YBP News for February 2013

You’ve Got Mail!

Sure, we all realize that greeting is a little outdated. But like finding a lugged steel treasure hiding in the back of a garage, the unexpected discovery of something old-fashioned can really leap out and grab your attention. That’s why we’d like to kick off this month’s e-newsletter by asking you to lend your pen to the Yellow Bike Project’s postcard campaign.

Next time you stop by Webberville, you’ll probably notice that there’s a stack of yellow postcards at the front desk. Once they’ve been filled out, these lil’ canaries will take flight towards City Hall. What is it we’d like to communicate to our local government, you ask? Well, actually, that’s what we’re asking you. Want to express your gratitude for the expanding bicycle infrastructure? Need to howl your grief over the shocking number of auto-related fatalities plaguing our streets? Frustrated over two-ton tickets for your twenty-pound traffic violations? Pleased to know that officials consider your rides to have value beyond recreation? Write it!

Most cycling advocacy presents a single spokesperson for our diverse population. Through our yellow postcard campaign, we’re flipping that model on its head and giving everyone’s opinion a voice. So drop by, scribble down that thought that’s always burning a hole in your helmet, and we’ll take care of the snail-mailing.

Maps Towards Paths

Speaking of municipal works, you may have heard of the Green Lane Project, the six-city initiative that’s behind some of the more progressive cycle paths popping up around town these days. Ever wonder about the research required to create a more bike-friendly environment? One powerful planning tool might be folded up in your messenger bag at this very moment. When he’s not helping you sort out the finer points of braking power and cable pull, YBP’s own Nathan Wilkes has the enviable day-job of engineering the future of alternative mobility for the City of Austin, and he’s penned a fascinating article on how the same bike map that helps you find your way from A to B with ease can also help cities to create more cohesive bikeways overall. Give it a read for some unique perspective on the glossy, eightfold big picture.

HONK!TX

Wondering who’s going to ride that bike you’ve spent so many volunteer hours tuning and tweaking? Right now, the bulk of our fixed-up adult bikes are bound for the third annual HONK!TX community street band festival. From March 22–24, second lines, drum corps, and brass bands from across the country will descend on Austin for a weekend of sousaphonic fun. Unlike that other March music festival, HONK!TX is a badge-free, wristband-free, free to the public free-for-all for all ages. Traveling from the far edges of the continent to entertain the people without reimbursement can, of course, present some logistical challenges. That’s why YBP is happy to be continuing our tradition of offering loaner bikes to visiting musicians.

All y’all wonderful community wrenches have been helping us churn out this year’s fleet at an impressive rate. For a little extra nudge towards blowing our own horn over 70 satisfied riders, we’re holding a HONK! work party on Saturday, March 2, beginning at noon. This shop is not open to the public, but we would like to encourage experienced mechanics to attend—if you can overhaul an old clunker or two without a coordinator’s assistance, swing on by. Not the fastest wrench in Texas, but wondering how else you can help? Click here for more ways to lend HONK!TX a hand.

South Austin Bike Shed

Few things make the YBP Collective smile more than the widespread proliferation of community bike shops, and we think that this here town is plenty big enough for more than one of us. We’ve been excited to lend a hand to some organizers in the ’04 who have been hard at work transforming the South Austin Bike Shed from an idea into a reality. Since September, SABS has been offering up tools and workspace about twice a month to folks looking to get a little grease under their nails without heading north of Lady Bird Lake. They’ll have the doors open at 809 Columbus Street (between Bouldin Avenue and South Third Street) on Sunday, February 17, Sunday, March 17, and Sunday, March 31, 5pm–8pm. Anyone’s invited to fix up their own bike or lend a hand as a volunteer. SABS is off to a steady start and hopes to continue to grow and expand their shop hours by bringing more committed folks into the fold. Interested in helping out, but can’t make it out on a Sunday evening? Give Yoni a holler—yonilevin@gmail.com.

Women.Design.Build (and Wrench)

Women.Design.Build is an organization offering design and construction workshops to foster skills, confidence, and community among Austin’s female population. On Saturday, February 16, 10am–Noon, they’ll be joining the Ghisallo Foundation to host a bike maintenance class out here at our Webberville HQ. Women-specific hours and formally structured workshops are two things we hear a lot of requests for around here, so we hope the folks from WDB and Ghisallo find themselves with a full house. Registration costs $20—sign up by clicking here. (Although WDB workshops are female-oriented, men are allowed to attend, as well.)

That’s all well and good, we hear you saying, but what happened to Lady Bike? Where’s the love, YBP? It’s true, we haven’t scheduled one of our no-guys-allowed shops in quite some time, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like to see women at 51% of our workstands. YBP strives to create a safe space for everyone, regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, background, age, or ability. That said, we realize that entrenched norms can be intimidating and mansplaining can be infuriating. Feel more confident dealing with a female coordinator? Some of YBP’s finest can be found this month at Monday evening, Wednesday, and Friday Open Shops.

Eeyore’s Birthday Present

Finally, a shout-out this month to the folks at the Friends of the Forest Foundation for selecting YBP to join a regular who’s-who of Austin non-profits as a beneficiary of Eeyore’s Birthday Party. Thanks for keepin’ it weird, we can’t complain. Don’t forget, YBP is an all-volunteer 501(c)3, and your material and monetary donations are tax-deductible. Support what we do, but can’t make it out to the shop? Fixed up your own bike at Webberville, but don’t have time to volunteer in kind? Consider making a donation by clicking here.