written by Andrew, our Program Director. Click here to donate today to B4H!
Bikes for Humanity isn't your typical bike shop. It isn't your typical bike school. And that's what makes it such an awesome and unique volunteer experience. On a given week in the bike season there are 6 days for individuals in our community to show up, pitch in, and expand access to bikes. Whether their desire is to learn skills, find community, or help others, volunteers contribute to all sides of the organization. They volunteer to get bikes out of the waste stream, support fossil-fuel free transportation, or earn a bike for themselves to ride. They volunteer because they love bikes, they love community, or they just love all sides of it!
We get volunteers from all walks of life who come with the belief that community should include everyone. We are proud to do work that expands access to bikes regardless of economic or housing status, and we are proud that we are able to do this in a way that includes as many members of our community as possible in the process.
I have been volunteering with Bikes for Humanity for over four years now, and one thing has become clear to me in that time: there are lots of strategies for getting more bikes out in the world, but the best strategy isn't the one that gets the most bikes out there. The best strategy is the one that creates meaningful and inclusive community, empowers individuals who might not look like traditional cycling advocates, and demonstrates that if we work together we can reduce our carbon footprint as we increase access to already existing materials.
Here's a few numbers to show you what we've accomplished this year:
2267 hours put in by
54 of whom earned bikes in the process in
3 locations where we took in over
500 bikes that were donated, with over
300 of which were readopted
100+ of which are staged to be repaired at Chain Reaction, our space in Gresham, and in our basement on Powell and
15 of which are ready to adopt in our shop on Powell which leaves
1 ton of metal hauled by bike to be recycled down the street.
800+ repairs have been granted from SW Portland to Gresham at
20 external events, including
10 free events run at Main City Park in Gresham
2 Repair Cafes and
5 Sunday Parkways
For this most part, these programs are supported by bike adoptions, and sales and service in our shop. Through the winter, adoptions, sales, and service decrease dramatically, but we continue to provide free weekly mechanic workshops, open hours where anyone can help or get help with their bike, earn-a-bike opportunities, and bike grant partnerships where donated bikes are refurbished and donated to individuals through partner organizations. We need your help to make it through the winter, and start out strong in the Spring--
Support our year-end fundraiser!
As of this post, we have already had folks reach out with $555 of donations, nearly 10% of the way to our goal! That gives us just under two weeks to rally support for a strong fundraiser. Consider donating today, or share our campaign with friends, family, and on social media telling them why access to safe, affordable bikes, and meaningful free programs for the Portland community matter to you! Donate today and help us on our way to our goal!
I am personally grateful to Bikes for Humanity for the amazing opportunity I have to devote myself full time to its mission. To hear stories like this one from our volunteers, to see the smiles on the faces of volunteers who realize they’ve banked enough hours to take a bike home today, or to see the sublime looks of connection-making as cyclists become mechanics.
I’m especially proud that we’ve created a job for my co-worker Lori, our Thursday-Friday shop host, and have been able to employ her for almost a year. We’ve already celebrated a year since she came in to volunteer to see if she would take to some of the skills needed to run a shop, and in that time she’s got those skills and bunch more under her belt. I love that my coworker brings her plush dog Missie in every day and let’s me put her in the boss’s stool to run the space, listens to country music on cassette, and humors me by wearing a funny hat when I bring one in to prepare for a sunny event outside.
Help keep our space open to everyone, and donate today!