and were off!

Pedaler’s Paradise  is community-based bicycle building, repair, education and advocacy program committed to transforming bicycling from occasional recreation to valid, safe transportation in the Kanawha Valley. The Charleston Adult and Youth Environmental Network is a grassroots coalition working together to protect our planet and our future, starting in the Kanawha Valley. We focus on challenging structure by encouraging change in current political, social and economic systems through education, empowerment, legislation and action.

CAYEN has found bicycles are the most affordable, sustainable, efficient, healthy, environmentally friendly, fun and liberating forms of transportation and recreation (besides one’s own two feet). Bicycles currently displace over 238 million gallons of gasoline per year, by replacing car trips with bicycle trips. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics 41.3 million Americans (20%) used a bicycle for transportation in the 30 days measured in the survey. Bicycling is the second most preferred form of transportation after the automobile, ahead of public transportation.

Pedaler’s Paradise aims to share tools and knowledge about bicycles and cycle maintenance to anyone willing to invest a bit of time and sweat-equity .  

Understanding the SKVI grant is a year-long, project-based grant, CAYEN will use the grant used to build the physical shop – the core of a sustainable foundation in which to establish a long-term, community-based environmental and social bicycle advocacy program.

The Shop:

The shop is a fully-stocked bicycle mechanic shop where donated, second-hand, and landfill-bound bikes will be used to teach cyclists how to repair and build their own bicycles.  The shop seeks to promote bike use, self-empowerment and education by giving people free access to everything they need to repair and maintain their own bicycles, and also provide an opportunity for Charleston’s bike-less to build one. Aspects of the Shop include:

Tools, Materials (break pads, handlebars), Supplies (deruster, oil, etc.), Environment (design, artwork, ambiance) and Infrastructure (storage, organization, etc.)

The shop will be based on the working models of a few successful bicycle collectives/projects:

Velocipede Bike Project, Baltimore, MD · Recycle-a-Bicycle, New York City, NY · RUBARB, New Orleans, LA

The bicycle shops in the Charleston area are cost prohibitive to many low-income cyclists. Bicycles can run into thousands of dollars and repairs can also be impossibly expensive to someone living below the poverty level, as many West Virginians do. The shop will fill a huge void in the Kanawha Valley bicycle transportation community. 

 The Project:

To meet the goals of education and transportation, Pedaler’s Paradise will offer:

Ways to build or get your own bike – come in and pick out two bikes, one for you & one for Pedaler’s Paradise to sell, for a donation, in the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Pedaler’s Paradise aims to share tools and knowledge about bicycles and cycle maintenance to anyone willing to invest a bit of time and sweat-equity.  

Understanding the SKVI grant is a year-long, project-based grant, CAYEN will use the grant used to build the physical shop – the core of a sustainable foundation in which to establish a long-term, community-based environmental and social bicycle advocacy program.

The bicycle shops in the Charleston area are cost prohibitive to many low-income cyclists. Bicycles can run into thousands of dollars and repairs can also be impossibly expensive to someone living below the poverty level, as many West Virginians do. The shop will fill a huge void in the Kanawha Valley bicycle transportation community. 

Build-A-Bike program – after completing a series of four steps, which include learning basic maintenance and bike building skills, adults and youth earn bikes that they take home with them. 
step #1: fixing a flat.  participants learn to patch a punctured tube and should then be able to fix their own

step #2: overhauling a wheel.  this step requires the earn-a-biker to take apart a wheel, regrease it, and put it back together. 

step #3:  overhauling a bike.  this is the time when the cyclist picks out a bike to earn and begins working on it.

step #4: help beautify Pedaler’s Paradise & share knowledge with the wold. participants do something to help brighten, organize, or simply make the shop a more enjoyable space.  This can include making t-shirts, painted a mural, created a sculpture out of bike parts, organized materials and painted ornaments for made out of rims. Those who learn a thing or two in the shop are also expected to pass it on … there’s a lot of us out here who need to learn a thing or two!

Open Shop – Open Shop is a time for bike repair and general bike maintenance for folks who have a bicycle. One of the knowledgeable volunteers will show virtually any bicycle maintenance procedure, step-by-step.

Advocacy – West Virginia ranked 42 in bicycle friendliness by the League of American Bicyclists, an advocacy group. Yet many Mountaineers enjoy cycling. In the Charleston area, there are already established cycling communities and projects Pedaler’s Paradise can cooperate with in the growth of Charleston as a cycle-friendly community. For example: Mountain State Wheelers, Kanawha Trestle Rail Trail, Kanawha City Bike Path, Greater Charleston Greenway Project, Midland Trail Scenic Highway Association and, of course, Spokes for Folks. In fact, Peddler’s Paradise and Spokes for Folks, currently gaining status as a 501c3 non-profit, have agreed to collaborate and share resources in order to build a cohesive community bicycle program.

Safe Routes to Schools – Focuses on teaching children about the broad range of transportation choices, instructing them in important lifelong bicycling safety skills as well as using events and activities to promote walking and bicycling. Examples are Annual Bike to School and Biking School Buses.

Education – One Day Workshops and Clinics and long-term Bicycle Maintenance Courses will deal with a variety of topics ranging from basic mechanics skills to advanced technical maintenance.  Other topics will include safe urban riding and preventing theft.  Pedaler’s Paradise will also offer events promoting bicycle culture such as films, gatherings and informational sessions for advocacy.
 Funding – A monthly fee of $30 or 3 hours of volunteer time (subject to change) entitles a member to unlimited use of tools and services. Any extra volunteer hours can be put towards parts. Once membership is reached a member may pick out a frame to fix up for him/herself.  Extra hours or trade may be required in order to leave with the bike depending on the quality of the bike selected.  This does not include involvement in the Build-A-Bike, a four-step, inclusive program. Open shop hours are still available with use of  tools and services. However, there is a $5-$15 or 30-45 minutes of volunteer time donation asked for in return for “drop in” tool use.

Pedaler’s Paradise will also apply for additional grants from government and private organizations. 

Sustainability

CAYEN and Pedaler’s Paradise are committed to living sustainable to the core. While embracing a philosophy of participating in the economy and consumption of resources in a limited way (I.E., reusing as much old, free stuff as possible), we will also consume resources in a responsible way – all supplies, tools, etc., will be bought from small business that are committed to giving back to the community and uses responsible business practices. In the transformation of the building space, priority will be given to alternative energy sources and materials. Materials used for the program will be recycles as much as possible, as well.

Advertisements

5 responses to “and were off!

  1. Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

  2. This looks great, Zoe.

  3. I’m so proud of you guys! You make me wish I was still in Charleston!! I hope to come visit when I get a little money. Keep doing awesome things… Miss y’alls!

  4. Congratulations, it sounds like you’re getting going on a good foundation. Positive Spin will be in your area giving bike/ped classes at Piedmont Elementary in April. Any chance we can stop by for a visit? btw I’ll be qualified to certify instructors by that time so you can teach local classes. Let me know if you’re interested.
    Thanks!

  5. Praise God for this program.This is a much needed program which helps the community help those in need of bicycles or those whom are environmentalists(Go Green) and save our earth from pollutants.Thank u Spokes2Folks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s