Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hit the Ground Rolling

If you've been following the blog posts while I was bicycle touring the US (list of posts), you'll already know that a community bike space, BiCi Co., is in the works at the Center for Latino Progress.  For those that are just now joining the party, we'll bring you up to speed.   
The BiCi Co. logo was designed by Hartford resident, Kyrima Colon

The City of Hartford does not have a single bike shop.  How can that be?  Large numbers of Hartford youth ride for transportation and recreation, but they don’t have brakes, helmets or lights.  Bicycle safety training is nonexistent in our schools.  How can we address that?  The Center for Latino Progress sees this as an opportunity to improve youth safety, while also increasing our community’s mobility and jobs access.  The Center of Latino Progress has teamed up with Breakfast Lunch & Dinner to launch BiCi Co., a community bike space that is key for a healthy, sustainable, and economically vibrant Hartford.   Bici is shorthand for bicicleta, and Co. represents the community benefits of healthy, active transportation.
The bicycle station in Washington DC.  Why not in Hartford?
Bici Co. will host after-school programs teaching bicycle history, safety and mechanic skills to Hartford area teenagers..  BiCi Co. members will have access to the mechanic space during member hours and receive discounts on repair parts and accessories. Members will learn how to maintain and repair their own bike with the help of experienced mechanics. Bici Co. will offer community bicycle safety and repair classes.  Bicycles build community, connect residents to jobs, increase local spending, and respect the Earth.  And don’t forget, they’re just plain fun.  BiCi Co. can’t wait to be a bustling hub for those excited about bicycle culture in the Hartford area.
A parallel parking spot bike corral in front of a bike shop in DC
This summer, the Center invested in a community, teaching bicycle shop at 95 Park Street for thirty teens completing their Summer Youth Employment service learning project. During the seven-week program, the teens repaired bikes for the CRT Generations Program and confirmed a need for additional bicycle programs year round. BiCi Co. needs funds to open the shop and staff the initial youth and adult programs.  BiCi Co. is raising funds by securing annual memberships and donations to cover the expenses of the continuing programs from October through December 2015.  A successful crowdfunding campaign will keep this big wheel rolling. 

Beautiful urban mural art in Baltimore.  Near the ravens stadium, an otherwise desolate area.
 Hartford has a rich history of bicycle manufacturing and culture. In the 1890's, Colonel Albert Pope and the Columbia Bicycle Company manufactured the most bicycles in the world in Hartford.  BiCi Co. goes back to those roots with social purpose and community focus. You have an opportunity to support the growing wave of sustainable and healthy bicycle commuting in Hartford and its surrounding cities.  Anthony Cherolis, the Center’s Youth Coordinator says, “You can’t imagine the joy on a teen’s face when they fix their own bicycle.  That bicycle opens up their world.”  Be a part of our community - BiCi Co.
Baltimore has a separated bikeway going through downtown
About the Center For Latino Progress: The Center for Latino Progress – CPRF (formerly Connecticut Puerto Rican Forum, Inc.) mission is to advance the socio-economic conditions of the community at large, with emphasis on Hispanics, through education, training, supportive services, leadership development, and advocacy. Since 1978, we provide competent and culturally enriching services and programs that foster individual and community growth, and create economic opportunities for all.  More information is available at

 Mural art in Philly
 The two Fall programs that will be supported by the campaign include the teen Build-a-Bike / Earn-a-Bike program and Member DIY Hours.  In the next couple of weeks we'll be opening up Demo Member hours for those that want to see what BiCi Co. is all about.  Like the Facebook page to get the latest announcements about member hours.  Right now, we're looking for feedback on which times work the best for folks.  Please chime in.  It would also be awesome if you invite other Hartford metro bicycle loving (or bike curious) folks to also like the page.  The more the merrier!
We found the largest crawdad ever on trail.  Aggressive fellow.
Elizabeth joined me from Trenton, NJ to New Brunswick, NJ
Multi-modal to Monclair, NJ.  Rolled on board the train.
Of course there's a bike corral in front of the Philly Whole Foods