Coco's Bike Shop
Reuse, recycle adage of bicycle shop
ST. IGNATIUS — The Mission Mountains prove a perfect backdrop for Coco’s Bicycle Shop, located just outside city limits of St. Ignatius. Thousands of bikes, bike parts, and other odds and ends are orderly littered as far as the eye can see. Coco Blood, owner of the shop, is quite handy and has been repurposing and fixing bikes for more than 32 years.
A self-taught repairwoman, Coco became interested in bikes because her father had helped to build wheelchairs for Easter Seals in Boulder, Montana.
She had to learn to fix bikes because she came from a family of seven brothers and four sisters. One was always taking her bike and bringing it back in need of repair, according to Coco’s husband, Charlie Blood, Sr.
“When she was younger she had to fix her own bike,” he said.
Bikes have become somewhat of a family affair. Her brother, who resides in Boulder, is often on the lookout for goods to bring Coco. Boulder boasts a higher per capita income, and many people throw away perfectly good bikes, she said.
“They get a flat tire and throw it away,” Coco said.
Since 2008, Coco has made the gig full time. After being laid off in 2008, she decided that she didn’t want drive to Missoula to find work, so fixing bikes became her day job.
“If you can stay at home and do what you love, why not?” Coco said.
Many residents call Coco when they have a lost or found bike because everyone in the area brings bikes to her.
Coco said there were times when she wanted to give up on the business, but she had ultimately persevered.
“There were times I wanted to bag it,” she said.
Coco estimates, based upon receipts, that she has repaired somewhere around 1,000 bikes.
The shop sells bikes that are up and ready to go, bikes that are in disrepair and waiting for someone to claim them, and does basic repair and maintenance Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“I’ve recently branched out to wheel chairs and walkers,” Coco said.
She also offers store credit at $10 per hour to those that are willing to strip parts; if someone is willing to work hard, a negotiation could be made for a bike or repair.
While bikes are often on the minds of the Bloods, they rarely get a chance to actually ride. Within the last couple of years, the couple was able to take some time to ride the Trail of the Hiawatha bike path in Idaho, which they highly recommend.
When they do get a chance to ride, the two usually stick around the back roads of St. Ignatius. The rest of the time they’re hauling, organizing, or fixing bikes for Coco’s Bicycle Shop.
The business is located at 62006 Telcostair Lane in St. Ignatius. For more information, call 406-745-4517.