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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 | No Comments »
Could the bicycle help rebuild Detroit, you bet your ass it can!
Cars are a poison on the local economy, especially in Detroit, the bicycle however builds and supports a strong local economy. This is awesome.
Tags: awesome, bikes, detroit, video
Posted in advocacy, news, video | No Comments »
This is great news for adults looking to get into cycling but having a hard time affording a bicycle.
From the email:
Not a day goes by without a customer walking into our Bike Shop who depends on their bike but does not have the resources for repairs or a new bike.
It’s not just lack of financial resources that prevent folks from using bicycles for everyday transportation, it’s much more than that. We live in a society where systematic injustices create unequal access to opportunities.
That is why we are excited to announce the launch of Adult Earn-A-Bike.
Run by the Bike Shop, our newest program is for anyone who identifies as low income, formerly incarcerated, a recent immigrant, and/or living in an area underserved by public transportation.
We’ve already had 6 students graduate from the program with bikes, helmets, locks, lights and basic maintenance skills but there is so much to be done to make sure Adult Earn-A-Bike continues to be successful.
We’ve proven we can build effective programs that make biking more accessible for those who depend on bikes for transportation. Now we ask for your help in building Adult Earn-A-Bike to transform the lives of lower-income adults in Boston.
For Bikes Not Bombs,
P.S. Want to expand the impact of your donation this year? Consider giving monthly – you’ll provide Bikes Not Bombs with the stable and dependable funding needed to support all of our programs.
Tags: adult earn a bike, awesome, bnb
Posted in advocacy | No Comments »
The MBTA blocked access to a bike path with a giant snowbank when they plowed the parking lot at Wellington Station. We decided to do something about it!
This is a great way to get things done, but honestly, what the hell MBTA just because your systems break down in the snow doesn’t mean you have to plow the rest of us in. Cycling and Pedestrian infrastructure shouldn’t be a secondary priority during snow storms.
Tags: awesome, snow tunnel, video
Posted in advocacy, Commuting, infrastructure, video | 1 Comment »
From the always awesome Greg Hum
Tonight’s Boston Bike Party involves a short ride followed by Harpoon Beer donations and free pizza from All Star Pizza at Hub Bicycle for the after-party.Y’all are welcome to show up to the after-party if you don’t think you’ll ride, but you’d better be rocking some sweet 80s attire.
Tags: awesome, boston bike party
Posted in fun | No Comments »
Someone got me the Bikey Face Book for Baby Jesus capitalism day!!! Get your own here!
Its so well done, and funny, and the perfect book for anyone looking to get started with cycling, or anyone who appreciates humor and nice artwork.
Tags: awesome, bikey face, comic
Posted in bostonbiker, Merch | No Comments »
Thursday, December 4th at 6:00pm – 9:00pm in EST
2 days from now
Come help us celebrate the completion of another amazing season at CommonWheels with a huge party at Wonder Bar on Thursday December 4th! We’ll have three bands of live music, Pabst on tap, and a silent auction/raffle for you to take home some goodies. (oh, and we’re raising dough; this is also our opportunity to help us raise some funds for CW2015)
Bring your friends, bring some $ if you want:
* More Open Shop streetside pop-up bike shops
* More Musical Mystery Rides
* More bike donations for the kids in lower allston
* More learn to rides for the adults of these kids
* More 40 mile rides out to Walden Pond
* More monthly workshop series to teach YOU how to fix YOUR bike!
RSVP on Eventbrite here: http://cwbikesbash2014.eventbrite.com/
Tags: awesome, common wheels, Party
Posted in advocacy, fun | No Comments »
A contest where cities compete to be the most friendly is one in which we all win. And Somerville has edged out “traditional” bike friendly Cambridge for the top spot this year.
Somerville is the top bike commuting city in the Northeast, according to an annual report from the League of American Bicyclists.
Somerville beat out its neighbor, Cambridge, and New Haven, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh to capture the title. The study ranked cities by calculating the percentage of commuters who ride bikes, using 2012 American Community Survey data from the US Census Bureau.
In Somerville, 7.77 percent of commuters regularly ride bikes. Right behind them, in Cambridge about 6.49 percent of commuters travel regularly by bike.
Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said he was excited, but not surprised, by the ranking: The city has invested in bike lanes and infrastructure for years. “This is not by accident,” he said.
Hayes Morrison, Somerville’s director of transportation and infrastructure, said there’s even more on the horizon for cyclists in Somerville. Adding to the city’s 14 miles of bike lanes, 6 miles of bike paths, and 25 miles of shared roads marked for bicycle travel, the city will soon break ground on its first cycle track — a protected bike lane.
Cambridge is also gearing up to further improve biking in the city.
“Every time we redo a street, we try to make it better for walking and biking,” said Cara Seiderman, the city’s transportation program manager. (via)
Awesome! I saw that they are putting in more bike lanes on Broadway and narrowing the street with a center divider and curb extensions. All in all a great idea to turn that nasty highway like section of Broadway into a livable walk-able community. Once they get that overpass tore down in union and put in the new green line station Somerville will be THE place to ride your bike.
Tags: awesome, somerville, top biking city
Posted in Commuting, infrastructure, news | 2 Comments »