Posts Tagged ‘Bikes Not Bombs’

Got this from SmallerCitiesUnite! on twitter.

Rachel Walker writes at PeopleForBikes.org, “How do you get more people on bikes? Go to where they are, open up a ‘shop,’ teach them to build and maintain a bike. Help them earn a bike. Repeat.

“This is the philosophy behind the myriad of community bike shops sprouting up in inner-city neighborhoods throughout the country. Non-profit organizations that cater to the underserved aim to destigmatize and popularize cycling among communities that have probably not heard of Strava or clipless pedals. In these neighborhoods, bicycle lanes, racks, and, most importantly, riders, are noticeably absent.

“And that, according to the forces behind community bike shops, must change—for multiple reasons.

“ ‘For our core constituents, getting a bike and learning how to maintain it is about economic mobility,’ says Ryan Schutz, executive director of Denver’s Bike Depot. ‘Owning a bike lets them travel farther to find work and spend their money on food, instead of on gas or bus fares.’

“Like the majority of community bike shops, Bike Depot puts bikes into the hands of people who otherwise couldn’t afford them or may not choose to buy them. The organization accomplishes this through earn-a-bike programs and by selling low-cost refurbished bikes. They also teach members bike safety and maintenance skills.” More here.

Sounds like a variation on Bike Not Bombs, which started in the Greater Boston area several decades ago, refurbishing donated bicycles and sending them to poor countries.

Here’s what Bikes Not Bombs says on the website: “Bikes Not Bombs uses the bicycle as a vehicle for social change. We reclaim thousands of bicycles each year. We create local and global programs that provide skill development, jobs, and sustainable transportation. Our programs mobilize youth and adults to be leaders in community transformation.”

All good stuff.

Photo: People For Bikes
The Community Cycling Center in Portland, Oregon, offers bike camps to local kids.

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For years, I’ve been a fan of Bikes Not Bombs, a local bike repair and training outfit that got its start providing donated bikes to poor people in Central America.

Now I find out that an architecture charity also likes Bikes Not Bombs — enough to donate time to renovate the shop.

The Christian Science Monitor and Cathryn J. Prince have the story.

“Inside the sleek steel and cement workshop of Bikes Not Bombs in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, at-risk youths recondition bicycles before sending them on for use in developing countries.

“Halfway across the country at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital, a ‘showcase suite’ shows how a child’s hospital room can be made less intimidating and more comfortable.

“The ‘1 percent’ built the bike-repair workshop. The ‘1 percent’ also built the hospital room.”

The 1% program of Public Architecture, based in San Francisco, “connects nonprofit groups in need of design assistance with architecture or design firms. The name for the group comes from the idea that if firms across the country donate just 1 percent of their time each year to charitable work it would equal 5 million hours. …

” ‘In a moment of ambitious insanity, I decided to start a nonprofit,’ says John Peterson, the founder and president of The 1%. …

“Most architecture and design firms, he found, were unfamiliar with the idea of doing pro bono work. Initially, holding design competitions was the only way to get firms to participate.

“ ‘But competition [projects] rarely get built,’ says Amy Ress, project manager for The 1% program. ‘We wanted to do projects that would get built.’

“Mr. Peterson launched The 1% in 2001. More than 10 years later, more than 1,000 architecture and design firms (between 3 percent and 5 percent of all American architectural firms) and 600 nonprofit organizations are participating. About 18 new firms join each month, he says.

“One of the earliest design ideas was The Station, which would serve as a gathering point for day laborers. Day laborers normally must hang out at spaces meant for other uses, such as gas stations and parking lots. Today a handful of official Day Labor centers exist across the country.”


Photograph of John Peterson: The 1% program of Public Architecture

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