YBP News for March 2013


March means it’s time once again for the Yellow Bike Project’s favorite Austin music festival. No, not that one—we’re talking about a badge-free, wristband-free, free-to-the-public free-for-all for all ages, the third annual HONK!TX Festival of Community Street Bands. From March 22–24, second lines, drum corps, and brass bands from across the country will descend on our city for a weekend of sousaphonic fun. Completely disinterested in signing fat contracts or landing corporate sponsorships, these horn-blowing, drum-banging folks will be rolling through for the sheer fun of sharing their sounds with you, and YBP is proud to once again support their visit by providing transportation for musical pedalers.

Just like the rest of our programs, we wouldn’t be able to offer HONK! a fleet of loaner bikes year after year if it wasn’t for the hard work of volunteer mechanics just like you. So, if you’ve been out at the shop lending a hand over these last couple months, we’d like you to join us in riding along with the HONK! final-day parade. Meet us on 4th and Chicon at Pan American Park, March 24, 11:30am on your best-dressed bicycle and in the duds as zany as your heart’s desire. Too shy to be seen, but still want to celebrate the fruits of your labor? The audio-visual pleasure begins at noon, with the procession circling the neighborhood and returning to the Pan-Am Park stage for the grand finale all-band revue.

Have a personal bike or cargo trailer to loan? To augment our offering, contact Rachel—rmescall@gmail.com. For more ways to aid this year’s sonic spectacle, click here.

Road Skills 101

Whether you bought it fresh and shiny from your neighborhood shop or resurrected it with your own two hands out here at YBP, nothing excites quite like a new bike. However, if you’re not used to riding in traffic, the simple thrill of pushing pedals can be overwhelmed by the fear of sharing pavement with motor vehicles and the uncertainty of what really constitutes safe riding. Need a helping hand to get you rolling with confidence? Come out to the shop for Road Skills 101 on Saturday, March 23, at noon. Traffic law and safety tips will be taught in a classroom-style setting, followed by a short, easy-paced group ride to put the knowledge into practice. This class is free, but please sign up in advance by talking to a coordinator at the shop or emailing Sarah—SarahRheaWelch@gmail.com. Participants should bring their bike, a helmet, and water—if you don’t have access to a bike or a helmet, let us know when you register, and we’ll see what we can do.

Widen Elementary Does It Themselves

Widen Elementary in Southeast Austin is one cool school. Seeing a need in their community for access to working bikes for kids, staff and parents have taken the initiative by visiting YBP to learn the ins and outs of fixing flats and adjusting Ashtabulas. In return, we’ve stocked these good folks up with the tools to take matters into their own hands on-site at Widen. This weekend marked their first bike clinic, fixing up students’ rides and continuing to spread mechanical knowledge within the community as they gear up for a bike rodeo on Saturday, April 6. We’ve been humbled by the after-hours work ethic of these educators, and would love to lend them more hands than we have—perhaps you have a pair to spare? If you’d like to help out at the rodeo or offer support for their continuing efforts, contact Assistant Principal Angelita Sevier—asevier@austinisd.org.

Communities in Schools Bike Drive

Meanwhile, on the north end of the Eastside, Communities in Schools Site Coordinators at Webb and Dobie Middle Schools are preparing summer programs that will allow youth to explore their city on two wheels. To make sure there’s a saddle for every student, YBP is encouraging donations of 24” and 26” bikes suitable for sixth-graders. Did your adolescent just growth-spurt their way to a full-size frame? We’ll be happy to take that old curb-hopper off your hands, fix it up, and pass it on to the caring mentors at CIS.

Swobo Raffle

Every once in a while, a bike gets dropped off at the shop in the kind of minty, polished condition that makes even the saltiest coordinator do a double-take. What to do with a used bike that’s almost brand new? Well, with our 16th birthday just a couple months away, how about a $1 raffle? That’s right, a single Washington is your ticket to win a baby-blue Swobo Folsom single-speed with disc brakes.

Whether its image evokes cruising side streets or shredding some single track, this Swobo’s setup is far from run-of-the-mill, and your chance to stand out from the pack is just a dollar away. Talk to a coordinator to buy a ticket—we’ll announce the winner at our birthday party in May (date TBA).

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 big enough for plenty of us. We’ve been excited to help some organizers in the ’04 with the hard work of 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, 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, with hopes of continued growth and expanded shop hours. Interested in joining their effort? Drop by one of their open shops, or give Yoni a holler—yonilevin@gmail.com.