As Raleigh’s only nonprofit bicycle program, past or present, 1304 bikes fills a unique niche in the bicycle community. It is the only place were Raleigh residents, regardless of income, can earn a bicycle, find spare parts, use community tools, and receive repair instruction. Our used parts supply and tools are provided to residents at no cost, and participants in the Earn-a-Bike program can obtain a free bicycle by volunteering to help at the shop for 1-8 hours.
1304 Bikes is Raleigh’s collectively run nonprofit bicycle organization committed to providing facilities and instruction for local residents to obtain, repair, and maintain bikes at no cost.
History of 1304
1304 bikes was founded in 2004 when three friends got together to collect, repair, and distribute second-hand bicycles. Calling themselves 1304 bikes (1304 being the street number of the original location) they began to acquire tools and organize shop days during which any member of the community could receive a second-hand bicycle or work on their existing bicycle projects. This was the origin of the open shop program.
In 2006, the 1304 bikes operation relocated to a new site where it shared building space with other local nonprofit groups. Later that year, 1304 bikes began the Earn-a-Bike program which required participants to volunteer at the 1304 bikes shop in exchange for a bicycle. In order to continue to provide bicycles to children with no expectation of required volunteer hours, the Kid-a-Bike program was established. In October of 2008 1304 bikes incorporated as a nonprofit in the state of North Carolina and in August of 2009 received federal 501(c)3 tax-exempt status.
Over the years, the popularity of 1304 bikes grew and the organization became widely loved by the cycling community. 1304 bikes served a wide-spread and diverse cross section of the Raleigh population, including youth, college students, the homeless and cyclists of all walks. The number of shop users and Earn-a-Bike participants grew with each year we remained open, and we were on track in 2009 to have over 300 people complete the Earn-a-Bike program. Our busiest summer months would typically see 25-30 successful Earn-a-Bikers as well as up to 50 shop users during open hours. Our new space will allow us to continue the growth we had, as well as to reach new people and expand the programs and services that we offer.
1304 bikes also provided a valuable outlet for residents wishing to see their old bicycles reused and recycled instead of going to the landfill. We try to minimize as much waste as we can, repurposing parts and bikes we cannot use into work stands, bike art, jewelry, etc. What we cannot use, we recycle; including steel, aluminum, and tires.