• Still Needed: Newark Urban Bike Project or Co-op

    by  • March 13, 2011 • Bike Projects & Co-ops, Education • 0 Comments

    Many folks  who ride a bicycle for transportation face disproportionate challenges to biking, including:

    • Limited knowledge of cyclists’ rights due to lacking advocacy involvement;
    • Sub-standard bicycles and safety equipment;
    • Limited transportation options due to price and/or proximity;
    • Dangerous streets with fewer provisions for safe bicycling;
    • Increased likelihood of bicycle theft and robbery due to limited parking;
    • Lack of health insurance.

    These factors make cycling policy and outreach an important issue that has long-been ignored. Job access for many residents (not all lower income) is a function of their access to public transit, and communities are often far from public transportation. This not only increases transportation costs for those that must have cars, but helps keep poor areas poor.

    This is why an organization like the Urban Bike Project is such a huge and worthy cause. And why we need one in Newark and other towns and cities in Delaware. After waking up this morning and finding this –

    the author decided to join UBP’s Board of Directors at the recent Newark Bike Swap. The author will be advocating for a similar organization in Newark. What you see above has been a regular occurrence since the author left his garage door open too long one day a few years ago, and word spread about the neighborhood bike mechanic/nut.

    Below is a closer-up view of the work order. I think it was “Steve”, 8 houses down on the right.

    The typical bicycle cooperative is a city or on-campus bicycle repair shop servicing riders of all types in the bicycle community, particularly those who rely on a bicycle for transportation and may not drive. There are far more of these folks than most people realize. The focus is to teach basic bicycle repair and maintenance techniques that will help keep rider and bicycle on the road. Typically, these shops are a “do-it-yourself” environment where the necessary tools, resources, and instruction are provided to enable the rider to maintain his/her own bicycle. They sometimes include a small retail area as well, where you can purchase the necessary parts to repair your bike and essential accessories to make your commute both safe and comfortable. And, it’s not unusual that they provide pay-for-service repairs by trained staff, for those who may not have the time to do their own maintenance.

    An “invisible rider”, as they are often referred to, heading for the I95 overpass.

    Typically, these shops are a “do-it-yourself” environment where the necessary tools, resources, and instruction are provided to enable the rider to maintain his/her own bicycle. They sometimes include a small retail area as well, where you can purchase the necessary parts to repair your bike and essential accessories to make your commute both safe and comfortable. And, it’s not unusual that they provide pay-for-service repairs by trained staff, for those who may not have the time to do their own maintenance.

    Let’s hope this concept becomes a reality one day in the Newark area. UPDATE:  Check out the new Newark Bike Project!

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