Starting an Evolution

Hows this for inspiration:
The Community Cycling Center here in Portland Oregon, has a "Create a Commuter" program that provides low-income adults with fully-outfitted commuter bicycles and five hours of training on safe bicycle commuting. The program is the first of its kind in the nation, and it represents an extraordinary level of cooperation between state and local governments and non-profit social service agencies. Each year they they are able to provide bikes and training to 375 people, out of the 800+ who apply.

The program participants receive their bicycles free of charge. Over 60% use their bikes to commute to work and run errands, nearly 50% use their bikes every day, 30% use the bikes five or more trips per week, 50 weeks per year, and considering that the expected life of the bicycles is three years, the cost per trip is $0.39. Cost per trip includes people with special needs and the necessary additions to their bikes (such as handlebar modification or extra strong wheels).

For most people, the daily commute to work amounts to little more than the jangle of a key chain, monotony, and morning radio. But for 11 percent of the residents of Oregon --up to 25 percent of those in some neighborhoods-- the commute cannot be taken so easily for granted. Those residents can not afford to own an automobile and find themselves dependent on the schedules, routes, and sluggish pace of public transport - or worse, having to walk long distances to get to and from work.

Recipients of the program receive high quality, fully refurbished commuter bicycles that are outfitted with front and rear lights, a lock, a helmet, a pump, fenders, a rear rack and rack container, tool and patch kits, maps, and raingear. Recipients are prepared with everything they need to be a 24 hour a day, year 'round, all weather bicycle commuters. When they receive their bikes, recipients also attend a five hour workshop designed to teach them the fundamentals of urban bicycle commuting, including rules of the road and riding safety, and basic training in bike maintenance and emergency roadside repair.

Similarly, The Bicycle Alliance of Washington
has launched a Bike Buddy program, designed to create bike commuters by linking new riders with more experienced commuters; and the good folks at Hiawatha Cyclery have followed suit with a volunteer program to match new cyclist with mentors in the Minneapolis area

Now, just imagine if these programs got started nation wide . .


Austin of Sundrip Journals said...

this is a very nice idea. i like it a lot. its my first heartfelt smile of the day. thank you.

you know how much i pay to go to the store every month? 20 bucks. when i need to go just about anywhere i end up shelling out some serious cash to do it. my equalibrium is messed up so bike riding isnt an option for me but man i know many are benefiting from your efforts. for them i thank you.

griffin said...

Thanks for posting. It is a shame that not everyone can use bikes, there certainly are medical conditions and other issues that prevent going by bike, I'm sorry thats true in your case.
The hope is that if everyone who can make the shift to bikes does, the world will be a better place for everyone: better air, stronger communities, safer streets. Who knowa, mabe rickshaw cabs for folks who cant peddle their own bikes
Stay strong, thanks for reading my blog