The bicycle collective Bici Centro offers inexpensive parts, expertise, and a welcoming environment to people who don't know much about the two-wheeled transports.
Paul Wellman (file)

With the rainy season on its way out and the much longer, drier, sunnier season rolling in, more and more bicyclists are appearing on Santa Barbara’s streets. In anticipation of this, Bici Centro Community Bike Repair Shop and Education Center at 601 East Montecito Street — an organization dedicated to educating the community on bicycle safety, maintenance, and repair — recently announced the launch of its new interactive Web site,, which has a full calendar of bike education programs. In a recent press release, Bici Centro claims that there has been an overwhelming demand for the group’s bicycle education programs for all age ranges. According to a 2008 Census Bureau survey, 5 percent of Santa Barbara County residents commute to work by bike, up from 3 percent in 2000.

Christine Bourgeois, education coordinator for the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition and Bici Centro said, “It is an exciting time for our biking community. This spring, Bici Centro is teaching afterschool bike courses (for first through eighth graders) in five different schools.” The programs offered include the Junior Cyclers program for the youngest participants and the Super Cyclers program for the older kids. These courses are taught on school grounds at campuses such as Cold Spring School and Santa Barbara Junior High, and include a neighborhood walk-through that will identify safe routes for children to take. In addition, several adult courses are offered at the shop that, say representatives, can be helpful to a beginner cyclist all the way up to an experienced rider.

Bici Centro takes a different approach to bike repair than the conventional bike shop. A typical visit to the shop with a flat tire will lead to a quick and approachable crash course on flat repair by one of the friendly and knowledgeable staff members. The patrons of Bici Centro pay for the materials used in the repair, but gain valuable knowledge at no extra cost.


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