[TheThinkTank] Travel Equity for BikeBike

Jim!! jimbikefreak at gmail.com
Wed Oct 14 23:38:51 PDT 2015


Thanks everyone for addressing this issue and here's what I think: as a
Mexican citizen, going to Bike!Bike! has been an absolutely life changing
experience and if it wasn't for Bicitekas (the organization that I was
working for when I first attended Bike!Bike! in 2012), I wouldn't have been
able to go. Bicitekas, as opposed to most of the bike collectives in
Mexico, receive funding from many sources because they are not an actual
community bike shop, they are a bike advocacy organization that started a
community space after someone traveled to LA and saw the Bike Kitchen and
wanted to start something like that, and up to this day, the community
space is not their strongest project, nor it has any money to send someone
to Detroit if it was going to happen today.

Bike collectives in Mexico are still very young and there are not as many
funding options as there seem to be in the US or Canada, I cannot even
imagine any university from Mexico supporting a space and a project as the
one I saw in Vancouver or the one there is in Seattle where I had the
chance to live for a little bit, so having this international exchange of
experience, people and knowledge I think it's very very important for bike
collectives in Mexico and over all South and Central America to gain
experience and maybe look more serious to the eyes of those with the money
and to actually be part of a (why not) international bike collective
network and movement, therefore I absolutely support the idea of having
international Bike!Bike! every year and finding sustainable ways to support
at least some of those who cannot afford to go.

I do have the privilege to have a US Visa but it was definitely expensive
and hard to get. Don't even get me started on the Canadian Visa; to go to
B!B! in 2012, I paid around 200 canadian dollars and I only got a visa for
two weeks, that was valid for the week of B!B! and seven more days. Years
later I had to apply again, pay this time 360 Canadian dollars (more than
half of my monthly paycheck, and I make pretty good money for Mexican
standards), and they gave me a Visa good for three years thanks to a
Canadian citizen that made an invitation letter for me and sent me her
birth certificate to prove that she's actually someone I know and that
she's in fact, Canadian.

I think we could definitely start to help other folks make this journey a
little easier by making invitation letters (I'd be happy to share one I
have), finding lawyers or other allies that can make appropriate
negotiations to issue visas at least for people to attend the conference,
or maybe having an extra fund to pay for some visas so that folks can only
focus on saving for air fares, after all, these days one dollar is 17 pesos
and minimum wage in Mexico is 70 pesos a day so you kinda have the idea.

I want to thank all of you who came to Guadalajara and who are willing to
make the inequity less of an issue for many people who are eager to live
the experience of the huge bike collective movement of the US, Canada and
other places from which we can all learn a lot.

- Jim



On Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 1:42 PM, Andrew Shooner <ashooner at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hey andy I was hesitant to say that cause I knew that I was probably
>> wrong, it was just a feeling I had with little evidence to back it up.  If
>> I could take it back I would.
>
>
> No worries! As much as I use it every day, I still think email is a tough
> medium to communicate real ideas through; it takes the humanity out of
> those you're trying to connect with. Self-censoring your thoughts is just
> as bad as stepping on someone's feelings, IMHO.
>
> Regardless of specifics, I think you got to a fundamental question: How do
> we connect shops that have limited resources, but have diverse solutions to
> working with those resources.
>
>
> On Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 7:10 PM, erk magosh <emailmyremail at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>> Hey andy I was hesitant to say that cause I knew that I was probably
>> wrong, it was just a feeling I had with little evidence to back it up.  If
>> I could take it back I would. Anyways a more general "people can benefit
>> from ideas from out side their region" would of worked much better. Sorry
>> for the judgmental statement that did little to add to the conversation and
>> could of turned potential collaborators off. Thanks for not taking offense
>> and actually adding to the conversation.
>>
>>
>> As for the ideas you mentioned they are great. Right now I feel like all
>> I can do with them is (along with the other great suggestions from the TT
>> and FB) is copy them down and try to organize them in one place until we
>> can get a group of people working on them. Thanks so much.
>>
>> -erk
>>
>>
>> On Sun, Oct 11, 2015 at 6:56 PM, Andrew Shooner <ashooner at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>>  it seems that the trend there is bike Co-Ops with members and Co-Ops
>>>> that are semi-for-profit (or at least focus on sales). Personally these do
>>>> not seem like a very inclusive models.
>>>
>>>
>>> Hey Erk. I don't think we've met, and I appreciate the discussion. In my
>>> experience, this is not accurate. I like the concept of addressing the
>>> inequitable access to the community. In terms of access to BikeBike, I
>>> think this has a lot of potential. Some brainstorming:
>>>
>>> *Travel Grants (independent group)*
>>> Very conventional. Probably would need some kind of fiduciary body to
>>> manage, then you get into taking and evaluating applications. bleh. One
>>> advantage I guess would be that it would probably be the most consistent
>>> model.
>>>
>>> *Travel Grants (from BikeBike!)*
>>> If the grants were connected to the bikebike conference itself, and was
>>> either a mandatory or optional part of the registration fee, that could be
>>> an effective fundraising effort. This might require a bit more lead-time in
>>> the BikeBike conference organization, though. Also, I don't know who that
>>> would work financially.
>>>
>>> *Partner Shops*
>>> Two or more shops/collectives distant from each other get paired up, and
>>> they pool their resources to send/bring one or more from each team to the
>>> national conference. This could be cool b/c it is way more interpersonal
>>> and organic. Would need to watch out for this becoming a paternal
>>> 'adopt-a-shop' scenario. It would be better for similar shops
>>> (economically, constituents, mission) rather than one supporting the other.
>>> I like this idea in that it can lead to new attendees breaking out of the
>>> comfort zone of their team and interacting more with the broader community.
>>>
>>> From the perspective of my shop (Broke Spoke, Lex KY), we'd probably
>>> find plenty of support in either of those scenarios. We'd be more than
>>> happy to pay a fee that went to creating a more geographically diverse
>>> conference. If we had a partner shop, our community would get behind
>>> bringing us together for a conference as well.
>>>
>>> -Andy
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Sun, Oct 11, 2015 at 11:33 AM, erk magosh <emailmyremail at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Angel,
>>>>
>>>> " I attended a couple conferences recently that I wouldn't otherwise
>>>> have been able to attend by signing up to volunteer at each conference."
>>>>
>>>> One thing I think we want to avoid is setting up a caste system of
>>>> people who pay and people who volunteer (indentured servants). At BikeBike
>>>> everyone should be volunteers, it's a conference of problem solvers, and we
>>>> can all come together to make it happen. No one is making money, so it
>>>> should be on the conference as a whole to take on the work. One of the main
>>>> goals should be to help build something and leave the city and the
>>>> collective in better shape than we found it.
>>>>
>>>> "Personally, I believe that bike collectives have grown enough to the
>>>> point where there are enough organizations that there can be a stronger
>>>> focus on cohering the regional bike bikes and the zine zine (hey, any more
>>>> info forthcoming with that?), with the centralized international bike bike
>>>> happening only once every 3-5 years in the name of giving people with low
>>>> incomes and collectives who want to send some core volunteers the time to
>>>> save up to attend, and to reduce the impact of long-distance travel on the
>>>> environment"
>>>>
>>>> I don't disagree with anything you said, and we may want to think about
>>>> the environmental impact of people traveling from all over the country (BTW
>>>> driving alone in a car <9 hours has less impact than flying on a full plane
>>>> the same distance).
>>>> I however have gone to a few B!B!SEs (South East) and it seems that the
>>>> trend there is bike Co-Ops with members and Co-Ops that are semi-for-profit
>>>> (or at least focus on sales). Personally these do not seem like a very
>>>> inclusive models. Especially in a region that is still heavily segregated(I
>>>> did miss the B!B!SE in Atlanta, so I'm sure it was much different there). With
>>>> this I think it would really benefit folx from the South East to be exposed
>>>> to ideas of the larger group. Especially the collectivism of Latin
>>>> America. I would say we could plan on only going to the annual
>>>> international B!B! if it is in your region, and save money for it for the
>>>> years it is not. However I think that would rely on the schedule being done
>>>> a couple years a head. With the life expectancy of Bike Collectives I don't
>>>> think that is realistic. (If you are from the SE and disagree with me,
>>>> please let me know. I'm sure folx are working for social justice
>>>> everywhere.)
>>>>
>>>> My org really doesn't have money to spend on sending volunteers
>>>> anywhere. We are focused on youth, so if we had money it would probably go
>>>> towards sending youth to the Youth Bike Summit (YBS) or sending our youth
>>>> mountain bike team to a meet.
>>>>
>>>> thanks for adding to the conversation,
>>>> -erk
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Sat, Oct 10, 2015 at 5:48 PM, Angel York <aniola at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> I really like this idea!  Here are a couple of thoughts:
>>>>>
>>>>> - I attended a couple conferences recently that I wouldn't otherwise
>>>>> have been able to attend by signing up to volunteer at each conference.
>>>>> Food was included.  (I was really impressed by OSB conference; more details
>>>>> on the ways they focused on equity available if you're interested)
>>>>>
>>>>> - I was able to attend a Bici! Bici! in Southern California once
>>>>> because our bike collective paid the bus fare to travel for the only two
>>>>> people interested to travel all the way from Northern California.  It was a
>>>>> great experience, and I still remember it years later.
>>>>>
>>>>> - I have never been to Bike! Bike!, but I've attended a couple
>>>>> regional Bici! Bici!s, because, in addition to the hardship of buying a
>>>>> ticket to a faraway place, I am a person who values being able to transport
>>>>> myself by bike, as I would expect some non-attendees are, and I have
>>>>> trouble getting past the environmental barrier of traveling such a long
>>>>> distance, even for what I know to be an amazing event with people I'd love
>>>>> to meet, see again, get to know, share with, learn from.
>>>>>
>>>>> Personally, I believe that bike collectives have grown enough to the
>>>>> point where there are enough organizations that there can be a stronger
>>>>> focus on cohering the regional bike bikes and the zine zine (hey, any more
>>>>> info forthcoming with that?), with the centralized international bike bike
>>>>> happening only once every 3-5 years in the name of giving people with low
>>>>> incomes and collectives who want to send some core volunteers the time to
>>>>> save up to attend, and to reduce the impact of long-distance travel on the
>>>>> environment.
>>>>>
>>>>> Angel York
>>>>>
>>>>> On Sat, Oct 10, 2015 at 2:42 PM, erk magosh <emailmyremail at gmail.com>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> Hey y'all,
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I have been throwing around ideas about travel equity after our trip
>>>>>> to Mexico. For me a citizen of the US it was easy to get down there and was
>>>>>> very affordable. I started thinking about why that was, and how it doesn't
>>>>>> apply to everybody. Below is some suggestions that I have come up with.
>>>>>> Most of these suggestions would really be up to the BikeBike hosts (Detroit
>>>>>> in 2016), but the travel fund could be something we could start easily with
>>>>>> donations. It is a rough draft and I'm looking for feedback (there has only
>>>>>> been 5 minutes of feedback so far). Most of these ideas would take a bit of
>>>>>> work, but I think it would be worth it to allow as many people to
>>>>>> participate in BikeBike as possible.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> let me/us know what you think,
>>>>>> erk
>>>>>>
>>>>>> BikeBike Travel Equity:
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Suggestions to Offset Inequitable Travel Cost and Barriers
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Summary: In an aim to make BikeBike more inclusive we should help
>>>>>> address travel inequities. Travel can be much harder/more expensive
>>>>>> depending on what side of some imaginary lines a person was born on or what
>>>>>> system they have to live in. We should encourage those with privilege to
>>>>>> help those with less.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> 1.    Registration: registration fees should be very malleable. Folx
>>>>>> that can pay more should be encouraged to support folx that cannot.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> a.    For some participants the registration fee is very cheap for
>>>>>> all the services provided, others it may be a large expense.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> 2.    Travel funds should be created ahead of time to help folx with
>>>>>> Visas/other travel expenses.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> a.    Donations or excess registration fees could create these funds.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> b.    Example of need: A Mexican Citizen needs to pay $300 USD just
>>>>>> to apply for a visa to the USA. If they do not get approved they do not get
>>>>>> the money back. For a US citizen with steady work this might not seem like
>>>>>> a huge loss, but that works out to $5,100 MEX, which could be 3 or 4 times
>>>>>> a person’s monthly housing cost.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> 3.    3 meals (and snacks) a day at BikeBike.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> a.    Eatting out is by default expensive, but if you come from a
>>>>>> country with an unfavorable currency exchange it is even more so. Even
>>>>>> without that exchange, some people don’t have money to blow on a luxury
>>>>>> like eating out.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> b.    This creates a bit more work, visiting BikeBikers should be
>>>>>> encouraged to help cook and take any other loads off the hosts.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> c.     An alternative may be providing access to the kitchen when
>>>>>> meals cannot be provided.
>>>>>>
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>>>>>
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