Urban Velo

Bike Bike Conference 2008

This weekend, from September 25-28, bicycling activists and organizers from across North America will converge in San Francisco for the 5th annual Bike Bike Conference of Community and Recycled bike projects. Plan B of New Orleans organized the original conference in 2004, with projects in Tucson, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh playing host in years since.

Many cities across North America have some sort of DIY community bike project or collective. No two are the same, as most focus their work toward local needs, and tend to have their own local flair, although there is the common goal of getting more people on bikes, quickly, while attempting to build community and getting to know your neighbors. Most projects also have a strong environmental and re-use agenda that eschews consumerism, even within the bike world. The website, www.bikecollectives.org, has been acting as the umbrella site for projects to share information and documents, and provide a general resource for shops that want to start or expand their programming.

One of the more exciting and frustrating parts of running these crazy projects, while maintaining a DIY ethic, is that we are all “inventing the wheel” so to speak. Shops are continually trying to figure out how to best balance their work while not consuming volunteer’s lives more than they want. Bike Bike is a chance where we all get together to trade ideas, to learn from one another, and to generally geek out about our projects. We also leave plenty of room to have fun and party, so the conference also acts as a huge morale booster for often times tired, burnt, and for the most part, unpaid community organizers and activists. This year, the plan is to ride bikes to Santa Cruz for a multi-day after-party of bike events and chilling on the beach.

If your town happens to have a bike project, consider lending them a hand this week. No doubt they’re short on volunteers, and will be even shorter this week with some of their core people in San Francisco.

Bike Bike preview submitted by official friend of Urban Velo and general partner in crime Erok Boerer. Look for more from Bike Bike 2008 as the conference goes forward, and hopefully some arm twisting will produce more from Erok in the future on DIY bike collectives, amongst other topics.

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