Whirling spokes. Beard blowing in the wind. His grease stained hands gipping the handlebars. The click of gears shifting methodically. Rolling slowly to a stop, and dismounting. Meet Chris Manor, one of the founders of the Provo Bicycle Collective.
Opened in November 2011, the Provo Bicycle Collective bills itself as a one-of-a-kind. “It could be thought of as a do-it-yourself, volunteer-run, community bike shop, rather than a traditional bike shop,” said Chris Manor, one of the volunteers who started the Provo Bicycle Collective. Manor is one of a few bike lovers in Utah County who brought the Provo Bicycle Collective to life in hopes that more bikers will join their ranks.
BYU student Spencer Hawkes was also instrumental in helping cycling to emerge in Utah Valley. Hawkes worked at the old Pioneer Book store on Center Street in Provo before it relocated. Hawkes met Zac Whitmore (now the “president” of the Provo Bicycle Collective) when he continued to come in to the store to check out old books about bikes. They became friends based on their mutual interest in cycling.
However, Hawkes moved to Tokyo for work for a year and a half. In Japan, Hawkes got involved with playing bike polo. When he moved back to Provo, he was overjoyed to learn that a local bike polo group had developed. This group of nine avid bikers became the founders of the Provo Bicycle Collective.
Located on Center Street in Provo, the bike shop is open to assist and help anyone who needs to repair their bike, along with offering a few used parts if cheap repairs are needed.
“What we offer is a full bench of tools for anyone to use, as well as the know-how to teach peoe,” said Manor. The shop also has used frames available if people want to build a bike themselves.
One of the big dreams of the Provo Bicycle Collective is to make biking more affordable.
“Most people that have a bike also have a car,” said Hawkes, “so if you have to spend $50 in gas, and another $50 to get your bike fixed, the bike is usually the thing to go.” Because the Provo Bicycle Collective is run strictly off of donations, people can typically have their bike fixed for $5 an hour.”
Along with making biking more affordable for the masses, this remarkable store is also a way to have a social network for biking.
“We’re just a bunch of people who like bikes that wanted to provide a resource for people to use. None of us intend on getting rich by doing this. We maintain a non-profit status and stay open thanks to donations,” said Manor.
The Provo Bicycle Collective sponsors group rides year-round. Many of the rides are inspired by the Critical Mass, a nationwide bike ride that began about 20 years ago in California. The purpose of the original Critical Mass ride was to raise awareness for bikers. The idea was that if a large enough group of cyclists exists on the road at one time, cars have to pay attention to them and share the road.
Provo used to have a Critical Mass ride, but it died down after a few years.
“It was possibly due to the controversial nature,” said Hawkes. “Most Critical Mass rides encourage things like running red lights in groups.”
The latest rides that the Provo Bicycle Collective organized were the Halloween “Glow in the Dark Ride,” and the “Cranksgiving” race during Thanksgiving.
With the price of gas soaring around the world, biking seems more appealing than ever.
By Faith Heaton
Provo Bicycle Collective Info:
49 N. 1100 West #2 ?Provo, UT 84601
Thursday 1-7 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.