Meet the anarchists assembling bikes to dismantle capitalism

Amidst a climate of excess and over-consumption, Loop Groop is a sovereign island in a seemingly uncaring ocean of sociopathic enterprise. 

It's Carl Naus and Dylan Pyle's way of staking their claim to the freedoms they believe should be afforded to all of us. Carl and Dylan are anarchists, and bicycles are unrestricted independence.

"The bicycle really epitomizes heaps of anarchist values," Carl says during our interview in their DIY shed which is built with reclaimed timber salvaged from council dumps. 

"You can fix it yourself, it's free, and you don't need to put gas in it."

"You don't need to register it," Dylan adds.

Loop Groop is a not-for-profit bike co-op. It has a stockpile of used bike parts that you can use to assemble your own bike for koha, or repair an existing bike for little or no nominal cost.

Carl and Dylan have the tools and the knowledge and, if you know nothing about bikes, they can even guide you through the process. 

Dylan Pyle and Carl Naus help people assemble a bike for koha, or repair an existing bike.
Dylan Pyle and Carl Naus help people assemble a bike for koha, or repair an existing bike. Photo credit: Newshub

Anarchy, as Carl and Dylan put it, has nothing to do with Mohawks and looting - "we have the punks to thank for that one," Carl says. 

Instead, it's about "economic emancipation" and people's right to their autonomy. 

They're not here to make a buck off you, they don't want to up-sell you on aerodynamic spandex and carbon fibre camel packs. Their aim is simply to make bikes available to people of all ilks, at no or low cost, as a viable commuting option. 

It's part environmental effort, part political line in the sand, and all passion project.

"Mainly what me and Dylan do is just fix bikes, help people fix their bikes, teach people how to fix their bikes," says Carl.

"The thing that I kind of get frustrated by is when people treat us like a shop," says Dylan.

Loop Groop sells some bikes though, Carl explains, in order to cover running costs.

"We're definitely not capitalists but we do engage in commerce because we need to pay our rent." 

The DIY shed is in Auckland's Mt Eden.
The DIY shed is in Auckland's Mt Eden. Photo credit: Newshub

Gesturing toward one of the walls in the shed, Carl says: "You'll notice one of the points on our whiteboard is dismantle capitalism, and it hasn't been crossed out yet."

"I mean, we can sell you a bike but the whole point of it is that there's already a lot of stuff. Come and use it and learn how to be self-sufficient," Dylan says.

And they are. They're completely off-grid, drawing their power from a battery charged by a jerry-rigged solar setup.

"We have one 90w solar panel which is enough to charge the drill, our phones and power some lights. We're kind of off-grid by necessity. For this building to be compliant it has to not be connected to the grid or any services," Carl says.

"This project itself is kind of a natural response to some of the flaws of a capitalistic society, which does create a lot of junk and teaches you to interact with it in a very specific type of way, which might not be very healthy or sustainable", Dylan says. 

"That's the whole point, nothing gets thrown away if it's even marginally useful - even these laptops from 2004," Carl says, gesturing to the stack of dated grey door stops on his work bench. 

"A lot of these [bikes] are donated by people. We have a policy of never saying no to a bicycle."

In Carl's own words, "Some people are natural trash rats."

If you want to get involved with Loop Groop or donate unwanted bikes, drop them a line through their Facebook page or visit them in Eden Terrace in Auckland on a Saturday afternoon.