today, it's sunny and 65 in the d. and i had the day off work. a.k.a. bike adventure. as i rode up woodward to 8 mile, then doubled back through neighborhoods, people greeted me all along the way - at the bus stop, on bicycles, and out on their front porches enjoying the weather. this is one of the many reasons i love cycling in the city - it's a social event as much as a mode of transportation. another aspect of biking i adore is that it is an activity you can enjoy at virtually no cost. cue the friday philanthropist:
i first learned about community bike shops in new orleans through r.u.b.a.r.b. bike. the general idea is to make cycling more affordable and less intimidating to city residents. beyond that, community bike organizations are as diverse as the cyclists they serve. some offer "earn-a-bike" programs for children and teens to learn how to build bikes and ride them. others, such as bicrowave in santa monica, focus on teaching adult cyclists how to repair their own bikes. yet others rehab and resell bicycles at a fraction of typical retail costs.
the hub of detroit puts an interesting spin on things. as a "nonprofit, full-service retail bike shop," they vend merchandise you might find at rei or performance bike. this alone is a service to detroit residents who would otherwise be making a trip to the 'burbs for these items. however, all of the hub's profits are recycled into the organization, providing a sustainable funding plan for their youth "earn-a-bike" program, back alley bikes.
every wednesday and thursday evening from 6-8pm, the hub of detroit welcomes volunteers to help clean up shop and learn the basics of bike assembly and repair. you can guess where i'll be next wednesday. they also solicit for donations of unwanted bikes, parts, and accessories.
what's happening at your community bike shop?
don't see your city or town in the list above?
check out this wikipedia entry that allows you to search for community bike organizations by country, state, and city. each entry provides contact information and most offer a direct link to the agency's website.
You may ask yourself, "How did I get here?". - I'm going to tell you all about L'Eroica California in painstaking detail: Just not now. I will say though that I've given a lot to cycling over the years...