Bike Athens’ sign hangs in the front window of the shop’s new location with a note saying “Coming soon!” in Athens, Georgia, on October 25, 2023. (Photo/ Victoria Adkins)

Bike Athens To Move To New Location Within Community

As Bike Athens goes through the process of moving to and building out their new location on Prince Avenue, they are still working to help the community in Athens. Although their new shop isn’t ready, they are still helping customers with repairs and working on donated bikes for their bike recycling program.

Bike Athens has long been a part of the Athens-Clarke County community. Starting out as the Athens-Clarke Safe Cycling Association in the 1990s, the organization’s main goal was to expand bike lanes, especially along Prince Avenue.

As the organization grew, so did their goals for helping the community.

“In the early 2000s, some of the board members decided that they wanted to help some homeless people with some bikes, and so they were fixing them up in a garage,” said Scott Long, Bike Athens’ executive director. “That moved to a storage unit. That moved to Tracy Park Warehouses over on Tracy Street. … And then we moved to 1075 West Broad Street in the summer of 2016.” 

 Why It’s Newsworthy: Bike Athens is a local small business that sells and repairs bicycles, in addition to donating them to those in need. Riding bikes can help to reduce carbon emissions and an individual’s carbon footprint. The business is transitioning to a new location in Athens. 
Bike Athens’ executive director Scott Long moves an electric bike he has been repairing the brakes on in Athens, Georgia, on Oct. 25, 2023. (Photo/Victoria Adkins)

The Bike Recycling Program gives affordable bicycles to residents in need. The program started out by just helping homeless individuals, but has expanded to help more of the community. Reaching both adults and children, Bike Athens restores donated bikes and includes a helmet, lights and a lock in the donation.

“I would say we probably sell about as many as we donate,” Long said. “So that’s probably in between 150 to 200 bikes donated. …We also do a lot of the sliding scale repairs for people who may have gotten their bikes somewhere else, but they need service, so we’ll work on those bikes and get them going.”

Through this program and the other work Bike Athens does, they are able to provide people throughout the community a more sustainable way to get around town. Making biking more accessible for everyone can help limit carbon emissions coming from cars and other large vehicles.

“It’s going to offer an option to those populations that may have to wait for a bus or Uber or some other if they don’t necessarily have transportation themselves,” Athens-Clarke County Sustainability Officer Mike Wharton said. “So, it does offer an alternative in many situations.”

While the new shop is under construction, they are more limited in what they can offer to help the biking community in Athens. They have been able to move in some of their equipment and bikes.

While they haven’t been able to offer all of their usual services, they were able to help run a neighborhood bike ride during the Historic Athens Porchfest on Oct. 15, 2023.

Historic Athens Porchfest is a community event in which local musicians and other performers are able to perform in seven of the historic neighborhoods of Athens.

Bike Athens had moved into their new location enough to offer to do repairs during the event. They had almost 30 people participating in the ride through the neighborhoods hosting the music festival.

“We wanted to make sure that we rode through all the neighborhoods that Porch fest was happening in,” Long said.

Bikes are stored on racks in the back of Bike Athens’ new shop while construction is on going in Athens, Georgia, on Oct. 25, 2023. (Photo/Victoria Adkins)

In addition to the benefits people in the community receive, biking can help reduce some more specific hazardous materials going into the environment.

“There’s also noise reductions that occur, there’s less toxic chemicals … from fluids and other things and particulate matter from brakes and tires that get into the environment and then affect our native habitat, and our wildlife,” Wharton said.

Athens has been working to make the city and county more walkable by piloting and adding more bike lanes around the city, including along Prince Avenue, giving more people a more sustainable transportation option.

“There are extensive health benefits, of course, to riding bikes, both physical and mental health to using that as an alternative form of transportation. They also help reduce the impact of carbon-creating or climate-changing carbon dioxide and other emissions that come out of the tailpipe when we have additional vehicles on the road,” Wharton said.

Ahead of the new shop officially opening, Bike Athens has been looking to get more volunteers and donations for the work they have been doing. Until everything has been built out, they have still been taking in donations and helping with some repairs.

“Definitely keep an eye out for some sort of grand opening announcement once we actually get all this stuff in here,” Long said.



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