Re-Cycles was founded on the principle that our limited natural resources should be used wisely. As such, our goals are to:
Put more bicycles on the road by providing affordable, recycled bikes to the community
Provide low-cost access to a fully equipped bike repair shop
Reduce materials going into landfills by recycling bikes and bike parts (See this offsite page about a trip to the metal recyclers)
Promote a healthier environment and lifestyle
Offer a place for like-minded bike enthusiasts to meet and exchange ideas
There are lots of ways to get involved. Most activities happen in the shop, but there's always extra-curricular things going oh as well. Please see our Volunteer page for more info.
(Original artwork by Helena Van Vliet)
re-Cycles began as "Recycle Cycles", modelled after (and borrowing the logo from) a similar shop in Kitchener, Ont. where re-Cycles Founder Lloyd Deane had volunteered. Lloyd moved to Ottawa, became aware that this much larger city didn't have a community bike co-op, and set to work correcting that (story below). In 2011, with thanks to OPIRG-Carleton for their administration and understanding, the old re-Cycles was terminated. Its assets were transferred to the new, incorporated (as a non-profit) entity know as "re-Cycles Community Bicycle Shop (re-Cycles)".
We now have a Photo Gallery.
By Founder Lloyd Deane
(Lloyd, at right, in the then-new space at 112 Nelson.)
How time flies! Thinking back to those early days of the co-op (back then it was called Recycle Cycles), it's hard to believe the group has been around for over a decade. It seems like only yesterday it was the simple musing of an overactive imagination. The seeds for re-Cycles are in Waterloo, Ontario. As a student in the Environmental Studies faculty at the University of Waterloo, I happened upon a newly formed working group of the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group (WPIRG) called Recycle Cycles. It was an ideal fit for a poor student. Volunteering with the group was a great way to learn mechanics (and fix my own bike - cheap), contribute toward recycling, and relieve exam stress. It was a tremendously rewarding experience. After moving to Ottawa in 1994, and after being laid off the following year, I had the time and motivation to try and start a Recycles in Ottawa. Early enthusiastic supporters included Mountain Equipment Co-op, the Gloucester Centre, Carleton University's Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG), the Waterloo chapter of Recycle Cycles, and dozens of keen volunteers.
(Head Mechanic Rob at right is still with us!)
There were setbacks, most notably with space. After early support, the Gloucester Centre reclaimed their free space and the group was temporarily without a home. But not for long. La Nouvelle Scene on King Edward Ave. was kind enough to provide us with a home for almost two years. Alas, they too eventually needed to reclaim the space to expand their theater. But adversity is sometimes a blessing in disguise. If we want a stable home, we're going to have to pay for it. That was our conclusion after our 'free' space dried up, and to pay for it we had to come up with a new business model. So, we worked with OPIRG, crunched some numbers and submitted a proposal to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for some seed money. Fortunately they saw value in what we were trying to accomplish and backed our new venture.
When we reached our goal of financial self-sufficiency a year ahead of schedule, we knew we were on our way. Since then, re-Cycles has become a thriving social enterprise, and a fixture in the community. I am extremely grateful to everyone and every organization that has contributed to the group's success over the years. I also hope the next 10 years brings the co-op even more success. For those of you considering starting your own enterprise, I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes and continuing sources of inspiration: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead (1901 - 1978)
(The same space just before we moved into the room next door.)
Webmaster note: Lloyd left re-Cycles in early 2004 to pursue further adventures in cycling advocacy.