Summer 2012: 100 Free Bikes? Your Vote Makes This Dream Come True

Yahoo Contributor Network

Many cyclists view the road and their bike as a hobby -- not a necessity. However, for those that rely on their bikes as an economical way to navigate the drastic changes in the economy, a bike is a tool of survival. Aiding this reality, a group of dedicated cyclists are adding to their extensive free repair and education related services with 100 free bikes. To accomplish this, they need your online vote to make their dream for the New Orleans community come true.

Bike mechanics, tools, advice for free

Starting in 2000, Plan B (The New Orleans Community Bike Project) set up a space to provide crucial bike maintenance services. Over the years, Plan B has hosted a kids program, the first Bike! Bike! Conference in 2004, and gave away over 1,000 bikes in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. Since that time, they have continued working as a non-profit that is fully staffed by volunteers.

According to their BikeProject.org website, they state, "We help you maintain and repair your bike by providing a fully-equipped DIY repair space staffed by experienced mechanics where you can drop-in and repair your bike, build a bike, take structured classes and find refurbished bikes and parts at reasonable prices."

Biking and quality of life

One of the fascinating aspects of the Plan B bike project is how staff take the time to lend a sensitive ear to those that request free bike services. For example, a separate class for women, 'sissies,' and transgendered cyclists was started at the suggestion of Plan B's clients.

Since their move from 511 Marigny to 1024 Elysian Fields over the past year, the Plan B bike project has been busy detailing the list of bike needs for underserved local New Orleans residents. After careful planning and consideration, Plan B volunteers determined that free bikes were the most ideal goal. With that in mind, Plan B found an opportunity with a website called Good Maker.

How to make free bikes a reality

In the stack of over 100 ideas put forth for Good Maker's recent grant, Plan B is close to winning at #5. In order to receive the $5000 grant and provide new tubes, tires, and safety lights for 100 free bikes, your vote is needed by August 3, at 12 p.m. PDT. The easiest way to vote at Good Maker is to use your Facebook login.

As part of the New Orleans community, Plan B is supported by local groups such as the Urban Conservancy, New Orleans Lambda Center, Bike Easy, and the New Orleans Food Co-op. If you want to volunteer or send a private donation, Plan B can be contacted through their BikeProject.org website.

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Maryam Louise is life-long participant of summer sports and recreation through her experiences living next to Lake Barkley on Land Between the Lakes in Western Kentucky. In her lifetime, she has also traveled to many of the world's nature reserves and parks in Iran, Switzerland, Yemen, Mexico, France, Germany, Canada, and the United States.

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