Community Bicycle Repair Shop in Portage la Prairie

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Portage AT Committee Announces new Community Bicycle Shop Project

Portage la Prairie cyclists of all ages will soon have a place to fix their own bicycles at a newly established Community Bicycle Repair Shop.

The Community Bicycle Repair Shop is a partnership between the Portage Active Transportation Committee and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Central Region.  The shop will provide access to repair space, bicycle repair tools, bicycle parts, and educational programming.  Tools are being donated and purchased now for an end of June 2016 opening.  Use of tools will be on a donation basis with everyone welcome to use the tools and space.  All donations will support the not-for-profit charitable project.

“The Community Bicycle Repair Shop project is a profound community building idea,” said Jordan Friesen, Executive Director of CMHA-Central Region.  “This project will help enhance people’s lives, and it fits well with CMHA’s mental health initiatives of supporting people who are marginalized, at-risk, or vulnerable.”

“This project is truly for everyone,” said Ian Wassink, Project Steering Committee Chair for the Community Bicycle Repair Shop and Portage AT Committee member. “Portagers – from kids to seniors – will have access to specialized bicycle tools, bike stands, parts, oil and grease, and educational programming.  We are going to bring in bike experts to lead repair workshops, and have Open Shop hours for drop-in repair time.  Volunteers can also help maintain the shop during Volunteer Shop.”

In recent years, the number of bicycles and Active Transportation initiatives have risen in Portage la Prairie.  In addition to pathways, the Portage Fire Fighters Annual Bike Auction, and the annual Bike Week events each June, Portage will now have a volunteer-based bike repair shop.

The timeline for the shop includes organization and initial tool purchase in June 2016 with a soft opening end of June.  Educational programming will hopefully roll out in the summer and into the fall.  The use of space is being donated by CMHA-Central Region at a new garage built near the Tupper St. Bridge/Overpass.  A grand opening will occur in the summer or fall of 2016.

The Portage AT Committee is looking for anyone who knows anything about bicycle repair or tools to come forward and assist.  Donations of tools, bicycles, bike parts, skills, money, and volunteer time are welcome.  People are encouraged to join the project steering committee to help guide the initial set-up and operation of the shop.

To assist further, please contact Ian Wassink at ianwassink@gmail.com

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