Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 27th, 2008 at 2:47 pm
Community groups and local bike shops came together yesterday to keep Portland’s homeless population rolling smooth on two wheels.
Thousands of families and individuals in need of basic health and social services came to the Memorial Coliseum in Portland yesterday for the annual Project Homeless Connect event. Among the many stations offering services was a transportation area that offered free bike helmets, lights, maps, and tune-ups.
Ian Stude from the PSU Bike Co-op and Alex Criss from River City Bicycles worked non-stop throughout the day to tighten, clean, repair and replace parts on numerous bikes. One bike makeover recipient was a man named Tony (he didn’t want to share his last name).
Tony said he paid only $19.99 for his bike and that he’s always been, “hesitant to spend $60-70 on a repair.” He was concerned about “mushy” feeling brakes. “It was taking me half a block to stop, a whole block in the rain,” he said as he pointed out a pair of newly-installed brake pads.
Tony was extremely grateful for the assistance and said, “Helping out some homeless guy with a bicycle, come on, you can’t beat that.”
In addition to free bike repair, trauma nurses from Legacy Emanuel Hospital fitted attendees with new helmets and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) hosted bike safety clinics.
The BTA’s Michelle Poyourow said they decided to ask each participant to attend a five-minute clinic before receiving the free services. She was initially worried that people would shy away from the clinic, but she soon realized people were eager to learn, especially if it meant they could get a free helmet, a set of lights, or a tune-up.
“We filled up the classes all day,” she said, “We had about 160 people go through…much more than last year.”
Read more about the event on the BTA’s blog.