The Athens Bicycle Co-operative

Athens, Ohio has a non-profit organization of volunteers that fix and play with bikes. The intent being to create a community of people who can enjoy bikes to their fullest. To do this we need a very active and savvy bike community. We further this goal by fixing bikes, teaching volunteers about bikes, creating an environment where volunteers can teach themselves about bikes, planning bike related events, and creating ways of getting more bikes to more people.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

One week 'till AYBiTS Launch

I've set a date for our program to really get rolling. This Friday (April 3rd) there will be a sign-up event on the College Green from 10AM-4PM. I plan to bring most or all of the fleet if possible and hold orientations for new members and go over the user manual with them.
To join the program, members need to provide their name, phone, e-mail, and license number, sign a liability waiver, sign that they've read and will abide by directions in the manual, and make a donation. I'm suggesting $20 from every new member. 
I want to bring one Taxi that has every part slightly loosened. Then I can show what to look for when performing a bike-check, which is part of their duty as members to keep the fleet maintained. 
Also, Cory is letting us use the stationary pedal-powered sound system to draw some attention while we're there.

The day after, on Saturday the 4th, we'll be having the launch party. We'll take the first 25 members who want to participate in a poker run and go to all of the sponsor locations. Each person collects a playing card or two at every location and whoever has the best 5-card hand will win a custom-painted frame from the Bike Co-op, either their own bike or one of ours. I'm thinking of allowing others to participate as well, but they have to provide their own bike to do the poker run. Non-AYBiTS members will have to donate $5 in order to get a chance at the prize.
And after that, I imagine we'll move the party indoors and celebrate. By Monday, the Taxis will be spreading out and begin fulfilling their duty, unless I'm still waiting on padlocks, which haven't been ordered yet and may hold things up.

In the meantime, though, we've got some work to do finalizing the fleet. Many of the bikes are still in the decorating stage, and 4 of them are still in the paint removal stage.

Since last November, this program has been slowly dwindling the Bike Co-op's treasury. Now, however, it is beginning to regenerate some revenue. I have been doing a lot of legwork seeking sponsorships from local businesses, offering them ads in return for donations. So far, we have the Farmacy, the Import House, the Athens DIY shop, Mike's Tree Care, and Meagan's LGBT organization making monetary contributions, while the University Courtyard Apartments have donated bicycles, the Minuteman Press has been donating and reducing price on copies, the Village Bakery has set up a donation box for us, and Athens Paint and Decorating has donated 33 yellow sheets of 18"x24" coroplast. These will become cargo boxes, like the ones Independence and the Road Mistress are wearing. 

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