Bici Libre Open for Wrenching

March 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Posted in Bike News | 2 Comments
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The new front door of Bici Libre

Behold, a new development in the on-going Bike Wrangler saga! As you will recall, the Bike Wrangler is the program (run by Jonny Green and Bobby Gadda on the LACBC side) that is working with institutions to  acquire abandoned and donated bikes and provide them to folks in low-income areas. This is supported by Project RENEW and the LA County Department of Public Health. (The full history of this program is documented at length in this post). Collecting all those bikes and fixing them up called for setting up a bike warehouse/workshop space, which we did here at 1205 W. 6th st.

Volunteers working on bikes in the shop. Note the fancy toolboard!

It soon became clear that the workshop itself was a great benefit of this project. We have had volunteers coming in to work in the shop on a regular basis, turning out over 80 bikes to folks in low-income areas. In the process we have built up a new workspace for bikes. We have a new goal now of having this space become it’s own bike co-op, similar to the Bicycle Kitchen at Heliotrope and Melrose.

To that end, we first had to come up with catchy name to for our fledgling bike co-op. Taking inspiration from our volunteers and the language usually spoken in the neighborhood, we are calling it Bici Libre (roughly translates to “free the bikes”). The idea is to free bikes from being trapped in dusty garages, basements and impound lots, and get them back with people who want to ride them! (unfortunately destroying a lot of spider habitat in the process). We had a meeting with a bunch of the regular volunteers to start to figure out how to run the space:

Our first volunteer meeting. It begins!

We decided on having volunteer night on Thursday night from 6 to 9PM. This is a time for the volunteers to get together, eat some food, and work on their own bikes, as well as help folks in the neighborhood fix their own bikes. We have had a great time the last two Thursdays getting to know each other better and learning bike repair in the process. If you need to get your bike tuned up and want to learn more about bike repair, come on down! We are also usually in the shop 10AM to 5PM Tuesday through Friday, when we are working on the bikes for the grant.  Email bobby@la-bike.org if you are interested in volunteering.  See you in the shop!

PS: Our shop is pretty well set for tools now, but lacking one crucial item: a good vise. The old U.S. made ones are a lot better – if you have one of these you aren’t using let us know!

Good Samaritan Hospital helps out the Bike Wrangler

February 23, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Posted in Bike News | 3 Comments
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Just a quick update on the Bike Wrangler program – I want to thank Good Samaritan Hospital for helping us out in many ways. Our new space is located at 1205 W. 6th st. (at 6th and Lucas), which just happens to be right across the street from Good Sam. They are great advocates for bicycling for health, and support both LACBC and CicLAvia, as well as hosting the annual Blessing of the Bikes (which is coming up in May!)

We were introduced to their facilities staff through the very helpful Katrina Bada. Mike Myers in Maintenance let us know that they were recycling a bunch of old furniture and equipment, and invited us to come take a look to see if we wanted anything. It turned out to be a treasure trove of stuff very useful to a fledgling bike workshop:

Part of the haul from Good Samaritan

We took many file cabinets, which are super useful for organizing and storing bike parts. We also got some really solid shelves and workbenches, and some fantastic adjustable stools, which are perfect for working on bikes. This donation really helped get our shop up off the ground.

In a somewhat less glamorous, but just as helpful role, Jeffrey Romero from Environmental Services let us use Good Sam’s dumpsters for our construction debris.

Thanks to Good Samaritan, we are getting close to a fully functioning bike workshop! We have been working in the space Tuesday through Friday most afternoons. If you want to help out fixing up the bikes, or donate some bikes, shoot me an email at bobby@la-bike.org

Volunteers working on bikes in the shop on Wednesday

-Bobby

Work Parties at the Bike Wrangler Space

January 20, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 3 Comments
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The newest bike workshop space in Los Angeles needs your help! This is the space where Jonny Green and Bobby Gadda are collecting abandoned bikes from around the county, fixing them up and distributing them to workshops and other bike coops in Los Angeles. It is already up and running; we have about 40 bikes now, and have been working on the bikes with volunteers in the shop. Our first collection of repaired bikes is going out next Tuesday to a workshop in South LA. If you want to help out with repairing and tuning up the bikes during a weekday, email bobby@la-bike.org.

As you can see in the pictures below, we need some help with sprucing up the place:

Jonny, Bobby and Dan inside the shop. Photo Credit: Joe Linton

Jonny outside the shop. We already tore down the Beer/Wine awning, we need a new one! Photo Credit: Joe Linton

We need help patching holes in the walls, priming and painting, working on making a new awning for the outside, as well as general cleanup. Eventually we want to cultivate a community bike co-op space modeled after the bicycle kitchen in this space, so the more inviting it looks, the better!

The location is 1205 W. 6th St., at Lucas. This is across the street from Good Samaritan Hospital.

We have two work parties coming up, the first is next Thursday, the 27th, from 5PM to 9:30PM. Tasks will include moving equipment, cleaning and patching the walls, and starting the priming.

The next will be Sunday, the 30th, from 11:00AM to 5PM. Here we will be painting the space – you may have some opportunities for creativity here!

If you can come during either of those times, RSVP to  bobby@la-bike.org. Thanks, and see you soon!

-Bobby

Announcing the Bike Wrangler

January 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 8 Comments
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LACBC is happy to announce that we’ve recently hired Jonny Green to be our Bike Wrangler! The wrangler is working with institutions, individuals and co-ops to acquire abandoned and donated used bikes and provide them to folks in low-income areas.

What follows is some history from the inestimable Joe Linton (who worked on applying for this grant) about how this program came to be:

The Bike Wrangler is one aspect of a two-year grant where LACBC is working with five other local bicycle groups to run programs that prevent obesity. The LACBC partnered with the Bike Oven, the Bicycle KitchenBikeRoWaveC.I.C.L.E., and the Valley Bikery to form the County Cycling Collaborative (“CCC”) in order to work together to pursue federal stimulus funding, as administered locally by the County Department of Public Health. It’s a long story, so sit back, put on your acronym decoder hat, and hear how the CCC Bike Wrangler got its start, and how you can get involved with the new wrangler program.

Jonny Green collects abandoned bikes from CSU Fullerton.

In late 2009, the Obama administration worked with congress to pass legislation to stimulate the economy. The federal stimulus, called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA,) sought to create jobs by government spending on infrastructure, education, health care, various other stuff, and even a little for bikes. ARRA funding went to all sorts of projects all over the United States. It even paid for bike parking in Long Beach. A small portion of the ARRA money was administered by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) The CDC made ARRA monies available to health departments on a competitive basis – basically creating a program where local agencies could apply for CDC grant funding.

In recent years, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) had begun to focus on how to get Angelenos to do more regular healthy physical activity – including bicycling and walking. LACDPH started their Policies for Livable, Active Communities and Environments (PLACE) program which partnered with community groups and governmental agencies to promote changes to the built environment that will foster more walking and bicycling. The LACBC partnered with (and received funding from) the County’s PLACE program on two projects:   Glendale Safe and Healthy Streets and the Culver City Bicycle and Pedestrian Initiative.

When the CDC put out a call to local health departments as to how they would create ARRA-funded programs, the LACDPH proposed two programs: one focused on preventing smoking and another on preventing obesity. The obesity prevention program includes both a nutrition component, and a physical activity component – which, of course, includes promoting bicycling. The anti-tobacco initiative is now called Project TRUST – for Tobacco Reductions Using Effective Strategies and Teamwork. The obesity prevention program is now known as Project RENEW – for Renew Environments for Nutrition, Exercise, and Wellness.  RENEW  includes components very similar to the earlier PLACE programs. LACDPH’s PLACE and RENEW programs both emphasize collaboration between various governmental and community groups to work together to improve health.

LACDPH held a meeting in late 2009 to announce its intent to apply for what would become the TRUST and RENEW programs. Representatives from LACBC, C.I.C.L.E. and Bicycle Kitchen attended and discussed the possibilities of working together on some sort of larger-scale collaborative project. We invited the other bike wrenching co-ops (Valley Bikery, BikeRoWave, and Bike Oven) to join a brainstorming session where we came up with a list of ideas on how we might promote bicycling via the LACDPH initiatives.

LACDPH liked our ideas and invited us to submit a more detailed proposal. We decided to call our 6-organization group the County Cycling Collaborative (CCC.) The CCC met and discussed and worked with LACDPH to narrow our ideas down to two main components:

  1. a Bike Wrangler (which, early on, we had called a “Bike Acquisition Czar” but decided that was too long and too authoritarian) who will acquire abandoned and donated bikes.
  2. a series of workshops and rides, which will teach safe riding skills,  help new riders learn basic bike maintenance/repair, and get folks up riding bikes.

In late 2009, we submitted our CCC proposal to the county. The county submitted their much larger proposal to the CDC. We waited.

In March 2010, the CDC and the LACDPH announced that L.A. County had been awarded 32.1 million dollars in ARRA funding for the TRUST and RENEW programs. The grant lasts two years and funds various anti-smoking, nutrition and physical activity programs throughout the county. Among the components that bicyclists would be most interested in include bicycle master planning, complete streets initiatives, transit-oriented development plans, and the work of the CCC.

The LACBC is actually a partner on three different RENEW programs:

  1. CCC Bike Wrangler, workshops and rides
  2. South Bay regional Bicycle Master Plan
  3. Boyle Heights Living Streets initiative

LACBC is taking the lead on the Bike Wrangler, though the Wrangler will definitely work closely with the four wrenching co-ops. C.I.C.L.E. is taking the lead on the workshops and rides.

In late May, LACBC advertised the Wrangler job opening. LACBC received about 20 applications which we narrowed down to four interviews, and ultimately hired Jonny Green. Jonny is a volunteer “cook” at the Bicycle Kitchen, a resident of Los Angeles Eco-Village, and a knowledgeable and committed bicyclist. As wrangler, Jonny is working with agencies, universities, institutions, and individuals to get bikes that have been abandoned. He’ll be triaging those bikes, working with volunteers to tune them up, then will make them available at workshops and at our local wrenching co-ops: Bicycle Kitchen, Bike Oven, BikeRoWave, and Valley Bikery.

Thanks Joe! He also has another excellent piece up about bike wrangling on LA Streetsblog. If you’d like to donate a bike or have any tips, please contact Jonny Green at 213-629-2142 or  jonathan [at] la-bike.org.

Coming soon: we’ll tell you about the new space that is serving as the warehouse and workshop location for the Bike Wrangler!

Job Opening: LA County Cycling Collaborative’s Bike Wrangler

May 21, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 3 Comments
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Bikes impounded at UC Irvine just waiting to be Wrangled...photo: UCI B.E.E.P.

Over the last few months, LACBC has partnered with five other bike groups in LA—the Bicycle Kitchen, the Bikerowave, the Bike Oven, the Valley Bikery and C.I.C.L.E., all collectively known as the LA County Cycling Collaborative (CCC)—to finalize a grant awarded to the group by the LA County Department of Health. The funding is coming from the Center for Disease control and was part of Obama’s stimulus plan, aimed at creating jobs and addressing obesity in underserved communities.

Last fall the CCC got together and proposed to create a position we’re now calling the Bike Wrangler. The Wrangler will work with all the major institutions across the County (police departments, universities, Metro, etc.) to recover used bikes and redistribute them to the four member bike collectives of the CCC so that they can continue their mission of getting bikes to people in an inclusive, educational and accessible way. The Wrangler will also work with C.I.C.L.E. to distribute bikes at community workshops they will be teaching through programming funded by the same grant. Throughout all this the Wrangler will also be spreading the word about the CCC and its member groups’ mission of growing and empowering bicyclists throughout the County.

After meetings between the County and the CCC, we’re now ready to move forward in hiring the Bike Wrangler position. Please see the attached Job Description and send a resume and a cover letter to bikewrangler@la-bike.org. Pass the information on to anyone you know who’s interested as applications will be accepted until Monday June 7th at 5pm.

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