Opening a bicycle collective in Sitka, Alaska
The goals of the Sitka Bicycle Collective are to 1) increase access to safe, affordable refurbished bicycles 2) provide cycling education opportunities in our community 3) collectively advocate for infrastructure & policies that make cycling safer and more accessible ¬4) encourage cycling as a healthy, affordable means of transportation & exercise.
Many people in Sitka are riding unsafe & damaged bicycles, and there is currently no place to purchase used bikes at any kind of scale. We are located on a remote island where the cost of living is very high and purchasing a new bicycle is expensive & carbon intensive due to shipping. At the collective, we plan to refurbish used bicycles and make them available for sale. We will also donate used bikes to people who are inhibited by cost from obtaining a safe bicycle. We believe that part of building a stronger cycling community in Sitka will involve creating an outlet for people to come together and advocate the needs of cyclists. It also involves helping others to have more agency over maintaining their bicycles. The collective will offer educational workshops as well as the opportunity for Sitkans to learn bicycle maintenance through volunteering.
Last month, two instructors from the Susitna Bicycle Institute Anchorage came to Sitka and gave a 40-hour training to 5 mechanics who will be involved with running the bicycle collective. They also donated over $1,100 in basic tools to help get us off the ground. We rented a space for one year at the Hames Center, a community wellness nonprofit that is helping to incubate our program. We are currently in the process of setting up our bike collective shop. Although we have many of the basic tools we need to get started as well as 10-15 donated used bikes, we are seeking funding to help cover startup costs for the space and purchasing more advanced tools, as well as parts we need to refurbish bikes until we are able to generate an income to keep the program sustainable.
Funded by Alaska (September 2019)