I'm pleased to inform you that, in fact, Knoxville does have a bike co-op of sorts in the works. ["Trends and Knoxville" cover story by Jack Neely, March 12, 2009] The Knoxville Bike Collective is a group of young people (though membership is not limited to such youth) that is working on acquiring bicycles that can be repaired and redistributed to folks who want to use bikes as their preferred mode of transportation.
We're still in the process of getting organized, but we do hold meetings twice a month, and also schedule group rides and host workshops on various kinds of bike maintenance and repair. We have a dream of eventually opening a public space to serve as a free and/or sliding scale payments bike co-op that will be fully staffed and supplied with the tools and parts people need to work on their own bikes. We hope to target folks who might not have the means to pay the money required for a new bike or repairs at a regular local bike shop.
This isn't a dig at any of our excellent local shops, we simply recognize a need that we could try to fill. Right now our greatest challenge is simply finding an appropriate space to meet our needs. If anyone can help us out, we'd love to hear from them. Look up the Knoxville Bike Collective on myspace, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kerry Brown, Knoxville