Fundraising drive to help bike collective build community

Idris Raoufi says hopes these buildings at 30th and Cherry will become an expanded location for the 816 Bicycle Collective, as well as other nonprofits and community groups. The collective is launching a fundraising campaign tomorrow and hopes to bring in enough funds to finish rehabbing the buildings.

Building bikes helps build community.

That’s the underlying philosophy of the 816 Bicycle Collective, a five-year-old Midtown nonprofit that’s starting a fundraising campaign tomorrow.

The collective has been operating out of a small space at 3116 Forest for five years, but hopes to raise $82,816 to renovate three buildings it owns at 3081 Cherry.

With the move, the group hopes to expand its services and become more sustainable by leasing space to like-minded nonprofits and other organizations.

Idris Raoufi, one of the members of the 816 Bicycle Collective, says the founders started talking in 2007 about the need for a free community bike shop.

He worked at a regular bike store repairing bikes for people, but he and other people with such skills saw a need in the community.

“We saw many older men who didn’t have jobs or money for the bus. They had trouble getting around to rehab centers and other places they needed to go. And people leaving prison needed to reintegrate into society,” he says.

So the collective set out to “rescue, repair and redistribute” bikes.

The 816 Bicycle Collective’s space is cramped during days when its open for bike repairs.

But more than that, to empower people in the process, using bicycles as reliable transportation but building community in the process.

“Working over a bike is a great way to talk,” Raoufi says.

So instead of fixing up bikes and giving them away to those who need them, the collaborative opens its doors on Thursdays and Saturdays, and lets people who need bikes come in, get education, and have access to tools to build and repair their own bikes.

A recent survey found that 63 percent of the people who take advantage of that assistance are well below the poverty line.

The collective also sells bikes to people of more substantial means.

Now the collective has undertaken a major fundraising drive.

“We’ve reached capacity,” Raoufi says. “Forty or 50 people show up on a summer day and we’re working out of very cramped rooms.”

The group is launching a fundraising campaign tomorrow on online civic fundraising site  Its goal is to raise $82,816 to begin the rehab of three buildings it owns 3081 Cherry. Once completed, the space will allow the collaborative to have a storefront and will offer space to like-minded businesses. There would also be meeting space for community groups.

“Our long-term goal is to be hub for collaborative efforts,” Raoufi says.

The fundraising gets its official launch tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Mattie Rhodes Center, 919 W. 17th St. For more information visit

Previous posts

Comments are closed.