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I thought this article from Grist was pretty good. Its a model followed by Bikes Not Bombs, also Boston Bikes, and Hub on wheels. All to great results. I would go one further and say that if you want to empower anyone give them a bicycle. Its basically free/low cost transportation, and in a city like Boston that could be the difference between being able to take a job or not. Also having a bicycle saves you a significant amount of money on T-passes, gas, insurance, etc, which is also very important to lower income people.
Not only that but the sense of empowerment can go a long way towards giving people the confidence to thrive when they may be facing challenges.
Cycling has a reputation for being a white man’s sport, hobby, and mode of transportation. It’s an image rooted in truth — white people accounted for about 80 percent of the cycling population in the U.S. as of 2009 — but it’s far from a complete picture. From 2001 to 2009, the rates of cycling among African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians grew far more than among whites.
Ed Ewing is working hard to keep that trend going. He’s the director of diversity and inclusion for the Cascade Bicycle Club and co-founder of the Major Taylor Project, a program that uses cycling to empower underserved youth in the Seattle area. The program is named after Major Taylor, the first African-American to win a cycling world championship race.
I sat down with Ewing at his office to talk about his work, his history in bike racing, racism he’s experienced as an African American cyclist, the importance of diversity, inclusion, and equity in cycling and bike advocacy, and much more. Through the course of our conversation, Ewing dove deep. He discussed the systemic issues of race and discrimination, policies like neighborhood redlining, and poverty that shape the lives of the students he works — and he explained how cycling is connected to all of it.
Read the rest of this nice article here.
Tags: bikes, empowerment, grist
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From Livable Streets:
My name is Matt and I’m a BU grad student, active Allston community member, and
LivableStreets Commonwealth Avenue project lead. I’m writing to you for the first time today to ask for your help making Commonwealth Avenue safe for everyone to use.
The City of Boston is redesigning a section of Comm Ave, between Packard’s Corner and the Boston University Bridge. We need your help to make sure that the City takes advantage of this opportunity to create a model street that serves the large and growing population of people who bike, walk, drive, and use transit.
Join me in calling on the City to design Commonwealth Avenue for everyone to safely and comfortably use.
My fear is that the current designs for the Comm Ave project actually make the street less safe – and less enjoyable – for people to use. The plans widen street lanes (which encourages speeding), narrow the already overcrowded sidewalks, and do not improve the bike lane (which has already been the site of many injuries and at least one fatality in recent years).
Tell the City of Boston that the designs for Commonwealth Avenue must protect people who bike, walk, drive and use transit.
LivableStreets, Boston Cyclists Union, WalkBoston, MassBike and many other advocates, students and people from the neighborhood are working on this project because it impacts all of us around the City that use Comm Ave.
Thanks for your help,
LivableStreets Alliance Project Leader
Tags: action alert, Comm. Ave, livable streets
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From Bikes Not Bombs:
Bikes Not Bombs celebrated 30 years of using the bicycle as a vehicle for social change on July 4th! In the three decades since our founder Carl Kurz first brought two bikes to Nicaragua we are thrilled to have shipped56,981 bikes to partners in 14 countries. And, since our first Earn-A-Bike session in 1990 we have reached more than 3,500 youth through five sessions per year – including our girls-only version, Girls in Action. And all of our programs are taught and led by youth alumni who we offer meaningful, year-round employment through ourYouth Employment Pathways program and our youth organizing initiative, BOCA.
Our 30th anniversary not only provides us an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come, but also to look forward and plan for the future. This summer we are welcoming our largest number of youth instructors ever – together with our Earn-A-Bike participants we’ll have over 80 young people people filtering through the Hub each day! And Bikes Not Bombs not only strives to provide access to bikes and trainings, but also to transform communities — locally and globally. BNB youth are participating in an equity evaluation of the Boston Bike Plan in conjunction with the On The Move Coalition and our International Team are exploring new partnerships as our current partners grow and become more self-sufficient.
All of this work would be impossible without the caring community of volunteers and donors who have supported Bikes Not Bombs since 1984. Thank You! Stay tuned for details about our 30th anniversary party in early December!
Adult Instructor Training is a free 30-hour course taught by BNB Youth Employees that provides the foundation in basic bike mechanics, teaching methods, role modeling and leadership, and age and gender sensitivity that you need to successfully volunteer in BNB Youth Programs. In exchange for this free program, Adult Instructors are REQUIRED to volunteer a minimum of one program day per week from 3pm-7pm in at least one session of Earn-A-Bike or Girls In Action. Adult Instructor Trainings are held twice a year, in the Spring and Fall, and upcoming training dates are September 8th – 24th, Monday - Wednesday, 6-9PM.
Applications are available online and for more information, contact Ashley Leary at [email protected] or617-522-0222 x 101.
Village Bicycle Project brings bicycles to the most rural areas of Ghana and Sierra Leone and organizes village-based workshops at which people can purchase bicycles at subsidized costs and receive training in basic bicycle maintenance. VBP also provides opportunities for local mechanics to purchase subsidized bicycle tools and receive training in advanced bicycle mechanics – building the repair infrastructure to sustain the bikes long-term. By partnering with rural communities, Village Bicycle Project creates opportunities for increased mobility, leading toward social and economic development.
Please join us to help BNB load bikes to Village Bicycle Project, Ghana!
Time: Sunday, August 10th from 10am – 5pm. Drop in for an hour or stay all day.
Place: The BNB Warehouse on 10 Harvard Street in Dorchester
Details: Breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Since we’ve just reached our 30th anniversary, it is fitting to recognize a pair of volunteers who have a long history helping out at BNB, Jon Allen and Melanie Quigley! Jon writes: “I was pedaling a brand new Columbia 3-speed along Commonwealth Avenue in the summer of 1986 when a Ford Probe sped into me. The bike was totaled, but I felt that some parts might be worth donating to this non-profit I’d just heard about that recycled bikes and parts. We went to the address on Amory Street and we were told of a container loading that weekend where our help would be appreciated. (At the old space the bikes came out of the basement and had to be walked half way around the block to get to the truck so there was a lot more walking and less lifting then), so Mel and I went, and have been returning quite regularly ever since.”
Jon and Mel have been to almost EVERY loading for overseas shipments since, so they’ve now attended more container loadings than anyone else in BNB’s history! When BNB had to move in 2006, Jon and Mel constructed and painted a lot of walls and structures, first at the Hub, then the shop, then the warehouse. And they’ve become key volunteers for Bike-A-Thon logistics each year as well. This year, for example, they were here repeatedly in the week leading up to the Bike-A-Thon to check all the parts for our big tents, measure and cut ropes, sort food for the different rest stops, and prepare the bike parking tags. They traveled to Newton to help chef Brian Sway prepare food. And on the day of the Bike-A-Thon they joined the setup crew doing tents, ropes, banners, and slides. Thank you Jon and Mel for 28 years of steadfast volunteering!
Save the date! Bikes Not Bombs’ fourth annual Building Momentum Breakfast will take place Wednesday, October 22nd at 8am at Space with a Soul, near Downtown Crossing. The Building Momentum Breakfast is designed to raise financial support for Bikes Not Bombs and spread the word about our innovative work using donated bicycles as a tool for self-empowerment and community transformation. Table Captains are critical to the success of this event.
Signing up as a Table Captain is a great way to increase your impact at Bikes Not Bombs. As a Table Captain you will be responsible for bringing nine people to the Building Momentum Breakfast – friends, family, and colleagues – who you think will connect with the mission and work of Bikes Not Bombs. The event will feature breakfast from our friends at Ula Cafe, inspiring stories from individuals who have been impacted by our work, a short video, and more. We’ll guide you through the process and provide you with all the information and materials you’ll need. While this is a fundraiser, there is no obligation for Table Captains or guests to donate at the event.
BNB will be holding an information session for anyone interested in becoming a Table Captain onMonday, July 21st from 6:30-7:30pm at the BNB Hub. Please RSVP to Erica Rotman, Director of Fundraising & Events, at [email protected], or contact her if you would like more information about becoming a Table Captain.
Read about last year’s Building Momentum Breakfast.
Wednesday July 16 6:00pm
Museum of African American History – 46 Joy Street Beacon Hill Boston
Interview | Audience Q&A | Reception | Booksigning
ADMISSION: General: $5; youth (13 – 17) and seniors (62+): $3
Don’t miss the Boston Globe’s Derrick Jackson, an avid cyclist, history buff, photographer, and award-winning Op-Ed columnist, as he interviews author Lorenz “Larry” Finison about his new book, “Boston’s Cycling Craze, 1880-1900: A Story of Race, Sport and Society.”
The author and the journalist will share how athletes and individuals of all backgrounds made Boston a hub of 19th-century bicycling. The story includes a woman of color, Kittie Knox, who challenged conformity due to self-styled outfits and insistence on riding a man’s bike; Mary Sargent Hopkins, a self-proclaimed expert on women’s cycling and publisher of The Wheelwoman; and Abbot Bassett, long affiliated with the League of American Wheelman and as a cycling advocate.
Finison’s book shows how these and other recreational and competitive bikers interacted on the road and in their cycling clubhouses, often constrained by issues of race, class, religion, and gender. Meet descendants of some of the early cyclists who will be in the audience. Bikes Not Bombs will co-host the program along with Discover Roxbury, Roxbury Bicycle Brigade, and UMass Press.
This July our Basic Repair and Maintenance Clinic will be on Wednesday the 16th from 8-9pm . Our Flat Fixing Clinic will be on Thursday July 24th from 8-9pm. As always there is no need to sign up, but please be punctual and show up by 8pm!
Women’s Bike Social
Join Boston Bikes on July 10th, 5:30 pm for a Boston Tasting Tour! The group will ride and eat their way through the South End and Back Bay before grabbing dessert in the North End.
Join the best Boston commuters at a commuting celebration! Free breakfast and coffee from Boloco at City Hall Plaza. Stop by the Bikes Not Bombs tent to say hi! Hosted by Boston Bikes July 18th 7-9am.
Boston Remembers Hiroshima: Moving from Violence to Unity
Boston Remembers Hiroshima: Join Mass Peace Action, Dorchester People for Peace and others including Bikes Not Bombs, in this event connecting neighborhoods of Boston to City Hall. First Church Boston, 66 Marlborough St, August 6, 3pm, procession through Common to City Hall Plaza. Taiko drumming, Japanese “Soran Bushi” dancers, singing, speakers, action.
Tags: bikes not bombs, turns 30!
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Tags: massbike, update
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This looks like an awesome project, if you have some extra bucks laying around toss them a few, good cause and good people. They are only trying to raise 10k, and already have about half that, but only have 4 days left!
I am a proud, lifelong resident of the Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood of Dorchester.
We are a diverse, vibrant community which has been scarred by decades of poverty and violence. Most residents are renters and working-class homeowners facing some serious economic challenges, but we share our resources and take care of our own.
We spend over a quarter of our gross income on transportation. Though we are only 4 miles from downtown Boston, decent mass transit options are out of reach. If you are supporting yourself on low or no income, your best options are to scrape enough money together to keep a car on the road, or spend most of your time in the neighborhood. Can we even consider these options?
A decade ago, I found peace and freedom in the form of a beat down Huffy. I was, to put it lightly, broke as hell. I was struggling to retain stable housing; underemployed, then unemployed, living on a fixed income. I eventually learned to repair and maintain my own bicycle, and was able to access employment and social opportunities all over the city for FREE. I became a shop-trained bicycle mechanic, restoring and selling classic bicycles on my free time. I was able to turn my hobby into serious money and turn that money into serious opportunity. Cycling has changed my life.
For years, I worked as a volunteer teacher, mechanic, and event planner at neighborhood cycling programs throughout the city. In the summer of 2013, I got fed up with watching my neighbors struggle, called some friends and brought a few tools down to the Bowdoin-Geneva Community Hub, a formerly blighted vacant lot which the Sustainability Guild had transformed into a lively gardening and activity space. The response was TREMENDOUS. Young and old, experienced cyclists and curious newbies stopped by, asked questions and went to work. We enjoyed a consistent volunteer corps of youth and adult mechanics from Bowdoin-Geneva and surrounding communities. We kicked butt!
This summer, we are hoping to deal an even bigger blow to the problems facing our community. We’ll be renovating our shop with the tools, storage, equipment, and retail goods our neighborhood deserves.
We represent a diverse group of artists, lifelong neighborhood residents, single parents, youth on summer break, members of the formerly homeless community, and friends who share one simple goal: to get more butts on bikes. We will obtain and refurbish as many bicycles for the community as our hands and time will allow. Money we raise through donations and sales will help us open a brick-and-mortar bike shop and cafe by the Spring of 2015. Skill-sharing and community-building are invaluable, but this community needs well-paying jobs now.
Thank you for supporting our work!
What We Need:
- PARTS- We sold inner tubes, lights, locks, helmets, brakes, tires, and a bunch of other cycling essentials last year. We use the honor system where people pay what they can. Donations help to keep this system viable.
- FOOD & BEVERAGE- We make sure to keep ourselves properly fed, hydrated, and caffeinated.
- TOOLS- We need enough tools, aprons, and more for our team to share.
- RENT- We will be hosted by the Sustainability Guild all summer, but the beautiful shed we call home was no match for chilly October weather and waning daylight last year. Let’s collect enough seed money to rent an yearlong space, purchase insurance, register as a business, and finance a world-class shop installation (because our community deserves the best). Consider yourself a venture collectivist.
MATERIAL GOODS – Bicycles and gently-used parts are valued and needed. Watch us spin steel and aluminum into gold. Contact [email protected] or 857.453.9533 to co-ordinate dropoff/pickup.
You may not be able to support us with your money or goods, but you can support us by word-of-mouth. Tell the world!
Tags: bowdoin bike repair school, funds for a good cause
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Cars are pretty bad. Its probably not very hard to come up with a dozen bad things our use of cars has done for the planet, for cities, and for people. You might be thinking you can escape thous bad effects by riding a bicycle instead. And for the most part this is true.
But there is one danger posed by cars that still holds true when you ride your bicycle. Pollution, specifically cancer and asthma causing pollution.
A fascinating study from the Harvard school of public health shows that car drivers are not just hurting themselves, but are also hurting everyone who chooses not to drive cars. For most things in this country your right to do whatever you want, extends right up until they hurt someone else, however it seems that when it comes to environmental damage we still have the idea that the sky is a public dumping ground and anyone can inflict damage on anyone else.
Luckily it seems that bike paths and use of proper planning can greatly reduce the exposure to these pollutants. Combined with the added health benefits of cycling, and the reduction of single car occupants on the road, cycling is still one of the single greatest ways to make yourself healthier, and make everyone else healthier at the same time.
From the Harvard School of Public Health:
Boston has installed more than 50 miles of bike lanes since 2007, and the number of pedal-powered commuters in the city, while only 2.1%, is more than three times the national average. To help urban planners continue to improve bike friendliness, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) set out to determine the types of lanes that expose cyclists to the smallest amount of vehicle pollution.
The researchers attached a mobile monitoring unit to the back of a bicycle and hit the road to sample two types of pollutants from vehicular exhaust—black carbon and nitrogen dioxide—known to increase the risk of asthma, heart disorders, and other health problems. They traveled five common bicycling routes in the city during both morning and evening commutes, to compare bike paths, which are separated from the road, and bike lanes, which run adjacent to traffic.
Bike paths had the best air quality, with concentrations of both pollutants about a third lower than on bike lanes. This was true even when bike paths near crowded streets were compared with bike lanes on quieter streets, suggesting that separation from the road and a protective barrier of vegetation, such as trees and bushes, makes a difference. Bike paths also allow cyclists to bypass intersections, where idling cars make the air quality particularly bad.
Piers MacNaughton, SM ’14, led the data analysis, which was published online May 16, 2014 in Science of the Total Environment. He earned his degree in the Exposure, Epidemiology and Risk Program in the Department of Environmental Health and will start a PhD in the program this fall.
A bike commuter himself, MacNaughton said the aim of the study is not to scare off city bicyclists but rather to provide evidence to shape future urban planning—particularly now that Boston is on the short list of host cities for the 2024 Olympics. “They are really pushing to be a biking capital. I wanted to get this research out so that when they start developing more bike lanes, they can do so in a smart way,” MacNaughton said.
Read Boston Globe coverage: Cyclists, don your gas masks
Tags: harvard school of public health, pollution, science
Posted in advocacy, Commuting, infrastructure | No Comments »
Livable streets is collecting data on which intersections need to be made better, see below for details.
Tags: infrastructure, livable streets, survey, upgrade
Posted in advocacy, Commuting, infrastructure | No Comments »
Bikes not bombs is awesome, and Flatbread pizza isn’t half bad, put the two together and wham lovely fundraiser for a lovely cause:
Join Bikes Not Bombs for a night of pizza, a raffle & bowling at Flatbread Somerville! Flatbread has generously offered to donate a portion of each flatbread sold (dine-in & take-out) to BNB.
The event will be from 5-10pm at Flatbread Somerville at 45 Day St. Somerville, MA 02144. The Bikes Not Bombs staff will be riding over from the BNB Hub (284 Amory St. Jamaica Plain, MA 02130) at 4pm if you would like to join!
See you there!
FB Event: https://www.facebook.com/
Bikes Not Bombs: https://bikesnotbombs.org
Tags: bikes not bombs, flatbread, somerville
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