This has been a busy summer for P2P. In the spring, we met and decided to do as much “real” stuff this summer as we could fit in. The idea is by getting our hands dirty we find out what we’re good at; what we want to do; what the community needs; etc. The plan is to get together in Sept and build out our long term plan: do we want to be a “real” 501c3? Do we want to find a space? Do we want to partner with existing orgs? Do we want to bag it all? Do we want to continue doing what we’re doing? Something in between?
This summer we’ve done 2 free bike tune ups; we rode with about 25 cyclists in the gay pride parade; we had a booth at the local flair stree fair; we acted as the mechanic/volunteer coordinators for the KHQ pedal pals event where we fixed over 80 bikes; we did Thursday night rides every week; (aside from the KHQ bikes) we’ve collected over 40 bikes and fixed up about 20 of those and we’re on track to hit our goal of clearing our waiting list queue of about 25 bikes for folks that would not otherwise have bikes.
That’s a lot. And for me, it’s been fun, hard, hectic, satisfying, and frustrating. We’ve met a bunch of folks that are interested in what we’re doing. We get about 10 calls/emails a week with more bikes for donation. As John Medeski would say, “we are rolling.”
Two things we’ve learned in particular that we need to make immediate changes on:
1. Weekly rides aren’t working. Bad timing? Too hot? Too frequent? Weird format? Not sure. But we’re cancelling the last 3 Thursday night rides scheduled for this month. I think we learned that for the short term, we’re not into organizing rides.
2. We can’t be in the business of picking up bikes. We have a lot of junk for one. Our original goal was to take every bike that came our way. Some bikes are so trashed that very little is usable and it’s certainly not worth our time to take everything. In general, the bikes that folks bring to us are in better shape than those that we go pick up. We are going to get out of the bike picking up business. If folks have a decent bike that they want to donate, we’ll take it, but we won’t pick it up. Other cycling centers in the US require a fee for taking donated bikes. I understand that now. There is a real cost to taking bikes that cannot be sold on craigslist. A cost of time and money.
It’s a hard line to take: we only take decent donated bikes,but once you explain to folks that we can’t afford to pick up junk that may have a usable brake or something,then we have to tear it down to recycle the bent steel rims and the rusted frame — they understand. If we had a hanger-size space with multiple volunteers that could take in, sort, disassemble, and categorize the bits, then it would be great to take everything.
As it is, we’re just too small and focused in our goals at the moment to take everything.
So that’s the haps for now.
We’re excited about our Sept meeting and figuring out how we grow this thing that wants to just explode instantly into everything bike related. We’re building something here and it’s very gratifying to be a part of it.