New Home for Bike Windsor Essex – DIY Community Bike Shop
Thanks to a generous proposal from Windsor businessman and city builder Mark Boscariol, Bike Windsor Essex’s do-it-yourself Community Bike Shop, the ‘Bike Kitchen,’ will have a new home in the downtown core.
Boscariol is moving his Snack BBQ restaurant to Ouellette Avenue next to Downtown Pizza company where both restaurants can work together offering customers more — the old Chatham Street location will become Bike Windsor Essex’s new home. The space backs onto the University of Windsor’s School of Creative Arts and is adjacent to the university’s renovations at the old city bus depot, opening up exciting opportunities for cycling safety clinics and basic bike mechanic classes tailored to students.
Being forced to move in the middle of cycling season, and only halfway through its current lease with the City of Windsor, has been a challenge for the organization, but Bike Windsor Essex is looking forward positively. “Staying downtown was a priority for us,” explains Executive Director Lori Newton, “as it is the city’s busiest area for cycling and where visitors to the city are looking for information on exploring the city and bikes to rent.” Newton says the organization followed up every lead for a new space but found downtown spaces were well beyond their budget.
Boscariol reached out with the offer of Snack BBQ, with significantly lower rent than other downtown spaces, including an offer to assist in helping turn the restaurant into a vibrant bicycle-focused community space. “Mark is as passionate as we are about building a strong, resilient community that offers residents and visitors some of the amenities available in other cities — like a community space that welcomes people to learn skills, make friends and to participate in building a community we can be proud of,” says Newton.
Bike Windsor Essex volunteers are organizing a ‘bucket brigade’ to move to its new digs on August 11. To help with the unexpected expenses, the organization is running a Membership Drive to encourage people to join or renew for a chance to win a $200+ prize package. They’re also asking the public for donations of clear tote bins, milk crates and large screw in bike storage hooks.