Tuesday, February 19, 2008

des moines bicycle kollective

the goal a few of us have been working toward for a some time is beginning to pick up momentum, and it's starting to look like it probably will happen. but it's going to require that more of you come forward, lend a hand, and pitch in to make it certain that it does happen.
okay, mostly reverend, now what are you talking about?
all right, i'll tell you: it's a bike collective. you've heard of the iowa city bike library, and there are similar operations springing up all over the country.
what is the des moines bicycle collective?
i see it as a place to facilitate the integration of bicycles, people, and the city of des moines.
it's not a bike shop, but it's a place where folks can get a bike.
it's not a school, but it's a place where people can learn about bikes.
it's not a library, but it's a place where folks can borrow and exchange ideas and skills.
it's not a community center, but it's a place where the members of a vital community will feel welcome to come, hang out, and make and meet friends.
it's not a political entity, but it can be a unifying force for helping to expand the des moines cycling community to include many facets and residents of the city of des moines, and to help make the ENTIRE city of des moines safer for ALL bicyclists, and isn't it about time THAT happens?
first and foremost, we will have bikes. not brand new bikes, but good old bikes that have been donated and rehabbed and made better than they were before. and we'll loan them out, in exchange for a small refundable deposit. if you like the bike, you can keep it, and we keep your deposit.
we will be a service station for the homeless and under-housed bike riders in town. you've seen them riding around town. their bikes are critically important to them. well, by god, they are going to have properly-inflated tires, functioning brakes, and non-squeaking chains. and we'll do it for free, or damned near free.
we will be a training center. we will teach cyclists, young, old and in-between, how to maintain bikes. and we will teach them to APPRECIATE those good, old bikes for the vital role they can play in their lives, and in the life of ANY community in which they live. under the guidance of genuine seasoned bicycle mechanics, we will teach and and train future bike mechanics to work on, repair, and maintain their own bikes, and the bikes of others. we will hold classes--lots of classes--for whomever wants them, on whatever topics they desire. we will have "ladies nights" on a regular basis, where "women only" can address whatever gender-specific issues they wish. bike maintenance, bike building, bike community issues, dealing with assholes in cars and on bikes, whatever. we will have frame building courses. we will have "build a fixie" nights and "build a single-speeder" nights where you can convert your own bike for cheap. we will have wheel building classes.
we will have work space and tools available. and parts and other stuff you need. every bike that goes out the door will wear a "des moines bicycle collective" sticker. we will be a central voice for the bicycle, and for the people who choose to ride them.
and it's all right downtown. the des moines bicycle collective is located right next door to boesen's the florists, on grand avenue between 6th and 7th streets. BIG thanks to boesen's, who is our first biggest donor, giving us free rent for the first year.
here's what you can do:
1--give us your old bikes and parts. not crap; we're not a garbage bin. but we ARE a non-profit organization, and you'll get a receipt for your donation, okay? don't ebay, recycle it.
2--we need a plumber to help us do some minor installations.
3--we need someone skilled with constructing and installing shelves, counters, and workbenches, that kind of stuff.
4--ditto with an electrician.
5--we need a graphic artist [garrett, are you reading this?]
6--we're going to need some volunteers, around the end of february or early march, to clear out the space preparatory to building the place.
people who volunteer at the bike collective will be rewarded, but in order to learn how, you're gonna have to ask about "volunteering opportunities."
something to keep in mind: this is not a big-budget, glitz and shiny things operation. this is about bringing bikes to the people, and the people to bikes. it's about teaching bikes and cars and trucks and buses and people and cities and counties to all get along without killing or maiming each other. you want glitz and shiny things, you know where to get them. but if you want to help build the des moines bicycling community, this is where you start.
we'll have plenty of bike parking available.
we are targetting an early spring opening, and i'll be at the bike expo in march with more information.
and of course, you can contact me here in the comments, or directly at eeastonwest@aol.com.
everyone who has ever ridden a bike, or who ever hopes to ride a bike, thanks you!


Buckshot77 said...

Email sent Kim. I hope this thing comes through to final fruition. I should be able to at least throw in a little help with some carpentry/general labor stuff.


gpickle said...

Exciting stuff Kim, of course we of the ICBL will be happy to help in any way we can from 100+ miles away!

I think your program is going to roll like toilet paper.

Anonymous said...

I don't have much in the way of carpentry or the other skills mentioned, but would be willing to lend my muscles and elbow grease to the cause. Email sent.

Anonymous said...

one of the coolest things to hit dsm in the past few years, and another step in making our community a community. if you build it they will come - a huge boost towards the movement to create a true cycling-friendly culture in dsm!

great work! -jed

the mostly reverend said...

thanks, folks. it should be good.
g pickle, you know i'll be down to iowa city, picking that brain of yours.

Jason Parkin said...

Kim- Jason Parkin from KCCI here. Tried to e-mail you but it bounced. Please get in touch with me at wxdude@gmail.com. Thanks!

N said...

I'm a cyclist & graphic artist living in DSM, and am extremely interested in helping with this project. I also have some minor carpentry experience, for what it's worth.

Get a hold of me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the Kollective for hosting the Bike to Work reception on Monday night and the breakfast on Tuesday morning. It is great to see you getting closer to opening!