The ReBicycle Shop is inching slowly closer. Our monthly sidewalk outreach has been awesome. Once a month, volunteers meet on the sidewalk in front of Harmony House with tools, parts, and passion, and we work on bikes for folks who need it. The community that we serve, primarily the homeless and recently homeless, aren’t recreational riders. These folks rely on their bicycles for function, not for fun, and they will ride them until the wheels fall off. When those wheels do, finally, fall off they usually can’t afford to take them and have them repaired by the pros. That’s where the Burrito Riders and ReBicycle come in, we may not be the professionals but the donations we receive, from you and others like you, allow us to work for free.
Today saw us moving into our new workspace. I believe that we’ve discussed this already, but for those who may not know we have been granted space next door to Harmony House (Location, location, location!) and this is where we’ll set up our shop. In the beginning it will be SPARSE for sure, a workbench, shelves, an air compressor, etc. The only tools in the shop to begin with will be brought in with the volunteers, and leave with them after finishing up. Over time we hope to, through awesome donors, be able to purchase tools and equipment in order to slowly grow into an actual working shop. Our shop, much like our sidewalk outreach, will be geared towards caring for the homeless, recently homeless, and those who need their bikes but can’t afford to avail themselves of the great professional shops (Htgn Cycle & Sport and Jeff’s) in town. For some of the people we’ve served, they might otherwise have to choose between a $10 flat fix or eating that day. Typically they are going to choose eating, as they should, and that’s where we come in. We are the folks they come see when they have no other options, although that does kind of make us sound like some sort of bicycle mercenaries! 😉
It’s not just basic repair though! When it comes to the chicken/egg debate, the ReBicycle volunteer-and-earn-a-bike program came well before any ideas about creating a shop environment for serving the community. As of this weekend, we have provided 12 bicycles to the local community and, in return, these folks have altogether contributed over 120 hours of volunteer service to agencies like Harmony House. These are hours of service helping to support non-profits who typically operate on limited resources and are at times hard-pressed to get everything done that they need to on a daily basis. It is imperative that we take care of our agencies in whatever way we are able, because they need to be freed up from some of the minutiae in order that they may focus on caring for our folks who need them.
Last week we provided a bicycle for Tina. Like several that came before her, Tina provided at least 10 hours of volunteer service in order that she could earn a bicycle of her own. It was a great experience! Tina has been the most obviously excited to receive a bicycle, to date! So much fun seeing her be so thrilled to have this new bicycle. We also provided bicycles to John and Curtis this weekend. Again, another 20 hours of valuable help for our agency partners.
As we flourish and grow, our hope is that ReBicycle can go beyond just providing service and begin to provide opportunities to serve. Within our shop, we plan to begin providing volunteers with a place to learn, serve, and have fun. Again, this is reliant on growing our tools and parts inventories, but once our shop is outfitted to at least a basic level of functionality we’ll be able to invite more people in! How great will it be when the first person to earn a bike by working on their bike and others comes through our work shop? Pretty great! On that note, I also love how anytime we visit Harmony House, and now the ReBicycle space, we can’t get away without working on at least one or two bikes. Today we were able to take time out from moving, well Richard and Glen actually, in order to work on a couple of bikes that needed our attention.
So, this weekend we moved in and from there we’ll begin to get settled, organized, and operational. We’ve talked a lot on social media about needing donations of bikes, parts, tools, etc, but we also have a need for a couple of specific household/etc items for the shop:
- A vacuum, because cleanliness.
- A coffee maker because the folks we serve LOVE a good cup of coffee and we’d love to provide that as a “perk” (hahaha) of coming in.
- Metal or plastic “bar” stools, nothing wood or cloth ideally.
- Pegboard and hooks for hanging/organizing tools.
I’ll probably be at the shop, tinkering, this week, come by and say hello! And, as always, you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, here, and by email.