It is a person’s civil right to have access to a reliable form of transportation. The ability to move from “point A to point B” is a central part of our personal freedom. Luckily, that does not mean every person is entitled to own a car and transportation comes in many forms. Some people live in walkable neighborhoods. Some take buses and subways. Maybe you even ride a horse to get around (if you’re a bad ass cowboy). But for me, the most universal, practical (depending on where you live), affordable, and fun form of transportation is to ride a bicycle.
Bicycles give people freedom and I strongly believe every person needs access to one.
When I lived in Austin, YBP became one of my very favorite places. It is more than an outlet to learn bike repair skills or Earn-A-Bike. It fosters a sense of community and a rare form of authentic altruism (though unfortunately, the original concept of a fleet of community “yellow bikes” to ride, share, and leave for the next person fell victim to selfishness). Everyone is there because they want to help out in some way, all under the banner of bicycles. More than two years later, my Earn-A-Bike still gets me around and I proudly tell people that I built it myself at at YBP.
YBP is the thing I miss most about Austin. It was a place for me to get away from the obligations of work or school. There is not a similar project here in Dallas, a city continually ranked as one of the least bike friendly cities in America, though a handful of bike lanes have started popping up. It’s really exciting that the shop has evolved to even include retail hours. That translates to more bikes on the road, more health people, and a stronger community.
I’ll try to come by for a volunteer session next time I’m in Austin. Thank you for all you provide to the community and the example you set.