This story was written by Portland bike fun enthusiast and Shift volunteer, One Hwang. (Please note: This project is not affiliated with Shift or Pedalpalooza.)
Pedalpalooza 2018 is right around the corner and the bike fun community fire is burning hot. This year we want even more people to organize and attend Pedalpalooza rides, so we’re going to try something new: A Bike Fun Library with everything you need to lead a successful ride!
Members of the public could more easily organize their own Pedalpalooza ride if they had access to a bike ride equipment library, where they could borrow for free a flat bed trailer, sound system, disco ball, batteries, and radio transmitter. Furthermore, if they receive training on how to welcome women and other underrepresented groups, they could help create a more inclusive bike community and address factors that discourage these groups from participation.
We will soon create the Bike Fun Library. And we need your help to make it happen.
Kiel Johnson will host it at the Go By Bike valet in South Waterfront and he’s even offered to provide logistical support. We’ll train library users to reduce gender and race-based bias and other forms of inequality through orientation workshops. A group of women leaders in the social bike community will plan a series of workshops. You can help by donating equipment or money to our GoFundMe campaign to buy the equipment. Also, join the user group email list to stay informed of our activities.
The average Pedalpalooza ride leader needs a mobile sound system and paraphernalia once a year. They can be expensive, and people do not need to own them. They just need to borrow in the same way people borrow books from libraries.
At the same time, something about our culture seems to prevent women from joining the bike community. Minorities also lack representation, as described in this BikePortland article by Taz Loomans. We know that most people are well-intentioned, and if they knew what they could do to help reverse this trend, they would help to change the culture.
Maria Schur, who will be co-leading the orientation workshops, says,
“I’m lucky enough to have a bold personality and a willingness to ‘barge’ in on any ride. Also, just by courtesy of being an experienced rider, I find it easy to fit in on most rides with most bike groups. However, I have witnessed women generally being treated as beginners on rides, even when that’s not the case. I’ve also seen and experienced harassment of women, often based on physical appearance. Much like bikes are often marginalized by car culture, women cyclists are often marginalized by men cyclists. There are many ways to fight this, and one way is through sharing our experiences and learning together how to show the men how they can help us feel welcome and equal on rides. I hope the library orientation workshops will accomplish just that, and am honored to participate.”
The library would be accessible to and benefit all members of the public. We will ask for a small, refundable deposit before lending out equipment to ensure that it’s returned in good condition.
Scott Batchelar, who led the most number of Pedalpalooza rides last year, says, “As a long time Pedalpalooza and Bike Fun rider and leader, the idea to set up a bike equipment library is a great idea that I wholeheartedly support and look forward to using on my bike adventures in the future.”
We hope to raise $500 by the start of Pedalpalooza in June so we can purchase things like a sound system/speaker, first aid kit, cooler, “ride leader” sashes, and more. Check out the GoFundMe to learn more and to donate. Thanks for being a part of Portland’s bike fun culture!
— One Hwang
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