Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Durham Bike Co-op?

The Durham Bicycle Cooperative is an all volunteer non-profit 501(c)(3) membership-driven, direct service, consensus-based organization, located in Durham NC. The main goals of the DBC are bicycle skill-share (learning to fix a broken bicycle), bicycle recovery and redistribution (earning/obtaining a bicycle), and special events (rides, mobile clinics). Please see our mission statement for more information.

How can I donate parts or bicycles?

Please drop off any parts or bicycles at the shop during our open hours (Sun/Thurs) or leave them by the front gate. Please contact the Donations Coordinator if you have questions. See our Wish List for items that we are especially interested in getting donated. As a 501(c)(3) we can write you a tax receipt for your donations. Please tell the front desk greeter if you would like a tax receipt.

How can I volunteer at the shop?

We have aprons, but please wear "working-clothes" and closed toe shoes, as fixing up bikes tends to involve grease and dirt. Please arrive on time to ensure that you get assigned to a team. 
 
Volunteer Tasks Include:

•  Organizing (sort and label parts)

•  Strip Bikes (remove parts off of parts bikes)

•  Strip Wheels (remove spokes off of wheels)

•  Co-mechanic (work with a lead mechanic to help someone fix their bike up, note: working on your own bike is not considered volunteering)

•  Assist Greeter (help staff the front desk)

What makes you a co-op and not another bike shop?

A regular bike shop offers a service of dropping off a bike, paying a fee, and getting it repaired by an expert mechanic.

 

At the co-op you will instead work on your bike (with the help of volunteer mechanics), turn the wrench, get some grease on your hands, and in the process learn about bicycle repair!

 

Whereas most bike stores are privately-owned, for-profit businesses, the Durham Bicycle Cooperative is a non-profit, member-owned, and democratically-operated community bicycle workshop.

How can I learn to fix bicycles?

Come by the shop on Sunday or Thursday and volunteer. Please arrive on time to ensure that you get assigned to a team. The front desk greeter will assign you to a 2 to 3 person "mechanic team". No previous mechanic experience is necessary. See below on what volunteers do. Also, watch our events page for any special clinics or classes.

How can I get by bike fixed?

You will be assigned to a mechanic team that will include a lead mechanic and potentially an assistant mechanic. They will work with you to fix up your bike. Please clear your schedule, as fixing up a bike often takes longer then you might imagine. Also, we may need to use some new parts to make your bike fully functional (cables, bearings, etc.). Please plan and/or budget that you may have to spend several dollars on components if you would like to have a fully working bike. Please arrive on time.

Do I have to be a member to get help at the Co-op?

YES.

Do I have to bring my own tools?

The Co-op has a large selection of tools, and we recommend you leave your personal tools at home.

How do I become a member?

A yearly membership is available for: 3 hrs volunteering at the shop, or $30 donation. See the "Become a Member" page for online options.

How can I get a bike?

After obtaining a membership, you can volunteer an additional hour plus a $10 copay, or pay $20. Then you may pick a regular bike out from the back pile, and then work with a mechanic team to tune it up. Inside are several nicer bikes that are priced higher (and we ask for additional volunteer or $$). Also, consider that we may may need to utilize some new parts to make the bike fully functional. It is very common to need to install new cables or new bearings. Please plan / budget that you may need to spend several dollars on components. Please arrive on time.

What are the benefits of being a member?

See the "Become a Member" page for details.

Do I have to be a bike mechanic to join?

Expertise as a mechanic is not required.

Can I trade in my bike?

No.

How can I donate money online? 

See the "Donate & Sponsor" page.

What is the history of the organization?

10/29/2006 - First Meeting

03/25/2007 - Opened at 723 N. Mangum St.

07/08/2010 - Moved to 715 Washington St.

06/14/2016 - Moved to 1612 Acadia St.

Cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and debit cards. We do not accept American Express.

What forms of payment do you accept?

How long will you store my bike?

We have extremely limited storage space. If you pick a project bike from our pile and do not finish working on it within 30 days, it will be returned to the pile or sold. If you are leaving town for the summer, traveling, etc, please make arrangements to store your bike somewhere other then the co-op. Also, we will not store personal bikes.

How many bikes can I get?

If you are volunteering to get a bike, we have a limit of 1 per year. There is currently no limit on bikes purchased for $$.

Can I buy new bike parts through the Co-op?

We try to reuse as many used parts as possible, but sometimes new parts are needed. We have some new parts available (tires, tubes, cables, bearings, brake pads, brake noodles, cotter pins, and axle nuts), that are priced. For a full selection of new parts and accessories, please see a local bike shop.

What kinds of bike repair projects can you help with?

Changing out tires/tubes. Patching a flat tube. Adjusting derailers. Adjusting brakes. Adjusting seat height. Rebuilding hubs, bottom brackets, and headsets. Rewiring shifter and brake cables, truing wheels, building wheels.

Can people under 18 use the Co-op?

DBC welcomes anyone who wants to work on bikes, including young people. For safety and legal reasons we do have some rules for youth participants:
 

A parent or guardian must sign a liability waiver before anyone under 18 uses the shop.

 

Everyone ages 14-18 can use the shop without bringing along an adult (after the waiver is signed on their first visit). Youth ages 14-18 must show identification (like a high school ID card) with their age on it.

 

Young people under age 14 need to be accompanied by an adult, like a parent.

What is Thursday Night Shop?

Thursday Night Shop is true to the motto “We fix bikes with people, not for people” offering a blend of DIY and mechanic assistance. We’ll never assume your skill level and will allow you to work independently—however, we are more than happy to provide assistance when asked! We strive to make Thursday Night Shop a safe place for everyone to learn and work together—please let us know if there is anything we can do to make you feel more welcome :)

We typically have an enthusiastic shop helper named Banjo who is a very friendly dog. 

 

Memberships can be purchased or renewed but participants do not accumulate volunteer hours (for earn-a-bike or membership) while working on personal projects. These sessions are intended to provide our members access to the shop to work on their bikes. Registration for this event is not required. Donations can be dropped off during Thursday evening sessions.

Can I just come and get parts?

In general we would rather help you install the parts on your bicycle at the shop. This ensures that your bicycle actually gets working. Often times parts look very similar but they are actually incompatible and do not fit your bicycle.

Can I rent a bicycle?

Sorry, we do not offer this service. Some commercial bike shops in the area do rent bikes, though.

How could I partner with the DBC?

The DBC is an all-volunteer organization with limited resources. If you represent a non-profit or social service agency and want to learn more, email us.