Pedal Power Needs People Power

YMCA 11.08.20

Broomfield Bikes has organized a bike giveaway (“anyone who needs one, let us know, we’ll find one for you”), and community events to encourage neighbors to get out and ride, including “family friendly Friday” rides, and “bike to food truck nights” in a park. “It’s an amazing contrast sitting down with your neighbors in the grass, under some trees, versus a drive-thru fast food meal,” says Hubbard. The group is hosting a bike repair workshop this summer, and partnered with the city to install a repair station on a popular trail.

All of this community-building is aimed at raising the profile of practical bicycling, and thus creating a more visible constituency for the changes to the built environment that need to happen in Broomfield. “People in Colorado want to be outdoors and be healthy,” Hubbard told me, “so open space and trails have always been a priority here. But the trails don’t always go to the real destinations people want to reach.” And once you’re off them, you’re in stroad-land. Hubbard and others have participated in focus groups on safe active transportation and are working to get the city to hire a bike or active-transportation coordinator, or create a citizen committee. Currently, there is no one on staff whose specific charge is to encourage people to bike or make it easier or safer to bike.

Advocacy at City Hall is only one piece of what Hubbard and Broomfield Bikes are hoping to do, but it’s an important piece. “Kids aren’t going to go to meetings and advocate for themselves for safe routes to school,” Hubbard says. “I see it as part of my goal to be an advocate for those kinds of people.”

Williamsport Bicycle Recycle

David and Louisa Stone of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, launched Williamsport Bicycle Recycle in 2012. They were inspired by community bike shops they had seen elsewhere, which helped get “cheap but serviceable” bikes to people for whom they could be a lifeline by recycling and refurbishing old bikes and parts, and offering low-cost cooperative bike repair.

Williamsport Bicycle Recycle took up residence in a historic complex that was once the world’s largest pajama factory, alongside woodworking, photography, and clay studios, all under the auspices of a non-profit organization called Factory Works. Last year, their volunteer staff took in over 1,000 donated bicycles—in a city of only 30,000 inhabitants!—which were repaired and either given away to families in need or sold at low cost.

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