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Noah Hicks, a 28-year old self-styled bicycle mechanic, activist, and entrepreneur, is launching The Sip & Spoke Bike Kitchen: a minority-owned, full-service bicycle shop and cafe, in his native Dorchester. The Bike Kitchen will be housed in a historic, long-abandoned building with an important transportation-related history: a rest stop along a formerly busy streetcar line, today still an important transportation corridor that is increasingly used by local and regional cyclists.
Hicks, who grew up in Boston’s Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood, is the founder of the Bowdoin Bike School, a nonprofit bicycle repair and teaching center that engages local youth in mastering bicycle mechanics. The school, presently housed in a former automotive repair garage, is already an important community hub for youth development, economic self-sufficiency, transit justice, and health equity. By providing low-cost repair services and free instruction to over 1,200 youth and adults annually, Bowdoin Bike School has made cycling accessible to many who were underserved by traditional bike shops.
The Sip & Spoke Bike Kitchen and Bowdoin Bike School will bring new life to a historic, city-owned structure in an area of the city with limited amenities and where residents’ average income is significantly lower than the City of Boston as a whole. The project is made possible through a unique, early partnership with Historic Boston Incorporated, a nonprofit developer focused on historic preservation, and The American City Coalition, a nonprofit neighborhood revitalization group. Utile, Inc. Architecture + Planning, one of Boston’s leading architectural firms, is project architect. The partnership’s proposal was selected by the city, allowing for purchase of the property for $100.
“I will be very happy to see this unused public asset brought into productive use,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “This project will help activate the street and continue the positive momentum of this historic Boston neighborhood.”
From an early age, Hicks used biking for exercise and exposure to green spaces, and as a means to access social activities outside of his neighborhood. Hicks outgrew bicycling as he got older, and embarked on a career teaching Latin at an urban charter school. When the school closed, he returned to bicycles as an affordable alternative to public transportation or cars, and to earn money refurbishing old bicycles—many of them abandoned on city streets.
“I ended up just experimenting on a bike I bought that was in bad shape. By doing that, I was able to save myself a few dollars,” said Hicks. Hicks then started flipping bikes, buying used bikes and throwing his own personal touch to his creations, realizing that he could make 3 or 4 more times what he had spent. “I started selling bikes for income and that was huge for me,” said Hicks.
Hicks seeks to respond to the needs of low-income riders and working-class immigrants, who use the bike as a means of transportation that is both cheaper than a car and faster than walking. These “subsistence cyclists” comprise a large portion of the local and national cycling community.
“The absence of bike shops in many of Boston’s neighborhoods is very much akin to the absence of access to supermarkets,” said Richard Fries, Executive Director of MassBike. “We, as a culture, are not providing very good access to bicycles for the people who could benefit most. Noah recognizes and is responding to that need.”
“I have lived in this community for my entire life and there is a dearth of places for us to meet, to collaborate, to celebrate our neighborhood’s rich culture and unique character,” says Hicks. “Bikes and coffee are both tremendously unifying, and I see this project as an opportunity to bring people together and raise awareness about the needs of low-income riders.”
With construction financing in place for the structure, Hicks now must now raise the money for build-out costs for the historic structure—adding the amenities needed to create an inviting community hub in his Dorchester neighborhood. Hicks has launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign with the hope that other individuals committed to socially conscious cycling and building community capital will contribute.
Tags: awesome, bike school, sip and spoke
Posted in advocacy, Bike Business | 1 Comment »
This sounds awesome! A bike co-op where you can use the tools, and the collective information of the folks around you for a very reasonable price.
The Somerville Bike Kitchen (SBK) is a bicycle repair cooperative where members of the community can repair their own bikes, learn about about bike repair and attend bike events. The SBK located in a 190 sq. ft. space just outside of Davis Sq. The space is managed by four volunteer staff members and is open to the public and members for drop-in hours one night a week.
Presently, the space is open to the public and members from 6pm to 9pm every Tuesday evening. We are just getting started and are working toward having having more drop-in hours. Bike stands and tools are available on a first come first serve basis.
Tags: bike, bike kitchen, co-op, somerville
Posted in advocacy, Bike Business, crafts | No Comments »
Free snacks from The Bicycle Belle!
Tags: bicycle belle, free snacks
Posted in Bike Business, fun | No Comments »
or is New England creating new and horrible types of precipitation to hurl at my face? What exactly was that flying out of the sky around 5:30 pm today. Ice snow? Rain Hail? Tiny spike ice? It was like small bundles of ice knives flying into my eyes…totally awesome. In the biblical sense (the parts about destruction).
Tags: rant, snow ice thing
Posted in Bike Business | 1 Comment »
Capitalists make products for us! I am not a big fan of big business, but I see this sort of thing more as a sign that cycling is getting really big. Cycling is growing at a fantastic clip, and big companies smell money. You don’t have to spend lots of money on fancy bike jeans, but its nice that we make up a large enough demographic that someone is trying to sell us fancy bike jeans.
First its jeans, then what, dedicated well maintained infrastructure? Huzzah!
Tags: jeans, levis, video
Posted in Bike Business, video | 1 Comment »
What do you plan to do during the mega storm? I am sorta tempted to try riding down the big hill near my house once everything is covered with a foot of snow and no one is on the road…on one hand that is the kind of half-assed plan that gets your bones broken….but on the other hand, its also the kind of plan that might end up being hilarious and fun…so hard to know what to do.
What do you plan to do during the mega storm?
Tags: aught 15, duper, mega, snow storm, super, ultra
Posted in Bike Business, Questions | 1 Comment »
Even though its been another one of those spooky warm winters, Boston Hubway station are still closing down on the 31st, from the email:
SYSTEM ALERT: The final day of 2014 winter operations for all Boston-based stations will be Wednesday, December 31st. Though you may continue to see the Boston-based stations during the first week of January, they will not be operational, andriders will not be able to rent or return bikes to these stations.
Almost all Cambridge-based stations will remain open throughout the winter. All closed Boston stations, in addition to those based in Brookline & Somerville, are expected to relaunch again in spring 2015.
If stations you typically use are within Boston city limits, we recommend making alternative arrangements for your trips beginning on Thursday, January 1st. Hubway will continue to post updates on its website in addition to its facebook and twitter pages, so make sure to check those sites for the latest info, and to develop a contingency plan for your routes. Thank you for almost 3 million rides… and counting!ng.
For more on Hubway winter operations,
including cold-weather riding tips, visit thehubway.com/winter.
Tags: boston, closing, hubway, winter
Posted in Bike Business, Commuting, infrastructure | No Comments »
I never thought I would see the day when car drivers are now no longer the main source of frustration in my daily commute…Pedestrians we need to talk.
I feel like there has been a lot of effort to get cyclists and motorists to act less like assholes, and to my untrained eye it seems like it is working. I see far less rule breaking from these two road using classes than I did 5 years ago. The change has been slow, and we certainly have a LONG way to go, but its working.
There is one user group however that hasn’t kept up with the “new normal” of road use here in Boston, yes I am talking about you pedestrians. If anything the more orderly traffic patterns, and more well behaved motorists and cyclists seem to have emboldened you to act even worse.
In the same way that cops will pick an intersection and hand out bike tickets, and motorist tickets its time for some targeted enforcement of pedestrians. Even written warnings will do. The time it takes the cop to write out the warning is enough of a punishment to get most peoples attention.
Until that starts to happen, here are some tips for pedestrians, please stop doing the following.
Wait on the sidewalk for the light to change, do not stand in the street:
Cyclists need every inch of road we can wrestle from cars and if you are standing in the road it forces us into conflicts with much bigger more dangerous things. If its a choice between hitting you and getting hit by a car the choice is clear.
Don’t walk from between parked cars:
I feel like this is street crossing 101, but for fucks sake do you want to be hit by something? What is worse is that you are putting other people in danger with your foolishness. You will eventually be hit by something doing this, its just a matter of time. Please don’t be a jerk, don’t hurt yourself or others, walk the extra ten feet to the cross walk and cross with everyone else.
Just because the car traffic is stationary that doesn’t mean the cyclist traffic is:
Cyclists move down the bike lane, or down the right hand side of the road, just because the cars are stopped doesn’t mean the cyclists are. Playing frogger through a bunch of car traffic that isn’t moving is the same thing as jumping out from behind a parked car. You will be hit, it will hurt, you will break something. Oh by the way, just because the cars are not moving now doesn’t mean they wont start moving in a second.
If you must J walk, look both ways first!
Knowledge is knowing the street is one way, wisdom is looking both ways anyway. You might think nothing is coming, you might not hear anything, but you can’t be sure unless you look both ways. Cyclists don’t make much noise, but it will still hurt if they hit you.
You have to wait your turn:
If you want motorists and cyclists to stop at red lights, and stop signs you can’t just go when the red hand is up. Whats worse is when you look both ways, see a bunch of traffic coming, and walk out anyway. Its exactly the kind of behavior that would frustrate you if you were in a car or riding a bike, but you seem to have no problem doing it when you are walking around. You are needlessly putting yourself and others in danger, and being a jerk at the same time.
I don’t think these are unreasonable demands. Nor are they burdensome to the pedestrians that want to use the street. I understand signal timing can be wrong, or that walk times are too short, but none of that has anything to do with what I have mentioned above.
In short, stop being such an asshole and start being more invested in your own safety and the safety of those around you.
Tags: pedestrians, rant, stop trying to kill me with your stupid!
Posted in Bike Business | 12 Comments »