Portland’s all-volunteer ‘Bike Farm’ needs more volunteers

Volunteers at Bike Farm Wednesday night. (Photos: Taylor Griggs/BikePortland)

The volunteer-run bike repair education space has cut hours in a bid to survive.

“I’ve only been here one time before, but I’m already in love with it.”

– Julian Day-Cooney

Even if you ride your bike everyday, you might be intimidated by the technical world of bike repair. I feel comfortable biking just about anywhere in the city, but I’ll be honest: until very recently, I barely knew how to reattach my chain if it came loose. While I don’t think it’s necessary to be an expert mechanic in order to have a good time riding your bike, it’s helpful to know how to make basic repairs.

If this sounds appealing to you, look no further than northeast Portland’s Bike Farm (1810 NE 1st Ave): a volunteer-run organization that provides people with the tools and assistance they need to repair their own bikes. The Bike Farm’s goal is to make it easier for people to be self-sufficient, confident riders by giving them a safe, inclusive space to learn about bikes.

People who support the Bike Farm say they’d like it to be available as a resource all the time. But due to a lack of volunteer support, they’ve recently had to pare down their hours and cut the weekend shift – and they’re asking for your support to help change that.

“The fact that the the Bike Farm exists is a continuous miracle,” David S., who has been volunteering with the organization for years, told me when I swung by their building yesterday. “We want to demystify and democratize bike repair to make it the most affordable transportation mode.”

The Bike Farm offers time on their repair stands for $5 an hour. Or you can pay a flat fee of $20 a month, $60 a year, or $200 for a lifetime membership and have unlimited use of the shop during their open hours, which includes all their tools and volunteers at-the-ready to answer any questions you might have. The volunteers won’t fix your bike for you – the point is to get you acquainted with bike repair.

In addition to the technical help and tools, the Bike Farm is also a great place to meet like-minded people who can help get you accustomed to biking in Portland. Julian Day-Cooney is relatively new to the city, having moved here during the height of the pandemic. He’s only been to the Bike Farm a couple times, but he said he has felt really welcomed by the volunteers, and they’ve made him want to become even more involved in the world of Portland biking.

“I’ve only been here one time before, but I’m already in love with it,” Day-Cooney told me.

So check out Bike Farm! And volunteer!

If you want to do it but are wary of your mechanical skills, don’t fear. David said he didn’t know anything about fixing bikes when he first volunteered. But with time and assistance, he now feels confident helping people who come in to utilize their services as well as fixing his own bike.

“It’s empowering to be able to do your own work on your bike. I like to share that empowerment with other people,” he said. “You don’t know if it’s for you or not until you try it.”

Bike Farm is currently open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-8:30 pm, and you can stop into the shop during those hours to volunteer and learn more. Every fourth Thursday they host a volunteer orientation, and this month (September 22nd), Armando Luna (@dudeluna) will lead a group ride over to the orientation to get more people involved. You can also get in contact via email at bikefarm@bikefarm.org or follow them on IG via @bikefarmpdx

Event: Beer for Bikes at the Oregon Brewers Festival (7/28/11 – 7/30/11)

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Event Name: Beer for Bikes at the Oregon Brewers Festival
Event Date: July 28-30 2011
Start Time: 11:45:00 AM
Web Site: http://washingtoncountybikes.org/events

Join us for 2 hours watching bikes for attendees at the 24th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival and get a beer mug and tokens for your efforts.
The shifts start at 15 minutes before the hour and the last will continue until about 30 minutes after closing or the last unlocked bike has left the lot, whichever comes first.

Shifts are:
Thursday, Friday and Saturday July 28,29 & 30.
11:45AM – 2:00PM
1:45 – 4:00 PM
3:45 – 6:00PM
5:45 – 8:00 PM
7:45 – Close (Approx 9:30)

Sunday, July 31
11:45AM- 2:00 PM
1:45 – 4:00PM
3:45 – CLose (Approx. 5:30PM)

Contact Volunteer[at]washcobtc[dot]org to register for your shift.
Remember, 1st come, first served! They go fast, so sign up now!

Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Spread the bike love with these two great volunteer opps

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Check out these two great volunteer opportunities that just popped up. One is with the Community Cycling Center’s youth bike clubs program and the other is with the City of Portland’s Transportation Options division.

From the CCC:

Starting in early April 2011 we’ll be implementing six Bike Clubs in North and Northeast Portland. Our Bike Clubs are free, youth earn-a-bike after-school programs where 9 to 12 year-olds from families with a low income learn safe riding skills, basic bike maintenance, and build their confidence as road users.

We are seeking enthusiastic community members to help support student success throughout the program. Working with two trained bicycle safety instructors, you will gain experience in experiential education program facilitation, safe bicycling, bicycle mechanics, and working with diverse and low-income youth.

From the City of Portland:

Want to help on guided bike rides or walks? Want to share your knowledge of how to get around Portland using active transportation? Come join us as an Ambassador!

The City of Portland Transportation Options Division is looking for volunteers. This is an opportunity to get hands-on experience with the Options staff to reach out to Portland residents through guided walks, guided bike rides, and outreach at community events, such as street fairs and farmers markets. Our focus area this year for SmartTrips is North and NE Portland.

Ambassadors are amazing volunteers that represent the Bureau of Transportation and present information to encourage pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers and transit riders to travel safely together. As part of our SmartTrips program, Ambassadors will assist on guided Ten Toes Walks, Senior Strolls, and Portland By Cycle and Women on Bikes rides. By being an Ambassador you will have a great time while seeing some of North and NE Portland’s beautiful neighborhoods. We also have opportunities to volunteer with our Safe Routes to School and Portland Sunday Parkways programs.

We offer two dates for the training – April 19 or April 27, both 6-8pm, to prepare Ambassadors for the summer. If you are interested in becoming an Options Ambassador, please fill out an application at: http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?&a=329510&c=34749.