Eames’ concerns were allayed.
“We came to an agreement,”
Eames said. “What he would
be was a grant-based, donor
organization. To his credit, he’s
stuck by the agreement and
“We’ve been great neighbors,”
“Our core mission is really
simple,” Manganiello said.
“Empower low-income people
and put them on the road
Just inside the entrance to Bike Recycle Vermont, a chalkboard above the front counter spells out the terms
of service: “You must qualify for
assistance … in order to get products
or services from Bike Recycle
Vermont.” The board lists nine
examples, among them food stamps,
Section 8, recently incarcerated.
John Mahatcek, who came bike
shopping one recent afternoon, fell
in the latter category.
He said that he’d been released
23 days before, that he’d landed
a job in Williston — a bus ride
away — and that he needed a bike
to get to the bus depot from where
he was living, 3. 2 miles north. He’d
been jogging to the bus stop each
workday, but now a bike would
make his commute a lot easier.
From the scores of bikes
arrayed in the “showroom” that
adjoins the workshop, he chose a
Gary Fisher mountain bike. With
a lock, the bill came to $68.48.
Dil Gurung, a Bhutanese
refugee, appeared at the front
counter with his wife and 7-year-
old daughter, Deeya, and was
greeted by Dan Hock, Bike
Recycle’s affable general manager
and only paid employee. Gurung’s
English was limited, but he
was able to convey his family’s
“No car, no bike,” he said.
Now he wanted a bike for Deeya
and another for his 2-year-old son,
both with training wheels. Deeya
didn’t know how to ride, he said.
Hock spent about 45 minutes
with them, having Deeya sit on
assorted models, and they finally
walked out with two kids’ bikes
and helmets for $32.50.
Bike Recycle Vermont
abandoned the giveaway policy
after its first couple of years and
began charging modest fees for
sales and service, according to
“Without a literal buy-in from
customers,” he said, “the bikes were
not cared for and often not locked.”
Bikes now sell for $15 to $150,
considerably less than those across
the street. Donations, constantly
coming in from people cleaning out
their garages, are either fixed up in
the shop or stripped for serviceable
parts. High-end, high-value
donations are typically shipped across
the street for sale at Old Spokes.
“Their inventory is ours,
and ours is theirs,” said Harris
Bucklin, who succeeded Eames as
general manager of Old Spokes.
He said he was excited about the
prospects for collaboration with
Bike Recycle — including repair
workshops that could be taught
over the winter by Old Spokes’
seasonally idle bike mechanics.
Skills training — for
neighborhood kids, customers,
volunteers — is a key part of what
Burlington Bicycle Project calls its
social mission. The keystone is Bicycle
Mechanics 101, a seven-session course
that covers bike anatomy in detail,
from bearings to derailleurs.