[TheThinkTank] growing a Community Bicycle and Transportation Center in Missoula

Bob Giordano mist at strans.org
Wed Jun 1 08:29:52 PDT 2016


Below is an update on our progress building a Community Bicycle and
Transportation Center in the heart of Missoula. We need help bringing this
to fruition!  Can you spread this effort to your networks?  thanks...

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For Immediate Release:

Free Cycles Missoula and Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation
Gain Extension for Capital Campaign to July 1st

"The Cycles of Change campaign has been sprouting wings with support from
thousands of people," said Executive Director, Bob Giordano.  "We have
raised $125,000 from grassroots efforts, and now we need the help of many
more people to secure our home," he goes on to say.  While the long term
goal is still to raise 1.1 million and buy the property outright, if the
non-profit can raise $330,00, or 30%, by the July 1st deadline, then bank
financing with a mortgage becomes a viable path to success.

Free Cycles has recorded over 200,000 shop visits since 1996, helping
18,000 people earn a free bicycle and teaching 5,000 people laws, safety,
and maintenance in the award-winning BikeWell class. Located in the heart
of Missoula, the two acre property, which is equivalent to a full city
block, is an ideal place to continue the work of Free Cycles and its
umbrella organization, the Missoula Institute for Sustainable
Transportation. Both provide essential services to help people get to
work, buy groceries, and go about their daily lives in a healthy way.

"Once I'm riding the cycle, I'm saving money, saving energy, and saving
time.  Without a bicycle, it would be difficult to get around the city,
for shopping, classes and errands" said Mamunur Rahman, a visiting
Humprhey fellow from Bangladesh, who received a free bike from Free Cycles
after taking a BikeWell class and volunteering four hours.

The location is extremely accessible, being at the union of two primary
trails. The plan is to preserve the existing buildings to honor Missoula’s
heritage, and eventually transition to 100% renewable energy, thus
creating a pathway to a liveable future.

Further, the non-profit provides valuable community participation
opportunities, from shop enhancements to helping people build bikes to
effectively advocating for safe, enjoyable streets and trails. “One reason
I love Free Cycles is because I know I can come in to get help, give help,
get creative, or talk about ways to make safer streets,” says volunteer
Cameron Best.

"We have been honored to help Missoula become one of America's great
bicycle cities, yet much work remains in order to make the transportation
system better for all people," says Giordano.

"Missoula has a strong, passionate support network of people and
organizations that make it a unique and loveable place to live.
Maintaining this property will help ensure the longevity of accessible,
equitable, safe, and environmentally sound transportation systems for the
Missoula community and beyond,” says Programs Director, Emily Jensen.

Jensen elaborates: “Having a permanent hub to continue our work will
increase capacity, strengthen our programs, and improve our efficacy.
Under Free Cycles ownership, the land and buildings will be transitioned
into replicable models of ways to address difficult societal challenges
such as climate change, social justice, and urban growth. Our current
transportation system tends to marginalize low-income people and create a
culture of segregation. This project aims to reverse that dynamic and
continue to build a more positive future. The local array of community
services is gaining strength. The Poverello, PEAS Farm, Home Resource,
MUD, and Food Bank have all recently secured a home. Free Cycles Missoula
is a vital next success story."

Property ownership would also help Free Cycles bring to fruition a
fabrication center for helping those with mobility challenges and turning
scrap metal into useful tools. The plan also includes a community bike
share for short term bike lending and a transportation learning center
with a focus on growing a healthy city. Over the years, the organization
has taught over a hundred interns about transportation topics ranging from
policy to how to adjust the spokes of a wheel.

Another huge aspect of the non-profit's mission is educating, empowering,
and engaging youth.  For instance, on Monday, May 23rd, with the help of
Bikers Against Bullies USA and the Dixon School District, Free Cycles
worked with the entire school of 49 students. Thirty bikes were tuned by
volunteers and staff, and during the event students were taught how to fix
their own rides. By the end of the day, everyone's hands were dirty,
laughter was in the air, Robert finally replaced his stem bolt, and the
stoke on bikes was as high as the nearby Mission Mountains. Additionally,
the Dixon School now has their very own space dedicated to fixing bikes
outfitted with the proper tools. For the past 20 years, Free Cycles has
facilitated over 160 school outreach events similar to this.

“The demand from the citizens is here. We are bursting at the seams. It is
critical we own the property to expand our space and programs. Land is the
medium for service,” says Giordano.

People can donate three ways:

-Drop by the shop at 732 S. 1st St W. from 10AM-6PM, Tuesday to Saturday

-Mail a check to 91 Campus Dr. #1412, Missoula, MT 59801

-Online at http://www.freecycles.org/ or
https://www.crowdrise.com/supportthebike

For more information, please visit www.freecycles.org or contact
Executive Director, Bob Giordano, at mist at strans.org
Programs Director, Emily Jensen, programs at strans.org
406-541-7284
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Please forward this Release to all interested parties





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