There’s a wide selection of bicycles—more than 2,000, in all colors and makes—available at a location on West Broadway. And although most are in various states of disrepair, missing a wheel or handle bars, maybe both, Bob Giordano sees nothing but potential.
That’s why he’s trying to find a new home for the piles of donated bikes that Free Cycles Missoula has stashed on city property, and which must be moved to accommodate upcoming construction.
“It started out as orderly rows not too long ago and now it’s a mountain,” says Giordano, gazing at the seven long rows of bikes stacked as high as six feet under an overhang.
Giordano, who founded Free Cycles a decade ago to provide free help, parts and bikes to Missoulians, says the group has been unable to keep up with growing demand. About 6,000 donated bikes have been transformed into 3,000 working bikes and sent back into the community; another 1,000 have been recycled or turned into art projects and bike trailers; and 2,000 remain in storage, waiting for new owners or Free Cycles volunteers to whip them into shape.
The Free Cycles shop, at 732 S. First St. W., will re-open Sept. 5 after a month-long closure for remodeling and reorganization, but that space can hold only about 500 bikes. By then, Giordano hopes to have found a place—or many places—where the bike stockpile can be stored, and he says people with room or ideas should give him a call at 880-6834. Alternately, just in time for the autumn harvest, he’s planning a September bike salvage called “Parts for the People” where bike-hungry reapers can collect useful bits.
“The way that hunters like to use every part of a deer, we like to use every part of a bike,” Giordano says. “With this type of stash, you don’t get caught without a certain part—it’s all here.”