Thursday, October 23, 2008

Eighteen Percent!

Last night I attended a meeting of the Gabriola Transportation Committee as a representative of GGBP. A lot of great ideas were tossed around and results of the recent Transportation Survey were presented. There was one statistic that I found amazing: 18% of respondents use a bicycle for everyday transportation (errands, commuting, socializing, etc.). Copenhagen is the bikingest place on the planet at 33% but they have considerable infrastructure in place (bike lanes, bike parking/storage facilities, bikes-only streets, etc.) not to mention a century or more of bicycle history and culture. Without any of these things, a significant number of Gabriolans are already using a bicycle for something other than recreation. The goal of the Gabriola Green Bikes Project is to increase that number by making bikes available to anyone who needs one short-term and by increasing bicycle awareness at every opportunity.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thank You!

This post will be an ongoing Thank You Note to all the individuals and organizations who have helped the project to move forward. Very much appreciated!

EVERYONE who has donated a bicycle
Hank Sirlin
The Gabriola Commons
Arbutus Building Supply
Village Hardware
The Gabriola Sounder
The Flying Shingle
Nicholson Cycle (Victoria, BC)
Totally Timbers
The Rollo Center
Carol Ramsey
Ken Capon
Lisa Webster-Gibson
Kevan Heughan
Sigrid Bjarnason
Caylie and Laurum Graham
Joelle Anthony
Steve at GIRO


The Gabriola Green Bikes Project, brainchild of long time island resident Hank Sirlin, is being nudged towards fruition by Sirlin himself, Victor Anthony, and the good people of Gabriola.

The idea is to put a free bicycle under the butt of every Gabriolan or visitor who wants to use one for an hour, an afternoon, or a weekend. GGBP is modelled after other public bicycle initiatives around North America, most notably the Yellow Bikes Project in Portland, Oregon. What GGBP is not, is a giveaway program. These are public bikes, intended for public use, and are not to be taken home and used by one individual exclusively.

The goal is to have 100 bicycles in sound mechanical condition (read: safe), painted and distributed all around the island. For the time being, the depot will be the goat barn at The Commons, and that’s where you should drop off a bike if you have one to donate to the project.

How can you help? Aside from more bikes, the program could use a little cash for parts (inner tubes, brake cables, etc.) to get the bicycles already donated up and running. Also, anyone with basic mechanical skills and some free time is most welcome to volunteer.

Lastly, start using these bikes as soon as you see them around. You can’t miss them. They’ll be painted bright green; tires, handlebars and all.

As Hank says, “Every bike in motion means one less car on the road.” But remember, please ride responsibly. These aren’t racing machines. Think tooling down to The Village to pick up some scones, as opposed to hurtling down Brickyard hill.

To help out or make suggestions, please email victorsez2 at gmail dot com. Also, thanks to The Commons for the space, to Village Hardware for the donation of paint, and to everyone who has kindly donated bicycles thus far. Much appreciated.

Now, let’s get this show on the road!