For the Corvallis Bicycle Collective, 2011 held a variety of changes and challenges, each of which has prepared us for successful 2012.
Creating a space for the Corvallis community to work on bikes is a core service of the Corvallis Bicycle Collective. Yet, at the end of 2010, we were without a shop, having recently parted ways with the Oregon State University Student Sustainability Initiative that gave us birth. However, in early 2011, we were introduced to the founder of Stumptown Sounds. We were offered free shop space at its location in a barn in South Corvallis. Of course, “free space” needs some serious work. Our volunteers and donors were up to the task, investing nearly $1,000 and hundreds of volunteer hours to renovate the location. Sadly, when were nearly reopened, the city of Corvallis determined that our repairs were not quite up to building code. Just one week before we were set to open, the city condemned the building. Ultimately, the City determined that the space could not be used without investing tens of thousands of dollars in plumbing, sidewalks, driveways, and permits. The space that we had worked so hard to rebuild never opened.
Despite our inability to open at our Southtown location, the Corvallis community turned out to support our April 2011 “reopening” party. An amazing turnout came to enjoy music, food, and tents in front of the boarded up site. Visitors were excited to see both how hard we had worked and to what potential a functioning shop could have. The event raised nearly $700 in memberships and donations. Even more important, the party brought us to the attention of our next partner, the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Corvallis.
Parks and Recreation was able to offer available space we could use for a shop. After so much work at the Stumptown Sounds’ building, this move seemed simple. By June we re-reopened in time to host and help run the Parks and Recreation's Youth Volunteer Corps. This event brought us a variety of volunteers, a great chance to teach youth about bicycle repair, and more positive publicity.
The new shop is located off Ireland Lane, just south of Highway 34, just east across the river from downtown Corvallis. The new shop has been running strong since reopening and in half a year brought our organization a total of over $3000 in revenue. The new location has 4 fully-stocked bike stations. Each stand includes a variety of tools, a workbench, and a bike stand. Most recently, we’ve updated our tool library to include alignment tools and taps. At the shop, anyone can work on their own bike for free, or volunteer to share skills with others, to learn new skills refurbishing bikes. We have a bike library of over 150 bikes and frames for purchase or repair. These bikes are in a variety of conditions—from bare frame to ready to roll. We’re glad to teach help anyone get any bike safely rolling.
In the Corvallis community, the Corvallis Bicycle Collective lent its voice to advocate against a dangerous slip lane that was planned for the Highway 34 bypass. The proposed slip lane would have cut right through our new shop’s front yard making it more dangerous to access by bicycle. After pressure, ODOT has modified the project to remove the idea of the sliplane.
We have also begun partnering with South Corvallis activists who are excitedly advocating for the construction of safe paths to and through Southtown.
The Corvallis Bicycle Collective was in full force at Corvallis’ celebration of World Car Free day, held annually on September 22nd. Our main event was a “bike swap” which put nearly 30 people on used bikes and netted over $1,000 for our organization. An additional $3,000 was paid in consignments to people who brought bikes to sell. Our volunteer mechanics also worked non-stop that day demonstrating and assisting with repairs to keep more Corvallis bicycles running smoothly.
We also helped to host talk given by a high school student from a Tucson cycling club “El Grupo” while on a bicycle trip from Portland to Arizona.
To benefit our organization’s structure, and to benefit of our donor’s tax returns, the Corvallis Bicycle Collective submitted its paperwork to become recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization. As of April 2011, the IRS recognized that we are, and always have been, a charitable organization.
This year also saw the completion of a new computer database to catalog our shop’s bicycles, sales, and volunteer hours. This has served to replace our previous system of overstuffed binders and hard-to-track scraps of paper. The organization also designed and created a new a bike sticker for your favorite ride and printed out new glossy business cards, both with help from ProPrint of Corvallis. The bike stickers are free to anyone who brings a bicycle into to the shop.
In another move, www.CorvallisBikes.org is our new online home. We hope it’s easier to remember and to spell than our old site. Together, we hope these organizational changes will attract more visitors, more grant money, and ultimately more Corvallis bikers in 2012.
We owe a special thanks to donor Terri Odell who provided us with a $1,000 donation in memory of Tom Haswell. Special thanks as well to donor Penny Kollen who provided us with several key donations when times were looking the grimmest.
We also want to thank a local group of OSU students who put on a bicycle drive. We always have plenty of other projects, big and small, for other enterprising student groups or volunteers.
Over the past year, meeting space has been volunteered by a variety of places, all of whom deserve our thanks. This includes the Universalist Unitarian Church, the Veggie House, the OSU Student Sustainability Center, Market of Choice, First Alternative Food Co-op, Community Outreach Inc., Stumptown Sounds, and the city of Corvallis Parks and Recreation Department.
We added new board members, including Shelley, Robert, and Yaney, a new chair Paul. Our board said thanks to departing board members Michael, Ken, Kate, and Dan.
Thanks too to all the volunteers, members, shop customers, donors, well-wishers, and everyone out enjoying their bikes in Corvallis.
Although we are not yet large enough for the IRS to require us to give detailed financial reporting, transparency and open participation are key values of our organization. In 2011, we spent around $2,000 on tools and supplies for our shop, $1,000 repairing the Stumptown Sounds location that never opened, and around $600 on providing and advertising our various events. In 2012, we expect to put another $2,550 into our shop tools and supplies and around $1,550 to events.
In 2011, most of our money came from the shop, including $1,500 from the sales of bikes and another $1,800 from the sales of parts. Another $2,100 came from directly from contributions and memberships. Another $1,000 came from our Car Free Day fundraiser and $400 from recycling scrap metal and unreparable bikes.
This year, we hope to continue bringing as many people into the shop as it will hold and to increase our sales of bikes and parts. To broaden our membership, we have lowered the price of a membership to $15.
There’s a lot we hope to do, and we expect that we’ll continue to confront and meet challenges we haven’t yet prepared for. Here are some of our aspirations:
We are always accepting new volunteers, donations of bicycles or parts, and contributions and memberships. The best way to get involved is to talk to us in person at our shop during open hours.
If you want to make a contribution or become a member, you can make a secure online payment through Paypal at www.corvallisbikes.org/member or cut out the form below and return it to our shop in person or by mail.