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SOS Velo

Okay, we all know bikes are awesome:
They're eco-friendly, they hardly ever go out of style, they give you buns of steel... I mean, what's not to like, hey?
But for anyone who's attempted to navigate the bike BUYING side of things... well, it's complicated. And it can get quite expensive.
So here's my two cents: Give a used bike a second chance.
And if you do this at SOS Velo, you'd be giving a person a second chance as well.
Watch the video here


You see, SOS Velo works in conjunction with Emploi Quebec. All the young people you saw in my piece are high school dropouts or folks who have trouble finding and keeping jobs. SOS Velo gives them vital training, flexible work schedules and pay. And they make some pretty special bikes!

Guy LaRocque, the General Manager of SOS Velo used to work at Bombardier, and he's brought a lot of the organizational skills he learned there to his work here.
Which is why so little gets wasted.
Even for a bike that's so decrepit that it really can't be transformed into an Ecovelo, there's hope!

Some bikes are melted down for steel. But little bits live on as clocks, candlesticks, tables, wall hangings, little giraffe door stoppers and keyfobs (really, can you think of a more appropriate ring for your bike key?). And pricing on these items is pretty reasonable.
Clocks tend to cost $25- $30; key rings: $3-5 and so on. Each piece is one of a kind and I'm must admit that my jaw hit the floor when confronted by all the creative ways you can use bike bits.

SOS Velo also makes brand new bikes
... As in bikes that are assembled from brand new pieces. This is to keep workers up to date with the latest technology in bike building (after all, a large focus for the company is training and social integration). Those bikes tend to cost about $300+

Not looking for a bike? You can still help!

Gather up your courage and haul out that rust-eaten bicycle that's been cowering in your garage. Don't have the time to take it over? Call SOS Velo at (514) 251-8803 and they'll come over and take it off your hands! Save your bike!

If you're looking to buy, here's some advice:
1. Call ahead (SOS Velo is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and has long working hours on Thursdays and Fridays). When you call, ask how many bikes are up for sale. It's kinda like a thrift store--sometimes the place is brimming with treasures, others it's got one $15 tricycle and that's all. So call.
2. Take your bike for a spin: Especially if you're buying one of the "tel quel" used ones. They're NOT tuned up. So it's really in your best interests to check that everything is working properly before you go freewheeling down any hills. I learned this lesson the hard way (but I was wearing a helmet! Phew!) This is ONLY for used bikes--not the ECOVELOS, which run just fine.

So now, it's time for me to ask YOU:
What do you consider when you're buying a bike? And would you buy an Ecovelo?
Leave me a comment via my blog, drop me an email at geeta.nadkarni@cbc.ca (send pics of your two-wheeled friend) or call our talkback line: (514) 597-5626

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