Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Social Bike Models at Velo-city Conference

In just a few days I will be on my way to Nantes, France to take part in the Velo-city conference. I enjoy attending this international bicycle conference, not only for reconnecting with my bicycle friends from around the world, but for its concentration of knowledge on the latest improvements for bicycling. There will be lots of sessions on changing cities to encourage more bicycling as well as programs that inspire more people to ride.

On the last day of the conference, I will have the opportunity to present about Social Bike Business and Defying Poverty with Bicycles. I will be on a panel with three other organization leaders from Brazil and Mexico to discuss ways that bicycles can bring about social change in communities.

As part of my presentation, I will offer overviews of noteworthy social bike businesses on five continents. So, I thought I might just share these model programs with you:

Neighborhood Bike Works - USA:
  • For urban youth in underserved neighborhoods of Philadelphia
  • Two locations open regular hours
  • Adult bike repair classes taught by the youth
  • Earn-a-Bike program
  • Summer camps and rides


Utica Bike Rescue - USA:
  • For refugees and at-risk youth in Utica, New York
  • Bikes for disadvantaged people through partner groups
  • “A hand up, not a handout”
  • Open weekdays
  • Bicycle mechanic classes
  • Earn-a-Bike program
  • Summer bike camps

Bike Works - UK:
  • For people with disadvantaged backgrounds in London
  • Registered as a social enterprise
  • All profits toward mission
  • Jobs for disadvantaged
  • Bicycles for disabled
  • Mechanic courses
  • Mobile bike repair

Recicleta - Chile:
  • Seeks out abandoned bikes in Santiago
  • Offers mechanic training to fix the bikes
  • Matches bikes with people in need
  • Workshop space
  • Community programs

Rickshaw Bank - India:
  • Social business for rickshaw drivers in Assam India
  • Improved rickshaw design, built by disadvantaged
  • Loans to drivers to buy their own rickshaw as they use it
  • Careers in business
  • Insurance and health care
  • Family support
  • Replicating in other cities
Google and YouTube

Bicycling Empowerment Network Namibia:
  • Ready-made bike shops delivered as shipping containers with 350 bikes, tools, and shop equipment; container to shop
  • Business and mechanic training for local bike shop owners
  • 33 bike shops in Namibia
  • Bicycle ambulances and bikes for healthcare workers
  • Expanding the program to other African countries

Do you know of other model social bike businesses that serve disadvantaged people, pay employees, and are open regular hours? Please note them in the comments section.

I hope to see some of you in Nantes!

Sue

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