Tuesday, June 27, 2023
John Patterson and Christian Myers co-founded Vélocity Bicycle Cooperative as a spin-off to the non-profit viaVélo bicycle delivery and pedicab service started in 2009.
Per Steve Walz: “John Patterson started with the idea to provide pedicab and bike messenger services in Alexandria. Christian Myers had been a bike messenger in DC, and had run bike shops. The pedicab service did not pan out so John and Christian decided to pivot to the bike cooperative model. Their goal was to encourage people to ride bikes to better the community, teach people how to fix and maintain safe, affordable bikes, and grow the bicycle community. They envisioned a mix of professional bike mechanics working with volunteers to build the idea into reality — which turns out to have worked well. We now have five paid staff, and a group of about 30 core and rotating (DC can be transient!) volunteers.”
Walz continued: “They started in Old Town Alexandria until redevelopment took over (now the spaces are a boutique hotel and capital investment company). They moved to Del Ray which turned into a neighborly location that people could get to from Arlandria, Del Ray, and across Alexandria and South Arlington, not to mention DC, Maryland, Fairfax, Falls Church etc.”
Along with a committed group of "Véloteers" that are the lifeblood of the organization, Vélocity Bicycle Cooperative has received strong support from the DC cycling community. The success of the Del Ray shop has resulted in the opening of the Arlington location. Walz, one of those “Véloteers” who has been involved in the coop for about nin years, said he and his wife moved to Alexandria a dozen years ago and ran across Vélocity. “I had long ago worked part time as a bike mechanic and had kept up my family’s bikes. I liked the concept behind Velocity — to help others for empowerment, health, combat climate change, reduce waste, plus more — and figured I had skills to help. I worked with the Virginia Department of Energy and as Director of Environmental Programs at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and have been on other nonprofit boards so I joined the Vélocity Board.”
Regular operating hours are Tuesday-Friday 12-6 p.m., Saturday 10-5 p.m., and Sunday 12-5 p.m. People can donate bikes and parts at both Vélocity locations during these hours at the original spot at 2111 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, or at the new space at 2647 N Pershing Drive, Arlington.
For more information about Vélocity, including how to volunteer, donate a bike, or donate to help keep the shop in parts, call 703-549-1108 or see the website, velocitycoop.org. They are also on Instagram and Twitter @velocitycoop