From the day we launched Bivo, we have been setting aside 1% of our profits to put towards the Bivo Fund. Each year, we donate that fund to charities that align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We have a soft spot for organizations that help keep roads safer and who get more kids on bikes. Kids who have access to bikes gain confidence, become more focused in the classroom and learn a skill for life that helps lead to a healthy lifestyle.
When we chose to move to Vermont, we knew we wanted to support local programs that give back to the community we love so much. This year, one of our recipients is Old Spokes Home, a bike shop and non-profit based in Burlington. Old Spokes Home has goal of getting everyone, regardless of their income, on a bike. They give bikes to kids and they teach them how to fix their bikes so they will have a lifetime of access. Their Everybody Bikes Program helps lower the barrier to get a bike. They donate hundreds of bikes and helmets annually to children who can’t afford them. And they train people in the community on how to become a bike mechanic. These are only a few highlights of the incredible work Old Spoke Home does for the community, and we are grateful to have them in our backyard.
Our community and customization manager, Izzy, got involved with Old Spokes from the time she moved to Vermont just over a year ago. We asked her to write about her involvement and the time she spend there. Read below to learn about Izzy's experience with Old Spokes.
An ode to the local bike shop
by Izzy Johnson
Over the past several years I have gotten the chance to work at and be around several bike shops around the country. Bike shops are often an intimidating place for all folks, even people in the cycling community. When I first stepped into Old Spokes Home last year for their Cranks Giving event I felt an immediate sense of community and true care behind the work they do.
Old spokes is a shop as well as a non profit. Mostly selling used and re-fabbed bikes (check out Kat's awesome creations on their instagram). This is refreshing, they will fix just about any bike, with no excessive focus on carbon, lightweight, or aero components. Instead, they focus on what bikes can do for people, the joy they bring them, the access to transportation, and a focus on a community filled with less cars. One really amazing part of Old Spokes is their Everybody Bikes program. Old Spokes writes, “Everybody Bikes program lowers barriers to bicycling by making bikes and accessories affordable for income-eligible Vermonters. Thousands of Vermonters have accessed bicycles through this program since 2005, most of whom rely on those bikes for transportation.” This is something truly special and impactful to so many community members.
I have the awesome privilege of getting to spend most Monday nights volunteering at the shop taking apart old bikes, cleaning old parts, and sorting various accessories so that new bike creations can be made from the parts. This is one of my favorite parts of my week. In fact, I have met some great friends through this program. It is also such a fun opportunity for me as someone who has some mechanical skills to teach newer folks the joys and importance of learning how to fix their own bikes, it is empowering for all of us.
Here’s to shops putting people and community first. Regardless of what bike you ride, how fast you go, or if you ever enter a race. It’s all about the joy. Thanks, Old Spokes, for keeping that alive within such a fast paced, always evolving industry.