Scott McGibney has always enjoyed working with bikes.
“I used to race way back in the day and even when I was a university student I worked as a bike mechanic for a couple of summers,” McGibney said.
“We look for bikes that can be recovered and rebuilt and returned to use,” he said.
“If they aren’t in good enough shape for that, we’ll try to salvage as many parts as we can.”
It’s all part of the bike diversion project. Staff at the landfill direct people who are dropping off their bikes to leave them for the co-op instead. If it’s not salvageable, it gets scrapped.
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“We try to scrap as few bikes as possible,” McGibney said.
He is one of the many volunteers who go through the stacks of bikes – turning one person’s trash into another person’s treasure.
It’s a year-round effort that typically ramps up in the spring.
“Obviously not a lot of people come in for bikes over the winter, so they build up here over the winter,” McGibney said.
“Once the spring season comes everybody’s looking for a bike we start taking them out.”
The bikes are now starting to make their way from the landfill to the shop to be refurbished and used for various kinds of programming like bike maintenance and mechanics.
In their first haul of the season, volunteers brought back almost 70 to add to the stock.
“It’s very surprising the quality of bikes people take to the landfill,” BCBC operations manager Ashely Marshall said.
“Once the bikes here deplete just because of giving them out – we then do a trip so we can fill up and restock.”
In 2018, the organization put almost 400 bikes back on the road. Marshall said they are already seeing a steady stream of people of all ages looking for bikes.
“It’s probably not going to stop until October,” Marshall explained. “We’ll have lineups all summer long.”
That means lots of work for volunteers like McGibney – who said he’s just happy to do his part.
“It’s a very small part, but if everybody does a very small part, turns into a big part.”