Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Another Roadside Breakfast

Yeah, we don't care that it might be snowing Friday morning. We'll just move our breakfast operation inside! Join us for muffins (provided lovingly by Jen) and other goodies this Friday, December 1st from 7:30am until 9:30am.

I know there are determined cyclists out there who will ride no matter the weather, so let's eat!

Global Warming Discussion at ICPL

Tomorrow night (Wednesday, November 29) there will be a panel discussion on global warming at the Iowa City Public Library. It will start promptly at 7:00 if anyone is interested in attending. I (Cody) will be there as a representative of the Bike Library, and in my allotted six minutes I'll describe how the BL works and if there's time why bicycles are a more environmentally & socially conscious transportation option, especially compared to, say, the automobile.

Other topics in the discussion will include recycling, the Campus Climate Challenge at the UI, the eco-footprint initiative going on in Cedar Falls, and more. Joe Bolkcom will moderate.

It's intended to stay within two hours.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Is it me or is it warm out here?!!!

The warm weather brought out the people on Saturday!!! James and I (Brian) worked our retail magic. We were inspired to put some bikes out sidewalk-sale style. We checked out a few bikes and sold some of Cody’s gorgeous T-shirts. In the midst of all our scurrying about, my good friend John Moreland from Des Moines paid me a visit. He gave me a brief report on Capital City's efforts to start their own BL… good luck DM!

I started to sort through derailleurs to get rid of some of our excess. We now have a $1.00 box for front and rear ders. We also have an excess of brakes that I may try to sort. Just don’t throw out any Mafacs!!!

One thing I’m wondering… what happened to the tall Peugeot???

Monday, November 20, 2006

Please Help!

I just found out that the City is going to give us some space behind the wall in the John Wilson Building. We need to move on it immediately, so a work crew is being put together for tomorrow (Tuesday, November 21). I'll add details as I get them. Anyone willing/able can send me an email (cody-g@ncjc.org) or call me (325-6359) or just show up.

Here's the plan: Steve & I will do a couple salvage runs in the morning. Brian will join us after noon to move all the remaining, repairable bikes from the bus depot to the new space within the John Wilson Building. Steve & I will probably start rolling around 10am. We could use help loading the truck and doing some on-the-spot stripping of good parts. After the salvage run we'll need help moving bikes. Please, help us if you can!


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Notes from the BIG Meeting

This is what I wrote down during our meeting, so if anyone catches anything I've missed, please add it to the Comments below.

Winter Schedule

This Week: Tuesday, regular work hours, 6 - 8
Saturday, regular checkout hours, 10 - 1

December 23 - January 5: closed
Reopen January 6, regular checkout hours, 10 - 1

The New Division of Labor

Nothing has been officially decided as to who will do exactly what, but we need to consider what duties we can all cover. Several ways to split up tasks were discussed, including assigning two or more people to one job (so they can work out their own schedules/workload) and assigning jobs to different people each month. The jobs are described below in the earlier post about agenda.

Volunteer Coordinator was added to the list of duties. This is kind of a big one, but anyone with much experience at the Bike Library should get comfortable directing new volunteers. The Volunteer Coordinator's main three duties are recruiting, screening, and training volunteers. It's important to take on volunteers who are willing to make some level of commitment. It can deplete our time & energy to train a new volunteer for a month, only for that person to leave within that time.

Bike Organization: Anyone with skills in spatial organizing and keeping up on our seemingly endless intake of used bikes would be great for this job.

Bike Repair: James has, almost by default, become the head mechanic. Perhaps James and a couple other skilled volunteers could field this one, i.e. keeping repaired bikes up with demand, directing volunteers to tasks appropriate to their skill levels.

Money: Brian & I (Cody) have been taking care of this for a while, and I'm comfortable to keep doing it. It might be nice to add one more person to this task, maybe someone with skills keeping the books balanced.

Contact Person: Any good talkers out there? PR is pretty important, so the BL won't fade from the collective public mind.

Spring Schedule: I'll try to set something up online, so people can sign up without waiting for the BL to be open. We'll probably have to be more strict about signing up for days volunteers want to work (even if it's only a couple days in advance), since it got a little crazy several times last summer. (If we aren't able to set up something effective online, we'll just have to stick with the big calendar inside the BL.)

Phone for the BL

I (Cody) would like there to be a ground-line phone with answering machine at the BL, because I have been the voice of the BL for almost a year. Before that, it was Brian. It would be good for all volunteers to have to answer the phone once in a while. It's a good way to learn the operation when somebody's on the line asking a handful of odd questions, and it's a good tool in an emergency.

I'll do the research to find out cost, and I'll put it in the hands of EA, since it's really the board's decision.

Rental Bench

Rental Bench hours have been decided to be on Saturdays from 1 until 5. One person can rent the bench at a time, and volunteers (up to 4) can also use this time to work on their own bikes. Steve has committed to sitting in for rental bench hours to get it started, but anyone else who wants to share this easy effort can talk to Steve.

Rentals are free with membership to EA, BIC or the IBC. Otherwise, it's $10/hour, which includes incidentals like grease and lube. Renters should be encouraged to buy their parts from a local bike shop, but if it's dire the BL can sell parts at retail price.

BIC Bike Giveaway

For the holidays BIC is going to give away new bicycles to kids in the area. We don't really have any details yet, but the BL could help with assembly of some of the bikes. I'll update here as we find out more.


The Bike Library party will be Saturday, December 9th at 7pm. It will either be at Sam's or the Brewery (I'll call to find out prices and if they can handle a slew of us that night). Everyone is invited, from BL volunteers to EA boardmembers! It's in our budget to buy a round of pizzas, so come on!!

Other Issues

Trailer Rentals and a policy to deal with our new 8 footer as well as the old wood-bottomed Burley will be worked out by Del, Steve and me (Cody). Anyone else who wants to join the Subcommittee on Trailer Affairs should let any one of us know.

Roadside Breakfast has been the baby of the BL since last May. We discussed diversifying this event by getting some sponsorship. Maybe BIC would like to be involved. Maybe New Pi would like to donate some of that fine, fair trade coffee.

The Issue Regarding Storage

We still don't know what we're going to do about space now that we've lost the bus depot. Brian will do some more work on this, and hopefully we'll have good news by Monday. I'll update here as soon as I know.

It ain't always easy, doin' what we do, but it will all be fine. Really.

Well, I believe that's all I've got. Thanks to everybody who met yesterday.

See you all soon.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bike Triage!

I just found out that we are indeed losing our convenient, next-door storage in the old bus depot. At this moment we have no storage alternative, so the bike triage begins. Today, Friday the 17th, I will be stripping bikes from noon until 5-ish. Tomorrow we'll be open our usual 10 to 1 hours, so we can do more triage then.

Tomorrow's meeting is at 3:30, so we can talk about our options at that time.

Anybody who wants to join in, please do.

the Cute Hat Brigade

Jennifer brought Wally

Five women, working talking laughing

Ladies' Night 11/16

Thursday, November 16, 2006

This is currently the

agenda for Saturday's meeting (Nov. 18 at 3:30 at House of Aromas). (Click on it for a larger view.) My biggest concern at the moment is how we will reorganize when the full-time volunteer (me) turns back into a small-time pumpkin. I honestly think it will be an easy transition, but we'll need to be clear about responsibilities. The "Division of Labor" isn't exactly clear on the agenda, so I'll explain it a little.

A. Bike Organization: refers to the management side of the operation. If we ran a bike shop, we would call this Sales. This involves making decisions about donated bikes, whether they need to get in line for repair or for disassembly & salvage. I made new repair tags that every bike should get. It can be an itemized list of repairs or a list of parts to remove for reuse before being shipped to the scrap yard. Either way, a tag on each bike will help us save time & energy on bike sorting.

B. Bike Repair: is the Service side of a bike shop. This one is pretty straightforward in that someone needs to be sure we are keeping up with repairs and demand. Whoever wants to be in charge of this will probably have to do a lot of directing & instructing of volunteers. This might also be where the aforementioned repair tags get applied.

C. Money: is like it sounds. Bike deposits need to be recorded and deposited into the bank, while refunds need to be sent to the accountant. These transactions need to be balanced in the ledger.

D. Contact Person: will be the Public Relations, from telling people BL hours to answering inquiry from various media. This is important when we need to solicit the public for bike donations and to keep up the buzz about what we do. Occassionally, radio, TV, and newspaper folks come to us wanting to do little info pieces about the BL.

E. Spring Schedule: should not depend on one person to open the door for repair or checkout. There are four active volunteers with keys, so we could just split it up by day or trade days from week to week or month to month.

There is certainly overlap from one job to the next, so I think we will have flexibility as long as we know what is expected from our responsibilities. We are always seeing new faces, and it's important for those of us who know how the Bike Library operates to guide new or less experienced volunteers. This is something that all of the duties of the BL have in common.

Everything else on the agenda is low-key, but I wanted to get this information posted so anyone wanting to can put some thought into it before Saturday afternoon. If you think of anything that should be added to the agenda, let me know or just show up to the meeting and share it then.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Multiple Lives of Volunteers: Part I

Michael, on the left, is the owner & operator of the grittiest bike shop in town, the Broken Spoke. By grittiest I mean it's a classic bike shop with interesting new & used parts & bikes everywhere. No sterile bike store here and we love it. When you stop in be sure to say hello to Weiner Posse and Magnus, the two Feline Americans who find residence at the Spoke.


On the right is Daren, a musician and member of local great Racoo-oo-oon. I don't think I can properly describe Racoo-oo-oon, so you should just check out the website.


The Big Meeting

This Saturday, November 18th at 3:30pm is the semi-annual Bike Library meeting. The location has been set for House of Aromas on Clinton St.

We'll discuss all the wonderful possibilities of next year. Do you remember how big the change was from last year to this one? Oh man, I get excited when I think that all those things won't have to be done again. We will have to make sure our bases are covered for when we lose the full-time volunteer in early February.

I'll work out an agenda and post it soon, so stay glued to this here spot!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Another proud addition to the BL

The Bike Library looks so cozy at night...

and things just got a little cozier with our brand new HOT POT!

The Hitch

This is probably the most amazing part of the new trailer.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Here it is!

This thing is amazing, but it gets terrible gas mileage. (Har, har.) It's eight feet long!!

My favorite part of putting the trailer together was the fenders. The easiest and sturdiest fenders I've ever installed. And, pretty... look at the shiny!

Roadside Breakfast 11/3

It was a cold one!! Nonetheless, fifteen cyclists stopped for a quick scone.

(Steve & Jen clutch steaming beverages.)

(This is Verna. Yesterday was her birthday, and we just love this Ladies' Night regular!)

Ladies' Night 11/2

Jennifer & I overhauled the hub of her front wheel, while Amy & Jen cheered us on.

Ladies' Night began after Holly & I had many discussions about getting more women into bicycle repair and culture. She told me about her experiences at Plan B in New Orleans. They were doing a Ladies' Night once a week, and she said it was one of few refuges during those first grueling months of rebuilding. After she told me about it, she simply asked if we could do something like that at the Bike Library.

Why didn't I think of it before??? It has been a true pleasure to be a part of it, and last night Holly & I discussed the progress we've seen in the regular Ladies' Night visitors. When we get together there is a symbiosis in which we all exchange information. By teaching I am learning, and that is empowerment.

Last Wednesday

I said I wouldn't, but I am. Sorry, James, but I'm gonna post these pictures anyway.

Notice here in the first photo, the very casual "accidental" way James avoided being completely in the shot. Brian is not so shy.

So, I'm forced into the sneak attack while James innocently looks over shifters or something.

(Notice the clock in the first picture... not even 6pm and it's pitch black outside!)