Welcome to the AMS Bike Co-op’s Blog!


It’s the Bike Co-op’s 20th Birthday

It’s the Bike Co-op’s 20th birthday this year! The Bike Co-op was established in 1998 and began as a small student run organization with a big idea: to build an accessible volunteer-run bike share for UBC students. A lot of organization was put into finding, refurbishing, and painting bikes in our signature purple and yellow hues. These clashing colours were chosen to deter people from stealing the bikes. In the first year over 100 Purple & Yellow bikes were built!

Twenty years later, our Purple & Yellow Bike Share and volunteer night still exists and has become a permanent fixture on campus. Since 2008 we’ve built 400 P&Y bikes, sporting names like “Greasy Rust Sprinkles,” “Too bad it’s raining,” “I’d ride that,” and “Will to live.”

A volunteer spiffying up some P&Ys.

Today the Bike Co-op now runs so many more programs, like Bici Libre and Women & Queer Night. The founders likely didn’t imagine that the Co-op would go on to start a Kids Bike Library or build a partnership with the City of Vancouver to keep bikes out of the landfill. Recently, however, we resurrected a few programs from the past like Spare Parts, a workshop series that teaches folks how to make art and functional objects out of recycled bike parts.

The Bike Kitchen opened in January of 1999 on a shoestring budget. The Co-op needed a space to build and fix P&Y’s, but the Kitchen quickly became so much more. Since 1999, the Bike Kitchen has served as the hub for not just UBC’s, but Vancouver’s DIY cycling community as well.

We dug into our archives to find a few gems from the past — including Waving Wednesdays flyers and a saucy recruitment poster from the late ’90s or early 2000s. Take a rip down nostalgia lane with us.

What do you think — should we ressurect Waving Wednesday?

Just in case you were wondering how to wave, the flyer includes this fabulous instruction: “A wave ‘counts’ when you move your hand back and forth at least three times.”

The Bike Hub was established in 1999 as a resource centre for students. It’s hard to tell from this photocopy but, yes, Jason is indeed sporting a cropped T-shirt.

The first iteration of Spare Parts began in 2002. We resurrected the program 2016 to lead up to our annual art show, Pedalling Art.

One thing obviously hasn’t changed: we still have an affinity for hand drawn media.

We’re not sure what year this art show took place, but our interests have stayed the same. Our annual fundraiser is now an art show called Pedalling Art.



Bike Building Party for Bici Libre

Calling all bike mechanics! Whether you are a pro or an amateur looking to get better, we need help building bikes for an awesome program – Bici Libre!

The Bike Building Party will take place on Saturday March 17th from 10am – 4pm at Kickstand (1739 Venables Street). This event takes place on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the ʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations.

There will be snacks, drinks, fun, and plenty of mechanical support for those who need guidance.

We’ll be hosting this event on a regular basis. Keep an eye out for future editions! You can RSVP to the Facebook event here.

About Bici Libre
Bici Libre is a project of the AMS Bicycle Co-op and Bike Kitchen. The initiative rebuilds used bikes for the use of migrant farm workers across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Farm workers that come from other countries via the Temporary Foreign Workers Program often live at the farms on which they work, far from town centres and with limited access to basic necessities.

Their time off is limited and with mobility restrictions, workers often face difficulties accessing services like banking, medical care and groceries. Our goal is to support workers during their stay and to ensure transportation is not a limitation in their life in Canada.


Annual General Party… er, Meeting

Annual General Meeting
March 6th, 2018
6:30pm – 9:00pm
The Michael Kingsmill Forum (aka Intergalactic Space Senate)
4th floor of The AMS Student Nest.

Mark your calendars, because on March 6th we’re hosting more of a party than an Annual General Meeting. There will be games, prizes, free pizza and free drinks. Come eat, drink and get to know the staff and board of the Bike Co-op and Bike Kitchen.

Get Involved
We want to get to know you, our membership and community, a little better. This event is all about you (and a little bit about us and all the neat things we’ve been up to). Give us feedback on our programs and events, make suggestions, or join our Board of Directors. This is your opportunity to have a say in the future of our programs and events.

RSVP on Facebook here.


Pedalling Art Recap

On November 10, 2017 we held Pedalling Art: 2nd Annual Bike Art Auction at Gam Gallery. Over 150 people attended and 65 art pieces were bid on.  Between the cover, the raffle tickets, drink sales and art sales, we raised $3,537.50 for Bici Libre and Pedals for the People.

We’re feeling all of the warm fuzzies because so many people came out to support two deserving programs and so many incredible local artists contributed to the event. This is only the second year we have run this event and we didn’t imagine it would become so successful so quickly — the gallery was bursting at the seams with so many art contributions and event-goers.

West Coast Bossa played a groovy jazz set, and DJ Brian Luneza, tea sea, and DJ Wizbo kept the tunes spinning till midnight. A dance party even emerged, much to our delight.

We are looking forward to making this event an annual tradition for many years to come. Next year, however, we’ll be sure to book a bigger space so y’all will have more elbow room to bust out your moves.

Thank you to all the businesses that contributed raffle prizes, including Dunbar Cycles, A-1 Cycle, Mighty Riders, and On the Rivet.

Thank you to all the artists, volunteers, musicians, DJs, and everyone who came and donated their hard-earned dollars to support access to transportation and local art. All of you made that $3,537.50 happen. Did we mention the warm fuzzies?


The Function of Space

If you’ve been receiving our newsletters or following us on Facebook for a while, you might be wondering: Why do we use so many space backgrounds?

An easy answer could be that images of celestial bodies and formations in outer space are awe-inspiring and aesthetically pleasing. Why not use beautiful pictures of nebulas, planets, stars as background images?

But the main reason is that the Hubble Telescope has an incredible online image archive and all of the images have relaxed copyright permissions. Their images can be downloaded and freely used — so long are you are not creating a product intended for sale with the images.

From the Hubble website:

“Material credited to STScI on this site was created, authored, and/or prepared for NASA under Contract NAS5-26555. Unless otherwise specifically stated, no claim to copyright is being asserted by STScI and it may be freely used as in the public domain in accordance with NASA’s contract.”

You can simply go to their website, select an image and download a high-quality copy — they even have different file sizes and formats available to easily download. Check it out for yourself here. You’ll see a hyperlink to their copyright notice below the download options.

The STSci (Space Telescope Science Institute) wants their image archive to be used, and we’re pretty sure they’d be smitten with the way that we’ve been modifying their images for our own use. They might even say that our media is out of this world.

Interstellar images are a hallmark our of visual style, and it’s been that way for years — long before any of our current employees worked at the AMS Bike Co-op. However, current staff have kept up the tradition.

Want to learn more? You can read more information about copyright laws in Canada here.



spare parts bike art workshop series

In anticipation of Pedalling Art: 2nd Annual Fundraiser + Bike Art Auction, we are hosting a crafting workshop series at Our Community Bikes.

Join us for some or all of the > spare pARTs < crafting workshops, taking place on Monday nights from October 23rd – November 6th! In these workshops you will learn how to turn used bicycle parts no longer fit to ride into beautiful functional and funky objects and art pieces! This year we are offering workshops on how to make:

  1. bike tube earrings and collars
  2. top tube sweaters
  3. brake lever coat racks.

Each workshop will include a demo by the instructor and individual instruction as needed. Workshops are all 3 hours long. Materials and tools will be provided.

This workshop series is a collaboration between the AMS Bike Co-op and Bike Kitchen, and Our Community Bikes.

You may have time to make multiples of your craft, and we encourage and accept donations of work for our upcoming fundraiser, Pedalling Art: 2nd Annual Fundraiser + Bike Art Auction on November 10th @ Gam Gallery.

This event takes place on the traditional unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil Waututh peoples.


Each workshop costs $10-30+ sliding scale. Feel free to donate more if you can. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Kids can come for free (with accompanying adult).


There is a limit of 10 participants per class so please register in advance to reserve your space! If you want to pay online, you can choose from three different sliding scale options ($10, $20, $30). Or, in the ‘payment methods’ section, you can choose to pay in person and pay exactly what you want for the class in cash.


October 23rd, 6:30pm – 9:30pm: Bike tube jewellery (earrings and collars) with Cyn.
Register here.

October 30th, 6:30pm – 9:30pm – Top tube sweaters with Leanne.
Register here.

November 6th, 6:30pm – 9:30pm – Brake lever coat racks with Sunny.
Register here.

RSVP on on Facebook here.

RSVP to Pedalling Art here.

Who will benefit?

All proceeds will go directly to Bici Libre and Pedals for the People. Extra art pieces that are made and donated will be featured in Pedalling Art: 2nd Annual Fundraiser + Bike Art Auction.

You can read more about these programs here.


There is a gender neutral washroom at Our Community Bikes.

Our Community Bikes is not a scent reduced space.

Our Community Bikes is wheelchair accessible. The entrance has two 28″ outward swinging doors that outwards to create a 55″ entrance. The entrance is level. There is a 35″ corridor inside. The door to the washroom is 31″ wide with an inward swing and there are grab bars installed in the washroom. The hallway and washroom will be cleared of any items being stored in these areas prior to the events so that there is a clear path to the washroom and room to turn around inside.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to e-mail[at]



Editors note: Thank you to Ruby Ewens, an AMS Bike Co-op volunteers, for writing this stunning piece for our blog.

August 5 – 7, 2017.

BC long weekend: the sky closed with bushfire haze, sticky and wet.

As the AMS Bike Co-op and Bike Kitchen crew headed north on their staff camping trip, I headed south — all of us bee-lining for the archipelago of the Salish Sea, the Gulf Islands.

My sturdy Gitane was saddled up. I had a chest full of cheer and a vague island-hopping plan: Galiano, Saturna, Pender and Mayne. Ambitious or a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock, as they might say.

The fickle and complex schedule of BC ferries is worth the trouble to get to the sub-Mediterranean landscape of coastal solitude. The islands are small so in peak season cars and bikes share the same narrow road space. Cars and hills are also numerous, throwing you to your feet if you’re pulling any decent pannier weight.

Pender Island

The Penders are a humble mix of residential and rolling farmland. It’s a rewarding cycle — the 1955 single-lane bridge belts North and South, taking you on a shore-hugging ride where laneways beckon you to private inlets stretching along crystalline waters.

Galiano is less generous with its views, only letting you peek out from the canopied Porlier Pass when you get to the crescendo of Lover’s Leap. Cyclists of all kinds whip by, including carbon-framed comrades making the steep inclines look easy. But they aren’t easy. In the unrelenting ache of tackling Galiano’s hills I thought I was hallucinating when a yellow school bus overtook me, leaping towards Spanish Hills. Singing and drumming blasted from its windows, the driver throwing me an encouraging thumbs up. I found out that the bus is a courtesy transfer from Sturdies Bay across the island and the driver has a strict statute commanding all passengers to pick up instruments in the back and sing along on the ride.

Lover’s Leap

Island living, island hospitality: from introductory warm beers with a local at a sailboat regatta on Pender, to first-aid on Galiano from a family of valiant sea-kayakers when I burnt myself badly on my camp stove. Raccoons screeching and doe-eyed in the dark, lazy bumble bees brushing roadside blackberry vines, warm winds off the turquoise waters, the sluggish amble of boats up the Trincomali Channel. The mottled light through arbutus limbs, the slow labour of breath, the crackling understory.

During my last day on Galiano, swathed in gauze, I woke to a dusty blue dawn in Montague Bay. I had conceded that like many adventures, this one had not exactly gone to plan. I was resistant but needed to pull up stumps and call it quits, as my burns required of me. My body was humming like a tuning fork from the riding. Cooling off in the water that sucked at my toes on the shell beach, I sensed a change in the breeze. Against the clattering boats in the harbour, still shrouded in bushfire smoke, a bright angry sun began to rise.


Kids Bike Library Wrap Up Party Recap

Editors note: Thank you to our amazing volunteer, Ruby Ewens, for writing this piece for our blog

August 16, 2017.

It seemed fitting as I arrived that the day was slowing down, the sun ready to set on the first successful season of the Kid’s Bike Library. I had missed rush hour, where families had come to play and tinker earlier in the afternoon, but I was lucky enough to stand amongst the streamers and stickers, raffle tickets and tools to witness a magical moment: children wandering up to the smorgasbord of colourful rims, that cautious awe and delight, beaming faces buried in the crook of a parent’s leg.

They inched forward for the sticky cones of Earnest Ice cream and then became discerning — pouring over the merchandise, knowing exactly what they wanted.

“No, not that one.”

“No kick stand on this one.”

“Ohhhhh, this one, mum…”

A father proudly recalled how his daughter had attended The Bike Kitchen a cycling novice and was like a duck to water: as soon as her fingers wrapped around the handlebars she was hurling herself down speed ramps and honoured by staff and volunteers as our most intrepid community member.

Since May, the KBL has put many small bottoms on saddles, demonstrated by the letter written by Ace’s mum, pictured below (try not to melt when you read it, I dare you).

It takes me back to my first wobbly experience, as far from being an intrepid little girl as I could get, pushed heartily by my father who seeing me nervous, was comically buoyant. Needless to say, both his confidence and my front tire deflated as I face-planted a fence. But like all the nervous first-timers I saw at the party, now you can’t pry a frame from my mittens.

So there might not be another KBL summer party in 2017, but there will be more KBL in the fall: for further information click here.


Kids Bike Library Wrap Up Party

In May of this year, we launched the Kids Bike Library (KBL) with the goal of being able to help provide parents and kids with access to kids bikes and help keep used kids bikes out of the waste stream. We are pumped at how well received this program is and that its first season went really well. So let’s party about it, okay?

Come celebrate at the KBL Summer Wrap Up party on August 16th from 3pm – 7pm at The Bike Kitchen. At the kid-centred event there will be games, prizes, free kids bike tune-ups, and a raffle. We are raffling off a brand new 24” inch junior mountain bike! Free kids bike tune-ups take place from 5pm – 7pm.

The Kids Bike Library is also wrapping up its weekly hours and moving into less frequent fall hours. The KBL will be open from 3pm – 7pm on September 20th and October 18th this fall.


We’ve Partnered With the CoV to keep bikes out of the Landfill

The AMS Bike Co-op is proud to announce that we have partnered with the City of Vancouver to keep bikes out of the waste stream.

How it Works
When people dispose of bikes they often end up at the Vancouver Transfer Station, the CoV’s waste disposal and recycling station. These bikes used to end up in the landfill. Now there is a bike corral at the transfer station where workers put aside discarded bikes. When there is a large enough pile of bikes, they call us and we collect them.

Each bike we pick up is assessed. Some of the bikes are rebuilt and reused for programs like Pedals for the People, Bici Libre, the Purple & Yellow Campus Bike Share, and the Kids Bike Library. Other bikes are disassembled so that we can recycle broken parts and save any usable parts. Parts in good condition are used on bike builds or are sold for affordable prices to patrons at The Bike Kitchen and Our Community Bikes.