Category Archives: News

#TBT: That Time We Were on PBA 30

This video from the early days of the shop shows the quintessential awesomeness of Sopo.  Still true to this day, if you’ve ever wondered why we started and what we’re all about…watch this video!  I’m not sure which is more amazing…the fact that we’re still true to our mission 10 years later, or the fact that a lot of volunteers in this video are still around!

Sunny Skies Ahead: Cleaning Your Bike


The skies have finally parted and it looks like the sun is here to stay for the week!  If you’ve been riding in the rain this past week, your bike is no doubt grimy, mucky and downright disgusting.  Consider taking 15-20 minutes out of your day to clean it up.  Cleaning your bike gives you an opportunity to get up close and personal with your bike. If you’re like me, you usually just give the tires a quick squeeze and then it’s bang…out the door!  Cleaning your bike gives you an opportunity to slow things down a bit, inspect all the parts in detail, and notice anything that might need fixing.


Splashing through puddles seems harmless…


For a quick clean, you’ll need:

-Two rags, one for washing and one for drying
-Warm, soapy water (I like to use a mixture of Dawn and water, but use whatever household soap you have)
-Chain lube

-Spray bottle
-Old toothbrushes

Squirt some soap into your bucket and fill with water to your desired level.  How much should you use?  Just eyeball it depending on how dirty your bike is and how detailed you want to get.  Dip one rag in the soapy water and start wiping down your bike, top to bottom.  I like to start on the handlebars and headset and work my way down the fork and front wheel, then move on to the top tube and the rest of the bike.  Starting at the top will allow the soap to run down the bike onto already dirty parts near the bottom.  If you start cleaning your drive train first, and then wipe down your seat and frame, you might find that you’ll have to clean your drive train again to get all that new soap out of there.   You can either dry your bike as you go, or wait until you’re all done!

When it comes to cleaning the chain, you want to make sure all the muck is off the chain and that the chain is nice and dry.  If your drying rag isn’t soaked, use it to grab your chain and pedal about 10 cycles or so.  Repeat until all the gunk is off, then lube it up.  A clean and well lubed drive train is the number one way to keeping your bike in good working order and can save you tons of time and money in the long run.

Depending on how much time you want to take in cleaning your bike, you can use an old spray bottle and fill it with the same soapy water solution.  Using a spray bottle is great for getting in those small, hard to reach places like in between your gears.  The spray bottle method might also be a good idea if you live on the fifth floor of an apartment building and you find yourself doing most of your bike maintenance in your kitchen.  Old toothbrushes are also great for getting in those hard to reach places where fingers just aren’t going to fit.

Can a bike love back?

Can a bike love back?

New Belgium Clips Entries

NBB clips

Last Friday, New Belgium Brewing hosted the Clips Beer and Film Tour on the Beltline at Old Fourth Ward Skate Park.  The short films and unique beer tastings expanded our minds and our palates despite the misty weather.

Some films focused on art, some films focused on conservation of natural land, and some films (naturally) were bicycle themed.  Here are a few of the films featuring bicycles.

Koochella Rising from All-City Cycles on Vimeo.

Geoff McFetridge /// The Sea Rambler from Farm League on Vimeo.

Sunday is Ladies Night, and the Feelin’s Right

Every Sunday from 6 p.m.- 9 p.m. is Ladies Night at Sopo!  All ladies, transgender and LGBTQ are welcome.  Sundays are less crowded and present a great opportunity to get some special attention to fixing up your bike.

Volunteers Jacqui and Tonee help a customer make some adjustments on her bike.

Volunteers Jacqui and Tonee help a customer make some adjustments on her bike.

Roundup of Cycling Events: September 25- October 4


The next few weeks are busy ones for bikers!  Check out these cycling events around town designed to get you on your bike and welcome Autumn:

Critical Mass- September 25
Meet at Woodruff Park beginning at 6 p.m.  Ride out at 7 p.m.

Atlanta Streets Alive- September 27
2 p.m.-6 p.m.  Click here for more information.

Atlanta Bike Challenge- September 27-October 25
Join the challenge.  Ride bikes.  Win prizes.
More information

New Belgium Clips Beer and Film Tour- October 2
Gather on the Old Fourth Ward Skatepark Lawn starting at 7:30 p.m.  Films begin at 9 p.m.
More information

National Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day- October 3
RAMBO (Roswell Area Mountain Biking Association) is hosting a family fun day event in conjunction with this national celebration.  More information

Dingo Cross-October 3-4, Gainesville
The first cross race of the season has arrived!
More information


The Sopo Library

the female cyclist

Few visitors know that Sopo has a library.  Last week, Steve from the Grant Park Neighborhood Association stopped by to donate “The Female Cyclist” to our collection.  Thanks Steve!

We have lots of books on bicycle maintenance, training, nutrition, safety, commuting, and just about everything else cycling related!  We also have a big stack of old issues of Bicycling, Bicycle Times, and other great bike magazines.  Come check them out…no library card needed.

Different Strokes: Cyclocross

Different Strokes is a blog post series focusing on almost all the different ways you can bike.  The goal of these posts is two-fold: 1) to educate readers on different styles of road biking, mountain biking, and everything in between 2) to inspire our readers to try something new, explore, and have an adventure! As always, ‘run what ya brung.’  There are no specific skills necessary to explore or try something new, nor should feel the need to purchase a fancy-schmancy new bike. 

Shorter days and the rolling in of crisp, autumn air mean many things to many different people.  Sure, it’s sweaters, boots and pumpkin spice lattes for most, but for those that are gluttons for punishment, it means cyclocross season is here again.

The origin of cyclocross (or CX) is varied.  Some list Belgium as the originating country, while others pay homage to France.  Either way, CX is believed to have started sometime around 1900 in Europe as a way to keep cyclists in shape during the off-season of the fall and winter months.  French army privateer Daniel Gousseau is credited as the Father of Cyclocross, organizing the first French National Championship in 1902.  Now, over 100 years later, CX has grown into a discipline of cycling all on its own with athletes dedicated solely to the sport.

Soponistas and friends at a CX race in 2013.

Soponistas and friends at a CX race in 2013.

What Is It?

Think of it as a bicycle obstacle course.  CX races are usually made on short courses, 1.5-2 miles in length.  These courses can be made virtually anywhere, such as local parks and greenspaces, which make them an ideal outing for spectators and hecklers.  Courses are made of grass, paved concrete, gravel and dirt roads, singletrack trails through the woods, mud pits, hurdles, and just about any other thing you can think of.  In any one race, you’ll have to tackle all these mixed surfaces, plus dismount your bike and carry it through the obstacles that are impossible to ride.  It’s road biking mixed with mountain biking, mixed with an obstacle course all in one short, intense, gut-it-out course.

Click the image to expand.

Click the image to expand.

How It Works

Because the races are short, a venue can host several races in one day.  Typically, races are 60 minutes or less, and racers try to get in as many laps as possible in their allotted time.  For instance, let’s say a race is 30 minutes long.  Racer A completes 3 laps before the 30 minutes are up and Racer B only completes 2 laps.  Racer A wins.  In the event that Racer A and Racer B both complete 3 laps in 30 minutes, the winner would be whoever completed the laps in the shortest amount of time.

CX races work differently by state.  For a full description of length of races and categories in Georgia, please click here.  Basically, though, you have men’s categories 1-5, with 5 being beginner and 1 being professional.  Women’s categories are 1-4, with 4 being beginner and 1 being professional.  The beginner categories will race for 30 minutes, while the upper level 1-2 categories will race for 45-60 minutes.  Depending on how many people enter the race, multiple categories may run at the same time.  There are also master’s categories for people over the age of 35 and 45, and even a single speed category.  It is entirely possible to race two or three times in a single day.

The Bike

The bike you use during cyclocross will depend on a couple of different things such the course, the weather, or what you have lying around at home.  If a course has more singletrack trails or thick muddy areas, you might prefer a mountain bike.  If a course has more concrete or is very dry, you might want to use a road bike.  There are three different variations of what you can do:

An actual cyclocross bike:  It looks like a road bike at first glance, complete with drop bars and skinnier tires.  Give it a closer look and you’ll find those tires are usually knobby and a little wider than your typical road racing bike.  These knobby tires are essential for gripping dirt and mud.  The second major difference is the brakes.  CX bikes usually have cantilever brakes or disc brakes for mud clearance.  Traditional road bike brakes run the risk of getting gunked up with mud during a race.  There are a few smaller, less noticeable differences in a CX bike such as a higher bottom bracket and lower gearing (somewhere between a road bike and a mountain bike).

A mountain bike:  Mountain bikes are a great option for your first CX race.  They already have the knobby tires you need and are built for handling things off road.  The only down side is they tend to be heavier when lifting over obstacles, so you might want to do a few curls and warm up those little-used arm muscles.  When using your mountain bike during a cx race, be sure to take off your water bottle cage and bar ends.  If possible, lock out your suspension so you’re not bouncing around everywhere (it will slow you down).  If you’re a good enough mechanic, you can even swap out your front fork with a rigid one just for the day.

A road bike: Pay attention to the weather when using a road bike.  If it’s wet and muddy, your road bike isn’t going to be a very good option.  However, if it’s dry, go for it!  Throw on some knobby tires for better grip and you’re good to go.  Use the lower gears to get better handling.


Have fun!  That’s the point, right? Sure, some people get really into it, but try not to take it too seriously.

Practice! Definitely practice your mounts and dismounts before the race.  On the day of the race, get there early so you can pre-ride the course.  That way you’ll know where the trouble spots are.

Take the hand-ups!  Or not.  Depends on how well you can stomach beer and cookies while grinding it out.


Open CX practice this Sunday, Sept. 20 at 9 a.m. at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers.  Meet people and get a taste of what CX is all about.  More details.

Georgia Cyclocross: Races, info, etc.

Cyclocross Magazine’s Noob Section

How to dismount, Bicycling Magazine

Sopo Cyclocross Memories: Fixing up a Big-Box Bike

Search the Sopo archives for cyclocross!

Throwback Thursday: The Mural

mural eav

This mural was painted on the wall inside our original location (other than Jay’s living room) in East Atlanta Village.  It was painted by our friends from the East Atlanta Kids Club. #tbt

Sopo is Hiring! Volunteer Coordinator Needed

Sopo Bicycle Cooperative Volunteer Coordinator
Employment Status: Part time (15-20 hours/week)
Reports to: Board of Directors, HR Committee
Work Schedule: Flexible hours, Evening & Weekend Intensive
Compensation: $20/hour

Position Summary
The Volunteer Coordinator’s overarching responsibilities are centered around the recruitment, training, cultivation, stewardship, placing and retention of volunteers for the Sopo Shop, special events, and other Sopo related activities.  The Volunteer Coordinator is also responsible for maintaining a volunteer roster and recording shop usage statistics. While most duties are expected to be performed off-site, the Volunteer Coordinator is required to attend Sopo’s monthly general meeting every third Monday, the volunteer orientation every fourth Monday, and should have a flexible evening and weekend schedule.


  • Develops and implements methods for coordination and retention of volunteers;
  • Maintains volunteer sign-in book, volunteer newsletter, volunteer information database (contact, skills, commitment, etc.), and additional volunteer signage at the shop;
  • Ensures all programs are fully staffed with volunteers: Open Shop Hours, Gateway Program, Summer Youth program, Charity Bikes, Bike 101 classes, etc.;
  • Publicizes volunteer needs for special events;
  • Organizes and supervises volunteers for special events (i.e., Artbikes, BHBP);
  • Recruits and screens volunteers for appropriate role placement;
  • Identifies key volunteer roles and places volunteers in these roles;
  • Identifies strong volunteers for shop manager role and other roles;
  • Organizes and facilitates monthly new volunteer orientations;
  • Provides leadership in volunteer skills development including ongoing training in bike mechanics and other shop skills, Bikes 201, Volunteer Orientation 2.0;
  • Maintains regular and timely communication with volunteers and Board of Directors;
  • Develops and hosts volunteer appreciation activities
  • Screening (interviews, required background checks, etc.) and matching volunteers to organizational needs and opportunities
  • Training and orientation for volunteers
  • Scheduling and supervision of volunteers
  • Volunteer recognition
  • Assessing organizational need and capacity for volunteers
  • Creating volunteer program materials (policies and procedures, applications, volunteer agreements, orientation handbooks
  • Database management and tracking of volunteer statistics


Required Skills and Experience


  • 2 years of significant volunteer experience at Sopo (or other local bike advocacy org.)
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Experience in personnel management
  • Deep commitment to Sopo’s values
  • Bilingual Spanish/English is a plus
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Detail-oriented and organized
  • Ability to work both independently and as a member of a larger staff team
  • Familiar with diverse technologies and software (this is especially important at organizations that use the Internet to recruit and/or communicate with volunteers)
  • Ability to connect with diverse types of organizations: schools, businesses, government, faith organizations, etc.
  • Knowledge of volunteerism and volunteer management practices
  • Public speaking/Facilitation skills
  • Marketing/Public Relations


Interested applicants should submit a resume with cover letter to The deadline to apply is October 1, 2015.  Please do not check on the status of an application prior to that time.

Sopo Bicycle Cooperative provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexuality, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Sopo Bicycle Cooperative complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Sopo Bicycle Cooperative expressly prohibits any form of workplace harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, genetic information, disability, or veteran status.