[TheThinkTank] current bike supply

Cyclista Nicholas cyclista at inventati.org
Mon May 25 15:53:19 PDT 2020

Ok! If it was only one person, I'd reply to them. But I'm busy enough 
right now that I'll just make this a thread for the list.

A lot of what I have to contribute is about physical and fiscal 
workflows - those are my specialities wrt community bike shops. I'm not 
as experienced with tax classifications or government requirements, but 
I can share what I know.

Here in Ithaca, we have something called the HSCTCL - the Human Services 
Listserv of Tompkins County. It's sort of one-stop shopping for all 
things human services related. It functions in a similar way to this 
listserv, in that job openings at local nonprofits and public services 
are posted there, as well as other notifications such as community 
events or changes in statuses. As you might imagine, it's a central 
place where our city is coordinating efforts and information surrounding 
COVID-19 response.

So my first suggestion is to find out if your local area has such a 
listserv, and get on it, but also to check to see if that listserv has 
its archives online anywhere, so that you can see if there were grants 
posted recently but previous to your joining.

My second suggestion, if that can't work for you, is to contact your 
local municipality directly - city hall, town hall, even chamber of 
commerce or office of the city council. It may take awhile to get 
through because everyone everywhere is swamped, but you shoul dbe able 
to catch a thread somewhere.

Josh, your situation is somewhat different because of physically where 
you're situated. I imagine  the resources (and red tape) in the NYC area 
are vast. You'll have a bit more of a maze to get through, but also 
possibly more diversity of resources to draw  from. I imagine every 
entity from religious groups to neighborhood groups, to high-profile 
entities like the Salvation Army or the United Way, to places such as 
Elks Lodges or the like, has funds they are distributing. In NYC, maybe 
they are all tapped out? The people I know in NYC arent in the nonprofit 
sector so I don't have better info than speculation. If there was a 
central public services listserv in the NYC area, I'd be shocked. 
There's simply too much information. But I imagine you can also make 
calls to public human-services related offices and wind your way down 
the maze. You might also try joining forces with Time's Up! I've never 
worked with them, but I've heard they have a significant amount of 

Things to consider as well, while strategizing:

- many people are making more money now on unemployment than they were 
previously. I don't know yet how much work is allowed before losing 
unemployment benefits, if any; this may make some mechanics reluctant to 
take the work, or may mean your project is confined to volunteer work 
only (can still be a huge finacial boost to your org)

- unlike a lot of what we do, which requires a mixture of educational 
experience and social outreach, what is required for this particular 
purpose is simply mechanical skill, so there may be more workers 
qualified for this task than woul dotherwise be considered (a lot of 
mechanics aren't really people-persons)

The main thing is to get people in to help you repair bikes you have on 
hand for sale. Whether it's as volunteers, or with the incentive of 
income, the one missing element here is personnel.

I've also found that when we're open, I spend literally the entire time 
of open hours interacting with customers. Any bike work has to be done 
before or after (or just aside from) open hours. The old status of 
working on bikes at the same time we're open is completely out the 

~cyclista Nicholas

On 2020-05-25 22:17, Kai Addae wrote:
> I'd also love to be part of any conversation that happens around
> funding/public policy! We are swamped with people buying bikes right 
> now,
> and can't fix up bikes fast enough, which means we'll have a shortage 
> of
> bikes that we can donate out to our non-profit partners when the time
> comes.
> Warmly,
> Kai Addae
> Bradley Street Bicycle Co-op <https://bsbc.co/>
> On Mon, May 25, 2020 at 4:31 PM Josh Bisker <jbisker at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I want this advice and pointers about funding and public policy. 
>> Please
>> let's talk
>> Josh Bisker
>> 914-500-9890
>> New York Mechanical Gardens Bike Co-op <http://bikecoop.nyc/>
>> 596 Acres <http://596acres.org/>
>> Bindlestiff Family Cirkus <http://bindlestiff.org/>
>> On Mon, May 25, 2020 at 4:24 PM Cyclista Nicholas 
>> <cyclista at inventati.org>
>> wrote:
>>> Hi everyone,
>>> I've heard everywhere that bikes are in extremely short supply,
>>> especially because of an extremely high demand currently, and that 
>>> this
>>> dynamic is even more pronounced due to tariffs imposed on China.
>>> Now obviously, this might spur domestic production of bicycles, which
>>> maybe could be awesome. But in the meantime, it isn't awesome - 
>>> people
>>> can't get bikes.
>>> Those of us out there - maybe most of us - who deal primarily in used
>>> bikes, in the meantime *are* (or can be) that domestic production.
>>> I'm bringing this up in case anyone hasn't though of it all or really
>>> processed it yet, because I imagine everyone's local or even state
>>> governments are currently accepting proposals for various grants.
>>> At this time, collectively, we literally, physically are positioned 
>>> to
>>> be major gatekeepers to possibly tens of thousands of people becoming
>>> cyclists or resuming cycling who otherwise wouldn't, when major
>>> retailers and various LBS have no ability to meet demand.
>>> This is also a huge opportunity to turn the general public on to the
>>> goodness and soundness of reused bikes. A lot of people think if it's
>>> old or used, it's diminished in some way. All of us know that isn't
>>> true, and now we have a greater ability than ever to prove the truth 
>>> of
>>> this message.
>>> Here at Recycle Ithaca's Bicycles we've been running nonstop, though
>>> with a skeleton crew, since the virus hit, and reusing old bikes for
>>> ecological reasons has been one of our primary purposes for several
>>> decades. I'm sure most of you don't need it, but if anyone needs or
>>> wants pointers or advice, I'd be happy to help. Getting funding to 
>>> pay
>>> mechanics or hire additional mechanics is probably the starting 
>>> point.
>>> Survive, cyclistas!!! <3
>>> ~cyclista Nicholas
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