Last Sunday Poplar Ridge Meeting invited Friends Bike Clinic to hold a bike repair clinic after their meeting for worship. I brought some electric bikes there for people to try, and with them the message that reducing our dependence on automobiles is important. We had some wonderfully sincere discussions, the type of interaction that Quakers excel at. Afterthoughts (a period after meeting for worship during which people talk about messages given during meeting) centered around the topic of protest, including civil rights protest in the past and the recent climate march. There seemed to be a general feeling that protest is in the air, and Quakers are called upon to lead once again. I added that the climate issue calls for a different kind of protest; it’s less of a “speak truth to power” situation and more of a “let your life speak” situation. Translation for non-Quakers: it’s less important to appeal to authorities (the government, the fossil fuel industry, and Wall Street) and more important to lead by example.
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Next Sunday 5/4 1pm to 5pm we’ll bring our tools to the Streets Alive event so that people can get help and help others fix bicycles. There will be many other activities including free electric bike rides by Boxy Bikes. As a consequence, we will not set up at the meetinghouse next Sunday.
Later in May FBC will host a “breakfast station” at the Quaker Meetinghouse for Bike to Work & School Day. We’ll be serving up oatmeal to all heroic bicycle commuters who stop by on Friday May 16th from 7:30 to 9:30am.
Ithaca Generator has been hosting a basic bike repair class in the new Press Bay Alley space. Students are volunteering to help out at bike clinics this spring and summer. The schedule is here; feel free to add yourself to this list as well.
FBC is proud to announce that we won a $350 Sustainable Tompkins Neighborhood Mini-grant. The grant will mainly go towards providing people with free brake shoes and brake cables. If you bike in hilly Ithaca, you know that it’s very important to have your brakes in good working order!
Friends Bike Clinic, in collaboration with Ithaca Generator, is offering a beginning bike repair class. John Guttridge of Urban Core LLC has generously allowed the class to take place in his Press Bay Alley retail space, affectionately know as the “Crystal Palace”. Students who take the class will informally serve as bike mechanics for bike clinics this summer. Details about the class are here. You are welcome to sign up late.
This month I traveled to Poplar Ridge Meeting (about half an hour northeast of Ithaca) not knowing what to expect. What I found was a vibrant welcoming meeting that had about a dozen bikes for us to work on together. One person gave me a chocolate bar, another brought bowls of soup, and my host Andrew Simkin gave me expert assistance and great conversation as we worked together. What a joy!
We held our final downtown bike repair clinic for the season on August 20th and our final meetinghouse clinic on August 25th. However, there is still work to be done! Over the season we’ve accumulated lots of bike parts and we haven’t had time to sort through them. If you’d like to help us do that, come to the meetinghouse at our regularly scheduled time of 1pm to 3pm on September 1st and 8th.
A big thanks to our spring interns Rosie Altucher (above) and Andrew Lem. You guys fearlessly and relentlessly helped dozens of people fix their bikes. And a big welcome to our summer interns: Morgan Michel-Schottman and (returning for a second term) Andrew Lem.
Friends Bike Clinic joined the Ithaca Festival Parade this year, first by doing a security sweep by bike and then by marching with the Ithaca Generator makerspace. Thanks to Xanthe Matychak for most of these photos. More photos here.
Our latest bike clinics have been well attended, with several people coming to the downtown clinic last week and half a dozen people attending the meetinghouse clinic yesterday. We’ve also been holding clinics at various events. Last week I traveled to the Ovid Library where my friend Shannon O’Connor was managing their annual plant sale. I enjoyed their hospitality and I helped several people fix their bikes. And last Thursday Friends Bike Clinic hosted a breakfast station at the meetinghouse for 40 people or so who biked to work for national Bike to Work Day.
A side note: I am starting an electric bike cooperative at Ecovillage with my friend and fellow electric bike enthusiast David McCobb. We held an informal gathering at Ecovillage yesterday that was well-attended. David and I combined our fleets of electric bikes so that we had almost a dozen bikes of various sizes and capacities for people to try.