The mission of Bikes for Humanity has been put into action this year like never before.
That mission, to substantially increase public access to affordable and safe bicycles while empowering self-sufficiency in bicycle maintenance and commuting, has been implemented this year at free tune-up clinics at bike fairs from Beaverton to Gresham, and everywhere in between, with over 1,000 free repairs provided for free to the Portland community at 20 events.
On Earth Day B4H was able to run two free tune-up clinics at two separate external events as well as our daily volunteer repair clinic at the shop.
Through our bike grant events and financial aid programs we have given away over 100 bikes to kids and commuters in need.
Our Chain Reaction co-op mechanics training has allowed 25 of Central City Concern clients to build their own bike, know how to maintain and repair it, and open up opportunities for employment. 6 clients have returned as volunteers to Chain Reaction, several have been able to bike to job interviews, and one gentleman is already making a living through bike deliveries on the bike he proudly built himself.
Our volunteer mechanics class has trained 70 volunteers in the full suite of bike repair and overhaul in 6 8-week sessions, with current session holding a record 20 students.
Our organization has not only been able to do more of what we do best, but also seen some changes. Most notably, Steven has retired from the organization he began over a decade ago to embark on an epic bike journey around the world. You can read about his adventures on our blog.
We have been able to bring Chris Nelson, who has been B4H’s volunteer instructor for years, as our full-time shop manager. Our location on Powell is no longer a volunteer/classroom space, but a fully equipped professional bike shop, where tune-ups, repairs, and even consignment sales by volunteer’s refurbished bikes are available to the public.
We have also been able to hire our programming coordinator, Scott Anselmo, to run the shop the other half of the week, allowing him to focus full-time on Bikes for Humanity.
We could estimate the number of bike donations that have been turned into safe, working commuting machines instead of scrap metal and trash, along with the number of volunteer hours logged in conjunction with all of these milestones, but it would not be precise, for there’s always the squeak of brakes on the wind, which means only one thing: someone needs a break adjustment, and that’s where our precision is needed. We do know we have made over 1,000 bikes more rideable, or rideable at all, as a service for the community, and granted over 125 bikes that otherwise were not in use or working condition to people who need them.
This year has been a testament to the power of volunteers, and the need for our organization, and its mission and work, in Portland.
To make sure Bikes for Humanity can continue into 2016 with this momentum WE NEED YOUR HELP. Slow shop sales have made it clear that our organization needs public support to continue running through the winter. While Steven was volunteering full-time for the organization we were able to proliferate without fundraising.
However, that model has changed, and we need the financial support of everyone who believes in our mission and programming. And since we live in Portland, we know that support exists, but not everybody knows about us.
That’s why we need your help in spreading the word of our work and our needs, and to contribute whatever you can to our year-end fundraising efforts!