Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S. and a perfect day to get this blog rolling as all the activities that prompted it seem to be gaining momentum. We’re celebrating our successful Kickstarter campaign for our Bike Shift Lever. The book that started the buzz, Defying Poverty with Bicycles, continues to sell as more and more leaders of bicycle programs gain the courage to start their own Social Bike Business program. I am fortunate to receive more and more phone calls and emails from such leaders asking the hard questions about how to help people with bicycles in their community. My thanks today go especially to all these courageous leaders who have made this discussion vital.

Just yesterday, I spoke with a man in Los Angeles for over an hour as he and I worked through the many different ways he can launch his own social bike business program. I was particularly inspired by his vision of adapting three-wheeled bicycles into rolling bicycle repair businesses. He wants to find a way to start a comprehensive bicycle mechanic training workshop where he and his team can train homeless people who are looking for a way to break out of poverty. And the coolest part of his vision is he believes he can make it work for homeless children, too.

My very favorite part of my job at One Street is enjoying phone calls and emails like that. I would never have imagined a program like Social Bike Business, or written the book, without my countless discussions with people who know that bicycles change lives, that these simple yet powerful machines are not just metal frames on wheels, but wings that lift people into dignity.

I am so glad to finally type into this new channel for engaging many more of these important discussions. It’s a whole new technology for me, so please bear with me if I bumble about with it a bit.

That’s another reason Thanksgiving is a perfect day for this first real post because I wouldn’t be typing in this strange text box if not for the help and inspiration of lots of great folks. Thanks to Mikael at Copenhagenize.com for making me vow to keep a high standard with this thing. Pressure’s on! Thanks to Chuck at Civano Web Design for your patient problem solving as we nestled this blog into the One Street web site.

Thanks to all the wonderful blogs I have enjoyed over the years along with those I newly discovered as I wrapped my head around blogging. My favorites (so far) are linked in the right column. And finally, thanks to all the fabulous Blogger forum users who first walked me through the basics and, for the final tweaks today, had me rewriting the HTML code in the blog template.

What a team! Thanks to all of you! And hey, whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving in your part of the world or not, have a wonderful, thankful day!

Sue

2 comments:

  1. Writing and discussing poverty in some ways is almost considered the social equivalent of bring up sex, politics or religion at a dinner party. Personally, I prefer the beefy topics. It's frustrating because we now live in a country where almost anyone of us is about 3 months of unemployment away from poverty. Maybe it is just intense denial that we could be among the poor or that any of our choices perpetuate poverty. Someone once cautioned me against blogging about the potential for biking and bike infrastructure investment to improve the quality of life and transportation options of the poor because it would associate biking with not being able to afford a car. Well the honest truth is that if I had to buy a car tomorrow I could not afford it. I started biking for economic reasons and continue to do so for the same reason - on top of the fact that I now vastly prefer it to being in our car.

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  2. Thanks for this great comment! Poverty is a taboo topic in many circles and I've also heard such warnings about discussing it. I say let's discuss the heck out of it and leap right into solving it with bicycles. Empathy is key to this. As you note, until we realize how close we are to poverty too many people will get away with labeling impoverished people as "others" they don't have to recognize. In fact, we are all washing around in the same economic tides so why not build programs that help folks lift themselves into the safe zone and then stay out of poverty with bicycles. We may even need to tap into them ourselves one day.

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