Archive for September, 2014

The True, Untold Story of the Purple and Yellow Bikes

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

One of the most frequent questions we get at the Bike Co-op and Bike Kitchen is about a quirky little program we have.  You may have either at some point seen these bikes on campus, or come out to a Tuesday Volunteer Night to help us work on them.  The infamous Purple and Yellow bike share fleet.

If the question isn’t already plaguing your mind, you might be able to guess what it is…. Why purple and yellow?

Today, we reveal the secret of this UBC legend.  The true, untold story of the Purple and Yellow Bikes.

First, some historical context.  The Bike Co-op was started in 1998 by a group of UBC students who wanted to encourage more students to cycle to, from and on campus.  Having heard of successful campus bike share systems at other universities, they wanted to see if they could start up a similar system at UBC.  They set up shop in a portable in the SUB loading bay and started building up donated bikes to become part of this fleet.  Communal bike share fleets are often painted or styled in the same way to make them easily identifiable to users.  The puzzle, though, is how purple and yellow came to be the artistic design of choice.  Here are the main theories we have heard:

1) Because the program started on a small budget, it relied on donations of paint.  Therefore, the paint stores only gave us their least popular colours – purple and yellow.

2) There was concern that a small fleet of bicycles spread throughout campus would attract thieves, so they wanted the bikes to look as ugly as possible.  Hence, the colour clash calamity we now have.

3) It was an homage to a campus bike share fleet with yellow bikes.  However, we wanted to top them by adding in another colour.

4) A faculty member who supported the program from the beginning had just painted their office purple and yellow, so the colour choice was a nod to them.

There you have it! The true, untold story of the purple and yellow bike fleet. Join us on Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and help keep the colours flying!

[Ed Note: Thanks to Ted Buehler, a member of the Bike Co-op in the 90s who is now a cycling advocate in Portland, Oregon, for providing the historical context that went into this post!]



Women and Queer Night – October 1

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Women and Queer night is coming up this Wednesday, October 1, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Bike Kitchen!

This monthly workshop is a positive space provided for anyone who’s female and/or LGBTQ-identified. It’s also free of charge and registration is not needed (that means just bring your bike and drop in)! Snacks and refreshments will be provided, care of the AMS Bike Co-op, and there will be Bike Kitchen mechanics and Bike Co-op volunteers on hand to walk you through giving your bike some TLC.

  • Where: The Bike Kitchen
  • When: Wednesday, October 1, from 6-9 pm

Click here for the Facebook event.

Click here to learn more about the program.



Clubs Days!

Monday, September 15th, 2014

From Wednesday to Thursday this week, the AMS Bike Co-op will join 249 of UBC’s other clubs at the Student Union Building for Clubs Days. Come say hi to learn more about the AMS Bike Co-op, including how to volunteer, how to become a member, and how to make bikes a part of your university experience. We’ll also have Vancouver bike maps on-hand.

  • Where: The Party Room, UBC Student Union Building
  • Dates: Wednesday, September 17 – Thursdsay, September 18
  • Times: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Click here for our calendar listing.



Women and Queer Night – September 10

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Coming up this Wednesday, September 10 from 6-9 pm is our monthly Women and Queer Night at the Bike Kitchen!

This monthly workshop is a positive space provided for anyone who’s female and/or LGBTQ-identified. It’s also free of charge and registration is not needed (that means just bring your bike and drop in)! A light dinner (yum!) will also be provided, courtesy of the AMS Bike Co-op.

  • Where: The Bike Kitchen
  • When: Wednesday, September 10 from 6-9 pm

Click here for the facebook event.

Click here to learn more about the program.



Intro to Mechanics Registration Open!

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Want to learn how to maintain your bike?  Take our 4 part workshop series, Intro to Mechanics!  These interactive sessions will walk you through the basics of bike maintenance and provide an overview of the bicycle system and how all the parts work together.

Registration is now open for October and November.  See to learn more and register online!



Cycling at UBC is just plain fun

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014


As our whole campus community returns after a summer of blue skies and sunny days, the AMS Bike Co-op wants to make sure that everyone remembers the joy and convenience of riding a bike.

“We wanted to do something that would remind people that cycling on campus can be quirky, fun, and most of all is something that everyone can participate in,” says Christine Park, Programs Manager at the AMS Bike Co-op.

“Of course we still have all of our regular services and outreach, but this September we really wanted to take the opportunity to show the wide variety of people who ride bicycles,” continues Park.

To kick off the new school year the Bike Co-op prepared a series of photographs that have been widely distributed over the web and through digital signage across campus.

In addition to photos from current students, recent graduates, and university professors, photos were also taken with:

  • Arvind Gupta, UBC President and Vice-Chancellor
  • Tanner Bokor, AMS President
  • Thunder, the UBC Thunderbird Mascot

“Riding a bike may be great for the environment and your personal health, but we also wanted to remind returning students and faculty, that riding a bike is just plain fun,” explains Park.

You can see more photos from the Cycling at UBC campaign by visiting

The AMS Bike Co-op at UBC. We engage in education, outreach, and advocacy to promote biking as a safe and sustainable means of transportation.



Why do you ride to UBC?

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

UBC — I Bike Here

Why do you bike to UBC?

In partnership with Campus and Community Planning we prepared these videos to celebrate all that is cycling on campus! Take a look!

Have more questions about cycling at UBC? We’ve prepared a quick reference page that will benefit both new and returning students as well as staff!



Welcome (Back) UBC!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

For those of you who are new and just beginning your adventure at UBC welcome and good luck! For those of you who are returning welcome back!

We are the hub of cycling culture on campus, and we look forward to helping you find a bike and keeping it rolling throughout the school year.

Have any questions? Below we’ve tried to provide information that we think might be useful no matter whether you are a new or returning student. Have a read through, and if you have any further questions, be sure to contact us.

Getting a Bike

Buying a Used Bike

  • You can purchase a fully refurbished and guaranteed used bike from the Bike Kitchen. We build up old abandoned and donated bicycles so they have a new lease on life!
  • We build bikes as fast as we can, but sometimes the demand exceeds the supply (especially in September). If we don’t have a bike for you, check back regularly because we are always building
  • All our bikes range in price from $100-$500
  • Buy-Back Policy: we will buy back any bike that you bought from us for over $100 for half the price you paid minus half the cost of repairs
  • Our Warranty: any bike that you buy from us for over $100 comes with a 1 month warranty. Anything wrong with the bike’s construction? Bring it back and we fix it for free
  • We do not buy bikes, do trades, or sell new bikes

Purple and Yellow Community Bikes

  • You can ride our free community “Purple and Yellow” bikes
  • These bikes are locked all over campus and maintained by you!
  • To gain access to the program you just need a membership ($15 or 6 volunteer hours) and an additional 6 volunteer hours on Tuesday Nights 6-9pm then you will be given a key and you can ride these bikes for free

Bike Rentals

  • Not ideal for long term use but bike rentals might be for you if you need a bike for a longer trip or have a friend in town for the weekend
  • Rentals are $25 for 24hrs, $65 for 3 days, $120 for a week
  • A lock and helmet is provided with each bike

Locking Your Bike


  • It’s important to keep your bike locked up at all times. The most secure kind of lock is a u-lock placed around the front wheel and frame of your bicycle.
  • If you don’t have a u-lock you can buy one from the Bike Kitchen. We only sell locks that we feel are strong enough to protect your bike on campus so we do not sell cheap cable locks

Bike Cages

  • Want something a little bit more secure? Register for a UBC Bike Cage for free.
  • To gain access you can apply online, all you need is a valid UBC email address.

Bike Lockers

  • The most secure option is a private locker. Lockers are located all around campus and can be rented for $10 a month.
  • To register you can apply online.


Volunteer Night

  • Learn how to fix bikes by helping to maintain the campus community bike fleet.
  • Volunteer nights are Tuesdays, 6pm to 9pm drop-in anytime

Intro to Mechanics Workshops

Learn in the Bike Kitchen

  • You can also use our tools to fix your own bike with the guidance of an expert mechanic.
  • You can use the space for $7.50/hr and we will teach you how to fix your bike for $15/hr.
  • If you don’t have time you can also drop off your bike for us to fix, and we usually get it back to you on the same day

Women and Queer Night

  • The first Wednesday of every month join us in the Bike Kitchen from 6-9pm
  • A safe space for anyone who identifies as female and/or LGBTQ
  • Learn about bike mechanics, ask questions and get to know other bike-friendly folks!

BC Laws

BC has a few laws that you might want to know about.

  • At night use a front white light and a rear red light and reflector
  • Have a bell on your bike when in the city of Vancouver
  • Avoid riding on the sidewalk when in the city of Vancouver
  • BC law requires helmets to be worn at all times when riding a bike. Helmets that have been worn during a crash may be compromised and should be discarded.


No bike experience is necessary to volunteer with us!

Volunteer Night

  • Our biggest and best! Drop in Tuesday nights between 6 and 9pm to help maintain the community bike fleet and strip old bikes for recycling
  • Pizza dinner is provided every night for all volunteers

Other Volunteer Opportunities

  • If Tuesdays don’t work for you, we are always looking for volunteers who can help us in other ways
  • Simply complete this short application form and we will get back to you with more details

Just Come Hang Out

No matter what interests you please feel comfortable just stopping by and saying hello! We host other events including BBQs, parties, and group rides throughout the year. Visit our Facebook Page to keep up to date. You’re welcome to join us anytime – we are a friendly bunch of bike fanatics and are always looking for more friends to join our community!

Best of luck with the upcoming academic year and we hope to see many of you in our space and at our events in the near future!