Tuesday, September 20

The Bike Depot (and Good Sandwiches)

Today was an amazing fall day. Bean and I had the day off. Her babysitter had to fly out of town for a family emergency and won't be back until sometime Thursday. We got up early with the school-goers and by 9:30 we were ready to head out into the crisp autumn-like air.

We fired up the Cannonball and then rolled happily through Olde Town and down to the Ralston Creek Trail. I had it in my mind to go check out the Bike Depot in Park Hill on the east side of Denver. I purposefully didn't map it out to see the mileage or the details of the ride. I mainly just looked to see how to get to the place once we got to Park Hill.

I also wanted to swing by Salvagetti and pick up my Winter Commuter Team t-shirt (from last winter) finally. We got it on the way home.

We cut a swath through downtown Denver. I love riding through the canyon-like built landscape. There's just something about riding in city traffic that appeals to me. I know, I know...

Anyway, we hit 16th Street and took it all the way to City Park. 16th has amazing bike lanes and runs through a really nice neighborhood. And then we had to detour around some construction at the museum to get to Montview. We took Montview into Park Hill to Fairfax. Park Hill is an upscale neighborhood. I was surprised that The Bike Depot was close by.

And I don't say that because they're a scruffy joint, NO! but from reading their webpage I got the impression that they're in a lower income neighborhood.

A little aside, I may do a more in depth write up in the near future, but basically they are a non-profit community bike shop. They take donations of used (or new) bikes and they refurbish them and then they have an Earn-A-Bike program where you can either show you have a need as a resident of the community or you can earn Depot Dollars toward the purchase of a new (for you) bike.

They also offer classes or you can volunteer and learn more about fixing your own bike.

I love the idea and I think what they are doing for the community is amazing! I'd love to see something like this in Arvada to serve north Jeffco. My idea has been more along the lines of a co-op or a bike shop that also deals in used and refurbished bikes. But the idea of a non-profit bike shop is very appealing. It would be a fantastic platform for local advocacy.

This building is mostly vacant in Olde Town Arvada, just across the street from La Dolce Vida:

It would be perfect for a bike shop.

Anyway, before I wax too fantastic, Bean and I enjoyed our visit at the Bike Depot. We met Shawn and he told us all about what they do and showed us around. I'd like to take a class or two with them and hopefully volunteer some time in the future. It's way out of my territory, but I just love the idea! I want to support good ideas that promote a stronger cycling community.

We left the shop at lunch time so we were looking for a place to snag something before the long ride home. Shawn had recommended Spinelli's Market on 23rd so we pedaled a few blocks south and then turned the wheel of the Cannonball west.

In short order we found Spinelli's and it was very cool! Its in an old building and is a true neighborhood market. We got a couple of sandwiches, Beanie a PB&J and I got their Colorado Classic: turkey, bacon, avocado, lettuce tomato and mayo on wheat.

We went across the street to a little pocket park and ate our lunch and Bean played on the playground for a little while. And then finally it was time to head for home.

Back through the middle of the city, back around Sloan's Lake (with a side trip to another playground), back through Edgewater and Wheat Ridge and into Arvada...


As we were rolling back through Olde Town I remembered I needed to run to the hardware store and asked her if she wanted to go. She mumbled she did. But a few blocks later I decided I just wanted to get home and I'd go back out. I asked if she just wanted to go home and got no answer. I glanced over my shoulder...

It was a good day out and about. The trip out and back to Park Hill was just over 34 miles.


  1. That does look like a great place for a bike coop. I wonder what the rent is? (never commented before, but I read your blog all the time. You inspire me to ride my bike from home in Arvada to work in Broomfield whenever I can).

  2. Thanks for posting Nick! Glad I can be an inspiration. Keep riding!

    I almost wrote down the number and called today on that building.

    The entire property is assessed at just over $200k, which seems ridiculously low to me, but I don't think its for sale, just spaces for lease. The back half is all open with big overhead doors. It would be a fantastic space for bikes.

    For just over $200k if there was the possibility of living over the commercial space below it would be worth just buying the thing. I doubt the owner would let it go for that though.

  3. Chris,
    I having a coffee at La Vita Dolce right now and the quilt shop building is busy with construction going on inside. I think a coop is a great idea for Arvada, especially with the Gold line coming. I was at the RTD hearing Weds night and mentioned the coop idea to Rachael Zenzinger (who helped me get bike lanes painted on my street) and John Firouzi and they both thought this was a fantastic idea. I also have a close friend who is a bike mechanic at REI and he would love to do something like this. I have been studying various coops across the country (http://www.bikecollectives.org/wiki/index.php?title=Bike_Collective_Starter_Kit is a great resource) and I think this is really doable. Want to get together sometime to talk? My direct email is ncstevens@gmail.com