Test the survey out on a trial group before you do everyone!  This serves two purposes:

1. Ask survey-takers for feedback and update your survey based on that feedback.
2. Now you know how long it takes the average person to do the survey and can include that information.

A few things to check for
- as many fields as possible should be optional
- don't use the radio button unless ya really really gotta!  imo
- run the survey through a couple online reading level checkers.  Aim for a 6th grade reading level.  For realz.  
- no artificial limits on how much you can type without a really good reason.  if you're looking for a sentence or more, use a text box rather than one of those teeny one-line boxes.  that way people can see what they're saying.
- if the survey is online and more than one page, put an "anything to add?" comment box on every single page.  that way people can tell you outside-the-box (heh) info while it's still fresh in their mind.

Also, think about who your community is.  Who do you want to give this survey to, and where do you want to distribute it?  People who already come? People who you want to come?  Answers to the survey will vary depending on where/when/how you give the survey.

Ok, that's my stray thoughts on surveys

some thoughts on making a learning space more inviting to women

my background: cis white woman who volunteered at west coast bike collectives for nearly a decade.  my local bike collective is nearly all male.  By which I mean, literally every time I walked into the shop to pick up my partner this summer, the only people present were presenting as men.  I have thought about this topic extensively.  

1. You need buy-in from most everyone at the shop.  I have no fucking clue how this part works.  It probably involves some bootstraps.


2.  Women/Trans/Femme etc. nights don't make sense for every collective.  Holding this workshop is an advanced technique that should only be done if either you have a couple people who are passionately interested in maintaining it at all times, and/or you have a solid gender balance at every shift.  Pro: great opportunity for a safer space environment and may bring in some people who wouldn't otherwise come.  Con: Huge volunteer drain, may mean all the other shifts are basically run by men.  I believe that women who come to an all-male run shift have a lower rate of returning to the shop than men.  I would love to see a study on this.

I believe that any shift open to all the public needs (at a minimum) two different genders represented by core volunteers.  

3a. A robust safer space agreement/ code of conduct.  A huge project in its own right, but there are good resources out there, no need to reinvent the wheel.  Find ones that focus on positive language and that tell people what TO do rather than what NOT to do.

3b. Make the physical space more inviting and welcoming.  

- Easily identifiable teacher mechanics.  Red aprons and/or nametags.  If nametags, encourage pronouns on nametags.
- Paint the walls friendly colors.  
- Keep the paths clear 
- create a physically safer space. (hint: piles of bikes are not physically safe. oily rags go in a fireproof bin so you don't have to close your shop for a summer when they spontaneously combust)  
- good workflow, designated personal work areas
- a taboo on doing the work for the patron who is there to learn (except rarely, and only with their explicit consent)
- if windows, consider plants.  Designate 1-2 waterers so they don't get over/underwatered.  
- Value food, it's harder to be grumpy with a challenge when you're not running on fumes; create a small food budget (or use your 501c3 number to get hooked up with donations), designate a rotation of volunteers to keep the food in stock, and train volunteers to offer food and to put food out so people see it and eat it.  Make it a goal to include diversity in the food (that's what the rotation is for).
- is there music?  If so, what kind of music is playing in the background?  who is the intended audience?
always be open when you say you'll be open.  
- make a volunteer schedule if you don't already have one and keep it up-to-date.  

4. Ongoing teacher training workshops for volunteers who interact with patrons.  Invite speakers on all aspects of accessibility.*  Probably on a monthly basis so there's not burnout and put a high level of expectation on volunteers to attend.  Make it a potluck or get a taco/pizza donation/budget.  I think if I had to pick one thing on this list, I would start here.

* a non-comprehensive list of example topics might include race, physical ability, mental and/or emotional ability, age (young, old), gender, orientation, class, different aspects of beginning through advanced pedagogy, etc.  

In addition to speakers/workshops on those topics, see if you can invite a librarian.  I think there are a lot of librarians that would also be a really good resource. Public libraries are, in my experience, experts at going out of their way to be inclusive while still holding appropriate boundaries.  

5. Be intentional about your student:teacher ratio.  Figure out what you think a healthy teacher to student ratio is and designate shifts where people can book time or walk in, but once you hit that ratio you're not taking anyone else unless it is an emergency.  This calmer environment with sufficient attention is great for people who have been socialized to wait quietly for help.

6. Spell out all the ways to get involved.  Think up a handful or a bunch of key roles at different levels of commitment (drop-in, regular, core, intern, etc.) and publicize them.  (Always list a few required skills.  If you say something requires lterally no skills, you're doing your volunteers a disservice.  Totally ok to say "no previous bike mechanic experience required", though.)  

Offer the option of attending a volunteer orientation any first 15 minutes before a shift officially opens (or some other arrangement that works for your volunteers and the rhythms of your region).

The benefit of articulating (and keeping up to date) the ways to get involved is that it can make it easier for people to feel confident that their help is invited, welcome, and necessary.


As a side note, in my opinion admin tasks can be a gendered thing.  Which isn't to say men won't do 'em and women won't mechanic, but I got an unreasonable amount of shit over the years for being a core volunteer not being involved as a mechanic.  Cultivate a culture that values all the work it takes to run a collective.

So those are more than baby steps, but they're some of my thoughts on how a community bike shop could be made to be more inviting.   

Angel York

On Wed, Nov 2, 2016 at 3:12 PM, Nicole Meyer <> wrote:
Hi all,

At Austin's Yellow Bike Project we're trying to create a community survey to better engage and serve our neighborhood. We're interested in finding out how people view us, and what services they'd like to see us offer. Also, ultimately, we'd like to find out what might make us inviting enough to change the demographics of our majority white, majority cis male volunteer collective, but I'm not sure how to incorporate that into a survey. Baby steps!

Has anyone done a community survey before? Do you have any advice for crafting questions, and for methods of distribution & collection? 

Thank you! 
Nikki Meyer

P.S. It was great to meet some of you in Detroit at my very first Bike! Bike! Glad to be a part of this community :)


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