Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union
ARCATA – Arcata is finally getting the women-operated, bicycle/roller skate sales and service hub it deserves. Moon Cycles won’t just fill a gap in Arcata’s alternative transportation scene, it promises to infuse some much-needed vitality into the otherwise culturally-desolate stretch of Alliance Road between the artistic Creamery District and vibrant Westwood Village.
There, in a steel Quonset hut shared with the Neighborhood Board Shop, proprietors and five-year best friends Sage and Sprout are creating a space for affordable, creative and community-based transportation and the culture that goes with it. Sage is bike oriented, while Sprout, a member of Humboldt Roller Derby, is the skate enthusiast.
When Moon Cycles opens the first week of October, you’ll be able to buy a bike or set of skates, have them repaired and maybe hang out a bit. Affordability and accessibility are key.
“It’s a shop for the people,” Sprout said. “We’re taking the monetary blocks out of alternative transportation.”
They’re also taking out the intimidation. Some cyclists aren’t necessarily into the sporting or competitive orientation of traditional bike shops. Sage said that during Women and Trans Sundays at the Eureka Bike Kitchen, patrons tell her that the old school outlets aren’t really for them.
“Bike shops can be intimidating,” she said. “I want to meet people where they’re at.”
“We want increased visibility for females in a traditionally male-dominated trade,” Sprout said.
They also aim to promote skating as a practical way of getting around. “I want to show people that it is a great form of transportation,” Sage said. “Getting more people on skates and bikes around town” is the long-term goal, she said.
With its buy-sell-consign model for bikes, skates and related accessories, Moon Cycles will also offer tune-up and repair services and eventually, even more.
Once the shop gets on its feet, the are looking ahead to installing a small lounge area with a couch. “You might come in not just to get your bike fixed, but to hang out and say ‘hi’,” Sage said.
They’ll sponsor empowering workshops, and group and family events, community collaborations, potlucks, music and even movie nights. A subtler goal is to demonstrate how to actualize activism of all flavors. “We want to role model with more diverse spaces,” Sage said.
But the core mission is simple, affordable person-powered transportation with bikes and skates. “These things can synergize,” Sage said. “It just feels natural.”
Even the fixtures at Moon Cycles are non-traditional. The shop’s tool board has been custom-designed to better suit physically smaller female mechanics. And, consistent with the philosophy of affordability and creative reuse, it’s made of repurposed bits and pieces.
The shop’s refurbished bike and skate hardware will follow the same form-follows-function philosophy. But don’t mistake parts that might be painted different colors, or otherwise superficially mismatched for anything less than reliable and utilitarian, if funky-looking wheels. And that’s something Moon Cycle patrons would probably consider beautiful, anyway.
Moon Cycles is getting off the ground with donated merchandise as well as a GoFundMe page for crowdsourced cash contributions. Last week they had raised $3,600 of their $15,000 goal.
While women-centered as the name implies, Moon Cycles welcomes all. “It’s a place that’s sensitive to everyone’s needs,” Sage said. “We’re open-minded and we’re here for everyone.”
Moon Cycles is located at 1925 Alliance Rd. (enter through the surf shop).