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Free Cycles

Home Community Shop
Community Shop

The community bike shop is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 6pm. 

During open shop, you can fix your own bike and get used parts, or do the free build a bike program.

These services are free, yet donations into our donation jar are much appreciated.

The community bike shop is located at 732 South 1st Street West (3 blocks west of Orange Street, just south of the river).

Donated bikes and parts can be brought to Free Cycles during open shop- we take everything. 

We also generally have complete and partial bicycles for sale, to keep the programs running.

Free Build a Bike Program:

To build a free adult bicycle (15 yrs of age and up), a BikeWell class and 4 hours of service is done first. (taking the class is the 1st step)

11 to 14 yrs of age: a BikeWell class and 2 hours of service is done first. (taking the class is the 1st step)

For kids bikes (10 yrs of age and younger), there is no requirement for volunteering or taking a class.  We give these away on a donation basis- pitch in what you can.  Most of these bikes need some tuning up, which we will help you with.

If you would like to contact us, call 541-7284, or email mist @ strans . org.   Come by and see us!


More about Free Cycles programs:

Community Cycle Shop: People can build bikes, get used parts, and use the community tools.

Pedal Education: Maintenance workshops and bicycle safety discussions.

CheckOut Missoula: Our rental bicycles.  *service suspended until we rebuild the fleet*

Pedal Technology: Our program aimed at extending the use of the bike, with pedal power machines such as trailers, trikes, 4-wheelers,  and parking racks. 
Currently, we are making and selling bicycle parking racks, utilizing square tubing, old bike frames and angle iron from bed frames.  We are also working to provide low-cost bicycle trailers.  Come talk to us as we are in the process of building this program.

Festival of Cycles: Each fall we throw a bike party in a local park. The festival form and feel changes each year.    click for a description of a past festival


Pictures from the shop...



Free Cycles is open

Come on into the Shop, we'll give you a hand with your bicycle needs...



Entryway Counter at Free Cycles

Sign our guest book if you would like to leave a comment about our services, suggestions for improvements or be on our monthly email list. 



The main room of the community bike shop

The main room when you come in has 10 work stations for bike fixing. 


Simple bicycle tool board

The yellow work station- we strive to have 7-17 metric wrenches at each station, along with screw drivers, pliers and assorted tools.



The Purple Community Tool Board

The tool board in the middle of the shop has cone wrenches, pedal wrenches, tools for bottom brackets, scissors, tape, chain whips and hammers.  We have two wheel truing stations.



Flat Tire Repair Station at Free Cycles

Flat Tire Repair Station.  In addition to instructions, there are patches, glue, tire levers, a good floor pump and work table.  To fix a flat: find the hole with the help of the water bucket, dry the tube, scuff the area with sandpaper, spread a thin layer of the special glue over the hole/puncture, let dry for a minute (longer in humid climates), press and rub patch on making sure no edges are peeling up.  Ready to ride!



Bikes to choose from

We generally sort incoming donated bicycles into: free bikes, sale bikes, rental bikes and bikes for recycling
(saving good, usable parts first).



Organizing all the bike wheels

 Wheels hang on wheel racks that utilize old brake arms as hooks.


The bike parts in the shop

This shows half of the main parts room.  We always need help sorting, labeling and fixing parts. 



Lots of bike parts in bins

Bins of parts that make a bike go.



Bike Parts Bins

Another section of the parts room... 



Bicycle Tubes

Need a tube?  Patch it!



Bike tires on hangers

A rack of tires.  People donate lots of bicycles and parts to our program.  We make most of this available for free back to you. 



Bicycle spokes

Spokes of various sizes.  Spoke replacement is fairly easy- especially if the broken spoke is on the non-drive side of the wheel.


Bicycle forks on racks

Bent fork?  Not a big deal... allow an hour or so to replace...  or accept the challenge of straightening out that bend.



Bicycle Fenders

Keep you and your bike dry with a set of fenders.



Chains hang on little nails


Three things to consider for replacing your chain.  Compatibility (must fit on your chain wheels and cogs), Length (put the chain on your big chain wheel in front, big cog in back, and the derailleur should be flexed 45 degrees forward with respect to your chain stay) and Ware (a really used chain is stretched, and cannot be remedied by simply removing links).  To test for chain ware, either use a special tool (chain checker), or pull on the chain as it sits on you big chain wheel up front, and see how much it pulls off the teeth.  If you can pull the chain more than, say, two thirds off the tooth of the chain wheel, it's time to think about replacement.  Yet, it could easily be worn chain wheels and cogs and not a worn chain causing issues.  Keeping drive trains in good working order is one of the greater challenges with bicycles and especially our community shop.

The Power of the Bike, the Power of Community

A bicycle in a way is very complex with so many little parts and each bicycle can be unique.  In the other way, a bicycle is a simple machine that takes very little time to understand.  It is all about cups and cones, axles and bearings, things to make you go and make you stop, and putting in some care and attention to your mode of transportation.  We believe strongly in the power of the bicycle and the power of community and especially combining the two!



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