With beer, a band and bicycle races, the Ogden Bicycle Collective’s Winter Bike Benefit was not your average mom-and-pop fundraiser. Held on Feb. 20, the benefit started with Fat Bike demos at Mt. Ogden Golf Course and finished out the night at the Collective with a live band, Goldsprints and a silent auction.
The festivities brought in a steady flow of people from the bicycle community throughout the night.
The Ogden Bicycle Collective, which opened in its current location in 2015, is a non-profit organization that seeks to connect people with bikes. Proceeds from the benefit will go toward this effort.
Director Clint Watson said, “For a lot of people, a bicycle means the difference between being able to keep a job or not, and that’s who we are here to serve.”
In addition to providing a means of transportation for adults, the Ogden Bike Collective donates bicycles to kids in the community.
As board member Kevin Dwyer said, “We get to introduce kids to cycling, many of them at what I think is a critical age, like 12 or 11. It’s an age when you’re really discovering what you like to do in the world, when you’re starting to explore the world beyond your family and your close friends. You’re starting to develop your own personality and interests. Your interests are very pure, and if we can introduce kids to bikes at that age, then there’s a good chance that we can make them lifelong cyclists.”
More than being a hobby, however, Dwyer said, “Cycling gives you a sense of mobility, which is important. It allows you to explore your community, get to understand the places around you. I think it gives you a sense of empowerment and freedom.”
Members of the community have taken notice of the work being done at the Collective and have jumped in to help. This was reflected in the volunteers at the benefit.
Tim Magaw, who lives just up the street from the Ogden Bike Collective, was helping with admissions when he said, “I just decided it’s a good cause, so I wanted to get involved with it. In October, they gave away 70 bikes to a group of kids at a school. It’s just awesome to be able to give the kids bikes.”
Watson noted that while the bikes may not be fancy, they are reliable. The Ogden Bicycle Collective also teaches recipients the ins and outs of bicycle ownership.
“We provide the bike. Then we’ll also provide them with the training to make sure they can ride it because a bike’s only as good as its first flat tire. We teach people how to change their own flat tires or maintain their bikes. The idea is that hopefully they’ll keep riding it because they won’t be intimidated by it,” Watson said.
“While we’re a non-profit and we’re a charitable shop, we’re also a resource for everyone in the community. We’re just like a bike shop, except we teach you how to work on your bike.”
In a city with a blooming bicyclist population, the Ogden Bicycle Collective is right at home.