Road Warriors

As of 3 p.m. December 1, Denver's favorite faction of pedal-powered radicals, the Derailer Bicycle Collective, will be back on a roll at its new location, 411 Lipan Street.

Earlier this year, as reported here, city zoning officials put the brakes on the non-profit bike shop, which since 2003 had been operating out of a garage behind a house in the La Alma/Lincoln Park neighborhood.

The collective might have been easy to dismiss as an insular crew of car-hating anarchists if their free services weren't so wildly popular among poorer residents -- for whom biking is not an alternative, but a necessity. In any given week, hundreds of Denverites would visit the makeshift shop to get their bikes fixed or build a new one, with the action often spilling into the narrow alley.

But that won't be a problem at the new spot, a 1000 square-foot space (with and additional 1000 square feet outside) inside a Baker neighborhood warehouse. The property owner, Dave Nester, is leasing to Derailer at a discounted rate of $250 a month for rent and utilities.

The anti-profit provocateurs have received donations from a variety of supporters. "We've gotten so many random people just giving us donations of $50 or $100," says collective member Sarah Bardwell. "It's amazing."

The local bike messenger community got behind Derailer, too, organizing the recent Denver Film Cycle as a fundraier for the group. (The fest included a trailer of a documentary on the collective slated for release next summer.) Bardwell hopes that such grassroots efforts will help sustain the bike shop through many future tune-ups in its new digs.

Because when your motto is "Every car a murder, every bike a love affair," it's not easy to move thousands of pounds of bike parts and frames. "We did it all by bike," Bardwell says, and laughs. —Jared Jacang Maher

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun