll be where I settled down for. Good, but who knows? I’m I’m not there right now, so.

Ana: So what makes co-ops so special, bike co-ops in particular?

Angi: It’s the community. And it’s also the fact that it helps people be more independent. Because that’s the goal, right? The goal of a co-op is for you to fix your own bike. And it’s equipping people with knowledge. And I think that’s like the sexiest thing is like any, anything that’s like teaching you, at no cost really?

Because, essentially, all of the bike co-ops I know have that as a priority, to either just be affordable or be at no cost for, for people, you know? So it’s like, Or, you know, it’s, donation-based, based pay what you can. So it’s a very accessible, and I think it’s like a really cool you know, it helps people get around free, right?

They don’t have to pay a bike mechanic, they can just do it themselves. It provides the community of like really cool independent people. And yeah, it’s bad-ass you get to know a bunch of cool stuff.

Ana: Yeah, it does sound amazing. Before we close out the conversation, I’m curious if you have any advice for anyone who might be listening to this and they’re like, “well, you know what I want to get into that. I want to get into this bike co-op scene.” What advice do you have for them?

Angi: Yeah, look it up online. What, where’s your nearest bike co-op is? Look up bike co-op, bike collective or whatever in your language the equivalent is, in your city and check it out. Cause it’s cool.

Ana: it does sound very cool. You’re making me want to get back into biking.

Angi: I think that’s one of the, that’s one of the coolest things too about bike co-ops is like, you don’t even need to bike to do it. Cause I think I’ve met a couple of people. I’m like. You know, because I’m like the full steam, like I bike everywhere to get where I want to go and I fixed my own bike and I fix other people’s bikes and, you know, he’s just like, I’m all in it, but there’s people I’ve met who I’m like, Oh yeah.

Do you bike around the city? And they’re like, no, I don’t bike at all. I just like fixing bikes and I’m like, “Huh. Interesting.” But you know, that’s, that’s one of the cool things about it is just like, you know, being able to do this and learning and you know, like no matter who you are.

Ana: That sounds very sweet. Very, very open and very inspiring. Thank you for that.

Angi: Yeah, no problem.