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We’re so pleased to share the exciting news that we’ve been awarded a TAKE IT OUTSIDE grant by Commerce RI with support from the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce. Huge thanks! We’re committed to make this grant go as far as possible with community outreach and collaboration. Lots of folks benefit from biking – let’s keep people on bikes safe, and bikes in good condition, together.
This funding will make it possible to keep – and expand – our programs outside at the Big Blue Bike Barn – located on Sunset Blvd on the north side of Miantonomi Park. This amazing one-acre campus is generously made available to us by the Newport Housing Authority and outfitted thanks to donations by a host of community supporters.
The TAKE IT OUTSIDE grant will fund: a large tent for shelter, heating towers for warmth, a generator for power, lights for visibility, and rolling workstations to bring tools and support to participants. (WOW!) These facility enhancements complement our staffing by bike safety educators and mechanics, and a fleet of bicycles for borrowing from the Bike Library already on site. We will be working with other community agencies to ensure that the community knows about the Big Blue Bike Barn as a warm, safe place to access bikes, parts, support, and camaraderie!
WHY THIS GRANT IS SO IMPORTANT:
Newport joins the country, even the world, in experiencing a surge in biking during the pandemic. During the shutdown, more people turned to biking for transportation and for physical activity – often for the mental and physical health benefits that were craved when options were so limited.
- People interested in bicycling but concerned about riding with cars got on their bikes while there were fewer cars on the road.
- People who usually worked out in gyms got on their bicycles.
- People who didn’t want to be enclosed vehicles got on their bicycles.
- People who wanted to see signs of human life while keeping distant, got out of their houses and onto their bicycles.
- Friends and families looking for ways to do something together that was both fun and safe got on their bicycles.
- Bicycles were suddenly in high demand! The result – more people on bikes. So much so that manufacturers, distributors, and the local bike shops all ran out of bikes and bike parts. Worldwide.
At Bike Newport, we responded in several ways. While our Bike Garage could not be open as usual – due to physical proximity of people, and the inherent touching and sharing of tools – we adapted quickly to help meet the need:
- We opened online requests for bicycles from our inventory of donated bicycles.
- Our mechanics came in one at a time to repair/restore the bikes to match the requests.
- We met the recipients one at a time at safe distance to size the bikes to the recipients.
- Since March, we have delivered 250 bicycles to people who need them – people of every size, age, and bike riding style.
- While we still cannot invite people into the Bike Garage to work on their own bikes with assistance – our usual method – we began taking bikes in for repair in order to assist both the community and the local retail bike shops to keep up with the demand.
There are many people on bikes, many more people who want to be on bikes, and everyone who is on bikes is looking for support with parts, maintenance, repairs, education, and/or bike community.
WHICH BRINGS US TO THE TAKE IT OUTSIDE GRANT
Thanks to this grant, we will establish an OUTDOOR site where we will have the space for folks to come and get this support. Where people riding bikes have a chance to find the parts they need, the guidance they want, and a warm vibrant positive community space to get it done.
Bike Newport is and always promises to be:
- a resource to everyone regardless of ability to donate
- bilingual English Spanish staff and information
- a comfortable space for cis, trans and non-binary people
- available to help everyone find their comfort and confidence on a bike
- a safe place that practices masking, distancing and cleaning in compliance with all COVID19 guidelines.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
SIGN UP for our newsletter on our website homepage: bikenewportri.org
VOLUNTEER to help with our TAKE IT OUTSIDE programs: email firstname.lastname@example.org
DONATE to support these programs: bikenewportri.org/donate