Difference between revisions of "Bike!Bike! 2011"

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Revision as of 14:25, 5 July 2011

Bike!Bike! 2011 was held in San Marcos, Texas; hosted by The Bike Cave and The San Marcos Community Bike Project. It took place from June 23-26th, 2011.

Bikebikebike2a.jpg

Summary

Schedule

As published

Wednesday, June 22
1:00-6:00pm Pick up a loaner bike (if you're staying the night in Austin) at Austin's Yellow Bike Project
2:00pm - 6:00pm Open house at UT's Orange Bike Project
6:00 -10:00pm Open house at Austin's Yellow Bike Project
11:00pm Open house at Movemint Bike Cab Co. Shop (1301 east 4th street)
Thursday, June 23
11:00am - 1:00pm Pick up your loaner bike (if you've just arrived in Austin) at Austin's Yellow Bike Project
1:00pm Group ride from Austin's Yellow Bike Project to San Marcos (there will be a truck to take your things to San Marcos)
12:00 - 8:00pm Check-In at San Marcos Public Library ($25 - $45, pay what you can, nobody will be turned away for lack of funds. Pick up your loaner bike and housing arraignments)
2:00 - 8:00pm Fix up your bike at The Bike Cave
7:00 - 8:00pm Welcome / Speak up & speak out!
8:00pm - 10:00pm Casual welcome dinner at City / Plaza Park with music by Mariachi Nueva Generacion
9:30pm A screening of "Dudey Free Zone: Women's and Transgender Bike Spaces" plus other short bike-related films. At The Bike Project
Friday, June 24
8:00am - 1:00pm Check-In continued for those who get here late at The Bike Project
8:00 - 9:00am Yoga (including a light breakfast)
8:30 - 9:30am Breakfast
9:30am - 11:00am
11:15am - 12:45pm Workshops
1:00 - 2:30pm Lunch
2:30 - 4:00pm Workshops
4:15pm - 5:45pm Workshops
8:00pm - 9:00pm The future of Bike! Bike! - a discussion to figure out where we're heading, and how we're getting there. A preview of which project(s) are interested in hosting in 2012.
7:00pm - 10:30pm Bike polo on top of Speck Street Parking Garage (there will be a group ride leaving from Rio Vista at 6:00pm)
8:00 -11:00pm Concert at The Bike Project
Saturday, June 25
8:00 - 9:00am Yoga (including a light breakfast)
8:30 - 9:30am Breakfast
9:30am - 11:00am Workshops
11:15am - 12:45pm Workshops
1:00 - 2:30pm Lunch
2:30 - 4:00pm Workshops
4:15pm - 5:45pm Workshops
9:00pm - 12:00am BIKE! RIDE! BIKE! RIDE!
12:00am - ??? Dance party
Sunday, June 26
8:00 - 9:00am Yoga (including a light breakfast)
8:30 - 9:30am Breakfast
9:30 - 11:00am Workshops / final brainstorm
11:15am - 1:00pm Closing meeting, Bike! Bike! 2012 discussion

Workshops schedule

Friday, June 24 Yoga Center The Bike Cave Sodatooth Go 2 Danz Library large room Library small room The Bike Project
9:30am - 11:00am #Acquiring a permanent space #Mobile repair clinic
11:15am - 12:45pm #Managing social rides to increase bicycling #Bike touring
2:30pm - 4:00pm #Teaching & learning styles #Integrating bikes into the university fabric #Working in underprivileged communities
4:15pm - 5:45pm #Basics of the nonprofit sector and organizational form #Women and transgender shop hours
Saturday, June 25 Yoga Center The Bike Cave Sodatooth Go 2 Danz Library large room Library small room The Bike Project
9:30am - 11:00am #Bike 101 #Volunteer orientation #Acro yoga #Green space tour
11:15am - 12:45pm #Working with relationships #Working Together #Utilizing free open-source software
2:30pm - 4:00pm #Battlefield: Consensus #Weather? What weather? (winter) #Software developers exchange #Please be kind to cyclists
4:15pm - 5:45pm #Analyzing work flows #Recycled bike art #Classes, workshops, space
Sunday, June 26 Yoga Center The Bike Cave Sodatooth Go 2 Danz Library large room Library small room The Bike Project
9:30am - 11:00am #Managing expectations of a cooperative bike shop #Weather? What weather? (summer) #Confronting car culture
11:15am - 1:00pm #Closing discussion - Bike!Bike! 2012

Workshops

Green space tour

Description

A bike tour of San Marcos green spaces

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Acquiring a permanent space

Description

Acquiring a permanent space instead of renting, working with the city for land or a building, fund-raising and micro-loans

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Acro yoga

Description

Skillshare

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Analyzing work flows

Description

Analyzing work flows within a bike project: setting up committees and more effective follow-up. How to reduce "ball droppage". Held at 4:30 PM on Saturday, June 25, 2011, at the Community Yoga Center.

Facilitated by Susan of Third Hand Bicycle Cooperative in Columbus, Ohio.

Notes

Often in collectives, everyone will be off doing their own thing. This can lead to some jobs being repeated and others falling through the cracks. To combat this, it's helpful to identify all the processes at work in the collective, whether they deal with inputs to the collective, actions within the shop, or outputs leaving the collective.

Third Hand streamlined their procedures by identifying all of the processes involved in handling this inputs and outputs. The frequency and nature of each task was discussed, and jobs were fit together as appropriate. Collections of jobs are given to various task forces, each empowered to deal with their issue without approval from the Board or the overarching Collective and charged with developing the policies that guide the completion of those tasks. The identification of tasks alone took half a day.

To deal with the problem of one volunteer doing all of one job and leaving the organization without institutional knowledge, it was suggested to pick a primary and secondary person responsible for getting the job done. Another method would be to assign jobs at the beginning of each month, so that tasks get spread around more widely. Neither approach means that the person assigned has to do the task; they may delegate the task, they're just responsible for making sure it happens.

Those assigned a job should make a short report back at a general meeting as to their success or failure. This helps the group know that necessary work is being accomplished and provides an avenue for new volunteers to find work. Since it's nearly impossible to penalize volunteers, enforcement has to be kept positive. In the case of an incomplete job, the group should ask why the job was not finished, and whether there was sufficient support from the group. Any remediation can be simply done by a reconstituted task force given a mandate to fix the problems.

In Third Hand's experience, some jobs like outreach and volunteer coordination are best considered as "alternative shifts" -- as crucial as a regular shift, but handled in a radically different way.

Examples

Sample inputs, from the workshop:

  • Mail
  • Phone calls
  • E-mail
  • Donations (cash or stuff)
  • Visitors
  • Packages and deliveries
  • Complaints
  • Volunteer labor

Sample inside tasks:

  • Cleaning
  • Tool ordering
  • Inventory
  • Budgeting
  • Parts sorting
  • Scheduling
  • Tracking
  • Sales

Sample outputs:

  • Bikes
  • Knowledge
  • Rent/utilities
  • Media
  • Mobile units
  • Volunteer appreciation
  • Newsletters/flyers
  • Mail and e-mail
  • Tax returns
  • Deposits

Sample task forces:

  • Finances (Sales, Budgeting, Bill Payment)
  • Tool and parts orders
  • Community relations
  • Volunteer coordination
  • IT/Tech
  • Outreach
  • Conflict resolution

Processes can be determined by looking at the inputs. For Mail, mail would be picked up and sorted to give to the appropriate group (finance, outreach, ordering, etc.). The time frame for mail would be "every open shop".

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Basics of the nonprofit sector and organizational form

Description

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Battlefield: Consensus

Description

Decision making - the good, the bad, and the ugly. A reprise of 2010's Battlefield: Consensus.

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Bike 101

Description

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Bike touring

Description

What to take, how to pack, where to sleep and eat, and of course, where to go.

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Classes, Workshops, Space

Description

Doing Meaningful Outreach with Communities in Your Neighborhood.

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Closing discussion - Bike!Bike! 2012

Description

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Confronting car culture

Description

Dealing with dominant culture on a personal level and effecting cultural shift.

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

How the City of San Marcos, Texas bicycle map was created

Description

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Managing expectations of a cooperative bike shop

Description

How to manage expectations and orient new people quickly to the cooperative shop environment

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Integrating bikes into the university fabric

Description

Integrating bikes into the university fabric via student and staff collaboration

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Managing social rides to promote bicycling

Description

From fringe to mainstream: how social cycling can ... and make our cities better

Details

Held at 11:15 AM on Friday, June 24 at the Bike Cave.

Elliott McFadden of Austin on Two Wheels and Violet Crown Cycles started by describing his views of cycling promotion and two methods seen in Austin of directly working to get people riding bikes. After this, he answered questions in a general discussion format.

Notes

Failures in bicycle promotion

Elliot identified two somewhat conflicting methods of increasing cycling from the cycling industry and from political advocacy.

  • Industry: Bicycle sales in the U.S. have remained stagnant over since the 1970s, despite significant growth in population. To increase sales, the bicycle industry has focused on making bikes more niche -- selling new bikes to their existing market.
  • Advocacy: Advocates lobby decision makers for better infrastructure, but do so without growing a grassroots bicycle population or establishing cycling within the community.

Until bicycling is seen as a normal community behavior, bicyclists will continue to be classified by convenient stereotypes, like the spandex/carbon weekend warrior, the hipster scofflaw, and the sanctimonious environmentalist.

Strategy

Defining "regime" as an interconnected group of businesses and leaders with a common world view, Elliott noted that the current regime is in favor of growing consumption and fossil fuel use. At the national level, this means the oil and auto industries. At the local level, it includes developers, auto dealers, and news entities, whose future profits depend on growth. Tellingly, 30% of all ad revenue for media entities comes from car companies.

Regime change must then be the goal of a bicycle promoter. Find negative ways to describe the current regime (dirty, expensive, destructive, long travel times in cars) and positive ways to describe the desired regime (healthy, thrifty, sustainable, quality family time). Form partnerships with businesses and organizations that can benefit from a new regime.

Social cycling

To replace the negative stereotypes of bicyclists, it is important to develop an atmosphere that encourages riding by more members of the community. Bicycling should be made to be more comfortable -- no races, no work-outs, regular clothes, open to everyone. The joys of being out, riding with regular people, should be paramount.

Commuting is often a big sell by industry and advocates; it allows shops to sell specialized "commuter" bicycles and advocates to focus on connecting routes, but as a sales point, it has two crippling problems: nobody likes to go to work, and most people go to work alone. Instead, social cycling should be a focus: just get many people together to ride bikes. Austin has two models that work in tandem: Social Cycling Austin and Austin on Two Wheels, an "affiliated business concept".

Social Cycling Austin

Social Cycling Austin is a volunteer production started two years ago as a free ride -- participants just show up for a weekly social ride, drawing 200-300 riders on average and as many as 500. It partners with local businesses, usually a bar or restaurant, and rides with traffic, not against it.

This model is easy to start (it just requires two people) and its open structure makes it accessible to all. It doesn't have to be affiliated with any business, so it can work with and for everyone. Because of its loose nature, it's easy to change what doesn't work or even dismantle the ride. It doesn't need any investment to start up, as most organizing can be done through social networks and guerrilla marketing.

Unfortunately, it also has no control over who shows up, making it difficult to deal with troublemakers and easy for the ride to grow beyond the capacity of the leaders or prevent the ride from being co-opted by other organizations. A focus on bars as a final destination also makes it easy for this sort of ride to turn into a "booze cruise", adding additional challenges to the organization and often depressing its ability to draw women riders. Additionally, it is easy for organizing volunteers to burn out and the undefined liability might cause problems in case of injury.

Affiliated Business Concept

In an affiliated business concept, the rides are run as a business, usually as smaller fee-based rides than as large-scale free-for-alls.

Because a business controls the ride, it's possible to tailor rides for specific demographics; women, families, suburbanites, etc. It's also easier to get different business partners and variety in the ride -- restaurants may provide food and drink samples, galleries may partner for art rides, or retail establishments for shopping rides. A business is also better able to provide a clear line of liability in case of accident and maintain a paid staff of ride leaders and organizers to provide a higher level of service. Austin on Two Wheels, for example, capped rides at 50 participants and provided one ride leader for every ten people to watch over unlocked bikes and help keep rides safe.

This concept also carries some challenges. Partners must be committed to growth; it can take 18-24 months for the concept to turn a sustainable profit and its longer-term viability has not been tested, though it may be a reasonable loss leader for a bike shop. It also limits partnerships to a single member of each sector; one bike shop, one newspaper, or one boutique. The clear line of liability also means that the operating business has insurance requirements to carry and will likely have to enforce helmet use.

Discussion

Both rides appeal to different people, but the demographics of the riders were mostly white, though unintentionally so. For the open social rides, this was because the ride started from one social circle and its business preferences. For the paid rides, this was because they were seeking sustainable income. Since bicycles seen as a lesser mode of transportation in impoverished communities and represent gentrification, it can be difficult to promote them, though groups like the Major Taylor Group are trying to increase African American ridership. Either way, more racially diverse ride leadership should help diversify rider participation.

Other problems with social cycling rides were identified. It's easy for the ride's somewhat high turnover to give it over to more aggressive cycling, and efforts to rein it in can be paternalistic.

Responses to paid rides were overwhelmingly positive. Of 300 participants, 60% were women, and every ride had a bicyclist that had not ridden at all in the past year. Of survey respondents, 85% loved the ride, 97% would do it again, and 84% were more likely to revisit the participating businesses. No complaints were received of the ride being too fast, and the complaints of 1/3 of the respondents that the ride was too slow were dismissed. As for distance, the longest single ride was 10 miles and the longest single stretch was five miles, but most rides were just a few miles in stretches of two miles or less at a 10-12 mph pace.

The high ratio of leaders to participants of the paid rides helped keep them very well organized. Walkie-talkies were given to the front and back leaders and other riders would circulate through the ride, keeping riders lined up, directing traffic at intersections, and encouraging the ride to behave well in regards to other users. It helped that the Austin Police Department was non-reactionary, so there was no backlash from law enforcement.

Paid rides started with an intro of the leaders and the participants signing of a waiver stating they knew the rules of the road and agreed to follow ride leader instructions.

Marketing was done through their own website, and partnering businesses were encouraged to do their own promotion as well. It was emphasized that time, rather than distance, was mentioned in all promotions. Though a six mile ride would take about 30 minutes, 30 minutes seemed like an easier ride than six miles. Ride classifications were right out; letter-assignments mean nothing to the new riders being targeted.

Hurting businesses were suggested as rich prospects, as a few dozen potential customers can be enticing. Visits to any business should be during slow hours, though, to minimize disruption to regular services and provide customers when the business would be otherwise idle -- restaurants on Saturday afternoons are a good example.

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Mobile Repair Clinic

Description

Held at 9:30 AM on Friday, June 24, at Sodatooth art gallery. Operating a mobile on-the-go repair clinic through the city and community organizations.

Notes

The original facilitator did not show up for this workshop but the intent was fairly self evident by the name of the workshop. It was begun with a go-around and then by asking the question 'who currently operates a mobile repair unit?'

The Bike Cage from Winnipeg told us that they began as a purely mobile shop until they had enough resources and a space to operate from a permanent location. The Bike Root from Calgary told us that the opposite was true for them, they began with a full shop but after losing their space, kept operations going by setting up in various locations on their campus and around town.

To fix or not? Where do you draw the line?

There were various answers to this question, some shops will only fix flats and minor brake and gear issues. Others were willing to fix anything as long as the tools were available. Arguments for the former included

  • lack of proper tools
  • lack of more advanced tools or replacement parts in case anything went wrong
  • lack of knowledge / trust in the knowledge of some casual volunteers that might attend a mobile repair clinic
  • some provide more hand on repair for mobile units to decrease liability in case a bike owner injures themselves but providing more complicated repairs ourselves increases liability in case the owner injures themselves on their bike afterwards.

and for the latter:

  • We should do our best to get more bikes fixed and on the road
  • We're confident in our skills
  • The worst thing that might happen is that a bike that wasn't on the road is now still not on the road
  • We make bike owners fix their bikes themselves so we are not liable

Other services

In addition to offering minor repairs, the Bike Cage's mobile unit doubles as a bike valet service. There was no elaboration on how the system works.

Getting the message across that a mobile tune tent is not a fully functioning tent

It seemed to be a common problem that when individuals in the community would hear about a free tune-up possibility, they would often bring in bikes that need repairs far beyond what could be done at a tune tent. It was suggested to avoid this, advertise as "light bike repair".

Who holds the tools?

We had a discussion about if the volunteer should fix the bike for the owner or provide the owner with the tools and teach how to fix the bike hands-off. Whether or not tools were handed to the bike owner, teaching at least by the volunteer explaining what he or she was doing seemed to be the norm. The issues behind whether or not to let the owner fix the bike seemed to be liability dependent on both sides. If the volunteer fixes the bike, the shop becomes liable if the bike causes injury down the road while normally the bike owner has not signed a liability waiver to use the tools, so the shop could be liable if they hurt themselves while repairing their bike.

Ride or drive?

We had a discussion on whether or not to drive the equipment to the location or use a trailer. No one seemed to be passionate for either but there are a lot of options out there for trailers big and small. Fargo rides with a huge 4x6 trailer.

Off topic discussion

The conversation went off topic many times but did produce a few interesting ideas:

  • Winnipeg uses a punch card, much like one you would find a a coffee shop or fast food location, to punch out skills that a volunteer has learned. Once the card is completely punched the volunteer can start fixing bikes for others.
  • While discussing how to get enough replacement parts, another bike shop told us they provide local bike shops with barrels which the shops can use to put parts that are still usable but would otherwise throw away. The barrels would be picked up and emptied at regular intervals. This shop did not have a problem finding parts when needed as a result.

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Please be kind to cyclists

Description

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Recycled bike art

Description

Turning garbage into gold.

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Software developers exchange

Description

Projects being worked on, have worked on, or areas they (you) are interested / skilled in. Held Saturday, June 25, at 2:30 PM at the San Marcos Public Library.

Facilitated by Godwin of The Bike Root in Calgary.

Notes

Participants briefly described their technical experience, specifically any coding projects and languages they've used. A few participants were experienced programmers; most were interested in learning or helping a project in other ways like documentation and testing.

Austin Yellow Bike Project's tracking code was discussed and briefly compared to the San Francisco Bicycle Kitchen's Freehub software.

The Yellow Bike Project released their code for public use, and it was noted that SLC had already made a Joomla plugin. The YBP software was also demonstrated live at the workshop.

Steve and User:Godwin of Calgary were (or soon will be) working on independent applications, but the general consensus coalesced around a few ideals.

Any software development push should be oriented towards a web-based solution for the greatest ease in rolling out across various platforms, though it would make it more difficult to install as a software package and could lead to data security and access problems if provided as a hosting service, as SFBK does with Freehub. Additionally, this software should start with one shop in order to develop one full set of features. All features should be written as plugins to a basic core, allowing features to be added as required by various shops.

Key Points

Yellow Bike Project's software may make a suitable core for such a push.

A general wishlist was hashed out, in no particular order:

  • Work-trade management
  • Granular volunteer time tracking
  • Varied reporting options
  • Donation tracking
  • Bike and inventory tracking (including completion of projects)
  • Visitor tracking
  • Communications options (e-mail lists, contacting expiring memberships)
  • Sales tracking (though not point-of-sale)
  • Volunteer skill tracking

Teaching & learning styles

Description

Teaching & learning styles in community bike shops; a discussion about different approaches, what works and what doesn't work as well

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

The future of Bike! Bike!. Where are we going and how are we going to get there? Also, a quick (but no-decisions-made) discussion about where Bike! Bike! will be held in 2012 (that will be decided during the final meeting on Sunday, June 26).

Description

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Utilizing free open-source software

Description

Operating systems and work documents to benefit your project.

Notes

Despite "charity" pricing for software packages from major publishers like Microsoft and Adobe, some software is priced beyond the range of a co-operative's budget, or would be used to infrequently as to make a purchase pointless.

Fortunately, the open source community has responded with a number of free replacements for major software, including for the operating system itself. Most of these packages can be found in Computer Resources.

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Volunteer orientation

Description

Addressing safe space concerns, and a conversation about empowering and maintaining a committed volunteer base

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Weather? What weather? (summer)

Description

How you and your bike can survive the heat

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Weather? What weather? (winter)

Description

How you and your bike can survive the cold

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Women and Transgender shop hours

Description

Policies, Politics, Allies

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Working in under-privileged communities

Description

Working in under-privileged communities: challenges and opportunities

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Working Together

Description

Increasing Inter-Organization Collaboration. The intention of this workshop was to talk about all of the ways in which we as bicycle collectives of different sorts who run our services in many different ways, can share our experiences, successes, failures, and tangible output in order to help other collectives both start and continue to thrive.

Notes

Godwin directed this workshop while Bob Wolfe facilitated in providing a speakers list. A large sheet of paper was used to help keep visible notes, at the end of the discussion the notes were the following:

  • What we need these tools for
    • Learn how to start a collective
    • Learn how to continue running a collective
    • Find example documents
      • Volunteer Privileges
      • Todo for new volunteers
      • Financials
      • Fliers
      • Curricula
      • Manuals
      • 501c and not-for-profit forms
      • Tool lists
      • Inventory
      • Price guide
      • Mission statement
      • Bylaws
      • Safe space
      • Legal documents
      • Letters for grant writing
    • Find out how other organizations run their various programmes
    • Partner with other organizations
  • Brainstorming Ideas which could help
    • A Bike!Bike! Wiki
    • Have more involved wiki moderators who will make suggestions for improvements
    • News feed on wiki
    • Email individuals to improve pages
    • New list-serve other than the Think Tank which can be used for these emails
    • More list-serves for different purposes
    • Online Forums
    • Request documents, pages, and improvements once a year or at other regular intervals
    • Rid the wiki of closed shops
    • RSS feeds on the wiki
    • Separate blog or paper news
    • Paypal donations on BCN or the wiki
    • An umbrella or 'helping hand' organization
    • A seed fund
    • Micro Loans for starting up shops
    • A no-reply list-serve

Key Points

  • An 'umbrella' organization goes against many principles that are held by most shops however a 'helping hand' organization that acts as a third party to facilitate to spread of knowledge and possibly funds would likely not.
  • To improve the wiki it will take some active moderating and contacting of individuals.
  • The wiki is difficult to navigate so it should be reorganized
  • Bikecollectives.org is not serving any other purpose other than providing the wiki.
  • The Think Tank is too much for many to handle, there are too many emails about things that many don't care about.

Outcome

  • Godwin promised to contact the current owners of bikevollectives.org to see if improvements could be made.
  • Adding increased moderation of the wiki will be looked into

Feedback

Working with relationships

Description

Notes

Key Points

Outcome

Feedback

Contact