Community bike shop impact studies?
January 7, 2013 12:06 PM   Subscribe

Are there any studies on community bike shop impact studies on adult personal & economic self-sufficiency?

Saw this question unanswered on a community bike shop listserve and was curious.
posted by aniola to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This is a question I'd love to see answer to! I'd start with a transportation librarian, are you at a college? Ask a college librarian, they can guide you to one I bet.
posted by Blake at 12:20 PM on January 7, 2013

As a transportation librarian... (thanks for the set up Blake!)

There have been studies about the impact on building and improving bicycle infrastructure, but I haven't really seen any studies focusing solely on community bike shops. That's pretty specific.
posted by kendrak at 12:27 PM on January 7, 2013

If you're talking about bicycle shops providing low income people bicycles for transportation to make them more self-sufficient, I think most bike shops have no effect. The bicycles used by the people you are interested in generally come from Wal-Mart or other big-box retail outlets. The cheapest bicycle at most bicycle shops is in the $300-500 range; Wal-Mart sells bikes that are of lower quality and performance for about $100. People who have to depend on a bicycle for transportation generally have trouble coming up with the $500 to buy a bike at a bike shop, but can scrounge up $100 to buy one at Wal-Mart.
posted by Doohickie at 1:45 PM on January 7, 2013

I can't answer your question specifically, but speaking as a city planner with interest in this area, I would look less at the transportation literature per se and more in the community/economic development literature.
posted by threeants at 1:53 PM on January 7, 2013

Doohickie- I think the point of community bike shops is to address that problem, of good bikes being too expensive. They often have classes where you can learn to maintain a bike by putting together your own decent used bike out of older parts. Examples of community bike shops include the bike kitchen in San Francisco and StreetLevel Cycles in Berkeley, CA. Many mid-sized to large cities have at least one of these shops, typically located in lower-income areas of town.

I'm going to put on my reference librarian hat (not transportation librarian though I am a transit nerd...) and try to get a better answer to the actual question, though I doubt the number of real studies is very high.
posted by rockindata at 4:25 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I anecdotally agree with rockindata. Joe Haskins bike shop in tampa heights sells new bikes that start a $300, but he also refurbs and sells used bikes, frequently very good bikes for very cheap. For that reason, his rough neighborhood location is always packed with a mix of suburbanites, local guys with city jobs and laborers rockin everything from rebuilt crap to old posh bikes that someone traded in for cheap.
posted by toodleydoodley at 4:46 PM on January 7, 2013

Here is a pretty great report on what the Community Cycling Center has done, and is planning on doing into the future. No hard numbers on impact though.
posted by rockindata at 7:41 PM on January 7, 2013

Google scholar brought up this:
posted by oceano at 8:38 PM on January 7, 2013

oceano- as temping as that title is, it is a linguistics master's thesis, so there probably isn't too much there (though the intro might have some decent sources).
posted by rockindata at 9:14 PM on January 7, 2013

My current job doesn't have the right science direct bundle for this one, but it might be useful
posted by rockindata at 9:16 PM on January 7, 2013

Look at Chapter 8 here, Ciclo Urbano is mentioned on p. 185, 194, and 373. It's just descriptive, though--not really the type of study you're most interested in.

I'm pretty sure I have heard a presentation with some of the data you're interested in. It wasn't like an academic research project per se but more of a presentation at a conference that gathered some interesting data on the impact of a particular community bike shop. It might have been Bici Libre or Ciclo Urbano. I'm surprised no one on the community bike shop list serve would know about that, though, so perhaps I am mis-remembering a bit. There was this conference meeting, though I'm pretty sure I was thinking of a different presentation at a different conference.
posted by flug at 11:29 PM on January 9, 2013

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