Rag and Bones Bicycle Cooperative is a non-profit community organization that aims to provide equitable access to cycling for leisure, recreation, and transportation. The Co-op is a grassroots project founded in a small garage in the fall of 2011. It has answered an existing need for affordable bicycle transportation and has grown rapidly with community support. The Co-op today still upholds the principles of providing access to knowledge on bicycle maintenance, repair, and safety through an inclusive, safe and casual setting.
Rag and Bones is a cooperatively run workspace that is open to the public. This workspace contains workbenches with tools and educational material focusing on bicycle repair and safety. The cooperative operates on a sliding scale, and donations are suggested for hourly tool use and used parts.
Rag and Bones maintains the space through volunteerism. The Co-op is run by volunteers that manage and staff each open hour day. Training that Rag and Bones provides for new volunteers is designed to educate on two levels; first regarding bicycle mechanics and shop maintenance, and secondly regarding how to teach bicycle maintenance and safety in the shop and within the community. For those who want to volunteer but are not interested in becoming a mechanic, Rag and Bones offers an array of opportunities for community members to gain experience, such as fundraising, representing the Co-op at events, program outreach and artistic design.
Rag and Bones provides affordable bikes and used parts to the community. For those who cannot afford bicycles we currently offer an “Earn a Bike” program, available to individuals once a year. In exchange for hours worked in the shop, credit is earned and can be put towards purchasing a bicycle.
Rag and Bones Cooperative works with other community organizations to expand access of marginalized groups to employment opportunities and healthy food options. We strive to expand these relationships in hopes of decreasing Richmond’s unemployment rate and creating a healthier culture.
Bicycling helps create healthier, happier and more sustainable communities through improved health, cleaner air, and more connected neighborhoods. The co-op helps in expanding access to cycling and education to build a more bicycle-friendly city.