Williamsport Bicycle Recycle
Bicycle Recycle is a program of Factory Works, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization housed at the Pajama Factory.
Our Story –
David and Louisa Stone
Williamsport Bicycle Recycle started with a bike ride. On our travels, we like to hop on their bikes and see things “up close and personal.” After enjoying group rides in many different places, we decided to start one in Williamsport.
We were active in community organizations and as a fundraiser for the Williamsport YMCA, organized the Tour de Bill, a 15-mile discovery ride from one end of town to then other.
Together with Chad Eberhart and the Y staff, for the first ride in 2008 we produced a 10-page booklet of the route, specially designed shirt, and rest stops with food.
The event was successful and continued with various changes for another five years. The participants liked getting out and getting a slower view of the whole town. They also wanted to do more biking. Many had gotten rid of their bikes and wanted a cheap but serviceable bike to get back into riding.
On our travels, we had visited many community bike shops and seen the benefits of the activities they offered: recycling, low-cost cooperative bike repair, art from old parts, help for people in need. One night, we were sitting around talking about a shop we had visited in Harrisburg. Couldn’t this work here?
This was the beginning of Williamsport Bike Recycle. In 2012, the Y gave us space and insurance. We began to collect bikes and equipment. We sold a few bikes, gave some away, and gathered people who helped us fix donated bikes that otherwise would have gone to the landfill.
When the Y was going to move the new building, we began to look for other locations. We finally settled on the Pajama Factory. The new owner was just beginning to renovate the s pace and an arts non-profit, Factory Works, was already located there. Though our operation was a stretch to fit in their mission, they welcomed us.
The Factory’s location was a good fit for us, located near the Lycoming Creek Bike Path and in the center of a community of potential bike customers. They first gave us an ideal space in the oldest section of the building on the Memorial Avenue side. But the roof problems were overwhelming.
Fortunately, another space in the complex on the Rose St. side, was available. On a spring day in April 2013, we hauled our bikes, parts, tools, and shelving to the new space. With the help of Way Cool Beans customers and friends, we formed a parade of bikes moving through the courtyard. One of the people who helped us move volunteered to become our mechanic. Another became teacher of bike repair classes.
Our new location worked well, and we started doing more to recycle bikes and reach out to support the community in Williamsport. Our volunteers refurbish donated bikes so we can sell many of them for $40 to $100. Our first Christmas, we had a kids $10 bike sale for the surrounding community. Our earn-a bike program provides a bike in exchange for service to us.
We collaborated with STEP to sponsor a Bike Rodeo and provided several kids events for the City Recreation and non-profit groups. Working with the YMCA and the Stevens School, we routinely give away bikes to families in need.
Five years later we had an opportunity to move to a larger more visible space adjacent to the Rose Street parking lot with five large windows. With the help of our volunteers and Penn College students, we were able to renovate the space and move over in December 2018. In April 2020 we moved our business outside one evening a week to comply with the COVID-19 requirements. Our business has grown in the new space, and when our new entrance is complete, we will have more visibility and access.