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The Kickstand

March 05, 2008 By: Peter Smith Category: Uncategorized

Thanks to at least one member of The Kickstand (blog) for signing our petition. From their home page:

The Gainesville Community Bicycle Project, aka The Kickstand, is Gainesville’s newest community center. At our collective bicycle shop, you will gain access to tools, parts, and knowledgeable volunteers who will help you learn to build, fix, and maintain your bicycle.

Bicycles are empowering! With transportation comes opportunities, and anyone-regardless of age, race and/or gender-can enjoy the benefits of bicycle ownership. We hope to pair up recycled bicycles with those who need them, and engender a spirit of sharing and community around these two-wheeled wonders!

In Austin we have Austin Yellow Bike, and it probably wouldn’t be too much to presume that there are projects like these all over the U.S. and the world.

The closest college/uni to me is UT-Austin, and they have the Orange Bike Project. The University of Toronto has Bikechain. Ripon College has the Velorution Project.

If you don’t yet have a place like The Kickstand in your town, then start one. If you don’t yet have a program like Bikechain at your school or college or university, then start one. Don’t worry if you have no experience in organizing anything - everyone has to start somewhere. Don’t be deterred - plenty of people will say ‘no’ - plenty of people will say, “yeah, but…” - forget the haters - just keep pushing ahead. It won’t happen overnight. You’ll face plenty of obstacles, but your persistence will pay off.

And don’t be afraid to involve your local bike shops. Go and talk to them. Tell them your ideas. Tell them about the programs you read about online. Bring a print-out. Ask them how you can help each other be more successful. Listen to what they are saying. Chances are, they’ve been there, and done that. They can become your greatest allies. And many bike shops are small, community-type shops that may be hurt by big school/government-subsidized programs - we want to find ways that we can all be enthusiastic supporters of the major programs that are going to change the landscape for bicyclists and pedestrians. All of this is just my opinion, of course. :)

Thanks for representing, Kickstand, and best of luck to y’all, and to everyone making this happen!

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