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Commonwheels Partners with Scouts to Help Homeless

This time we have guest authors from Girl Scout Troop 75006 who we partnered with this spring:
This year, we really wanted to do something that would help our wider community. After looking into some issues we care about, we learned that there is a serious transportation issue for homeless who live in non-urban areas, and in particular for the homeless on Cape Cod. We came up with a plan to collect, repair and donate bikes to a family shelter on Cape Cod – The Village at Cataumet, part of the Housing Assistance Corporation of Cape Cod – but we knew it would take a lot of work and skills we didn’t have yet in order to be able to help.
Luckily for us we found Commonwheels!!!! Sophie Massey and Brian MacKenzie came to our aid. After we had spent time telling others about the need for bikes to get homeless adults to jobs and markets in areas where there is little public transportation, we were able to collect 16 bikes, but needed to have them checked and repaired. Brian and Sophie were AMAZING!!!!! They came to our town with a van full of tools and stands for servicing bikes, and spent hours with us going over the bikes, showing us how to help tune them up and make some repairs, and checking over all of the work to make sure they were in good working order.
In the end, we were able to deliver 14 bikes for kids and adults to the shelter, along with bike safety information and tools for minor repairs. Sophie and Brian helped us purchase discounted helmets and locks, and provided bike lights to make sure riders would be safe.
We really appreciate all of the help that Commonwheels gave to us! We learned so much from Sophie and Brian, and it was really fun. It was amazing to be able to deliver bikes to the shelter and know that they would really be helpful to the residents there!
Troop 75006 – Maggie, Tessa, Laurel & Jade

Bike!Bike! Southeast 2017

This past weekend Sophie and Brian took a trip to Alexandria, BA for Bike!Bike! Southeast a “conference” of community bike projects. Bike!Bike! serves as a way for a wide variety of groups that use bikes to make a social impact to engage with one another, learn, and share.  This was Commonwheels’ second time going to Bike!Bike! as, our former Program Manager, Chelsea traveled to Richmond, VA last year. Additionally, one of our volunteers Allister surprised us there as well wearing two hats, Commonwheels and Bike House, DC.  


Although this is labelled the Southeast Regional Bike!Bike!, we had participants from all over including Baton Rouge, LA and St. Paul, MN, (and us! making the trip down from the Northeast!). Throughout the weekend we participated in workshops on various topics such as youth programming, bridging language barriers, and strategic planning.


The weekend wasn’t all meetings, we also had plenty of riding! Our hosts Velocity Bike Co-op were kind enough to lend all the out of town attendees. We had rides around the neighborhood to visit Velocity’s shop and warehouse locations and into DC to see the sights, visit another community bike shop Gearin’ Up Bicycles and join up with the Women/Trans/Femme Alleycat Rolling Resistance which was taking place (Sophie participated and won a backpack!).


We’re both excited to bring back what we learned to make Commonwheels even better! Big thanks to all those who came to the conference and shared their knowledge, experience and passion with us, especially Watch City Bike Lab from just down the street in Waltham!



Commonwheels Annual Fundraising Gala

This Saturday was a busy day for Commonwheels. In the morning we hosted a volunteer day in Union Square, Allston in partnership with Jenae, a longtime Commonwheels volunteer. We handed out bike lights to passing riders and shoveled out bike racks, bus stops and crosswalks.

After the volunteer day we transitioned to an open at Zone 3. We helped clean bikes that had seen a harsh winter, put on bike racks, and all the usual fixes and adjustments. During the open shop, our board members and volunteers were setting up for our annual fundraising gala which had been hastily rescheduled due to snow.  The gala kicked off our spring season with music, food, beer and an all-around good time. We were excited to announce our Volunteer of the Year, Dave Robbins!

We are so lucky to be in a supportive community and are excited to continue old and new projects designed to help keep people riding all year round.

Special thanks goes to many generous community donations including: Garlic 'n Lemons, Zone 3 "a Harvard sparked initiative," The Incomparable Liam Neesons, Mix Master Mully and WMBR Cambridge Radio Station 88.1 FM, our stellar volunteer Frank for staffing the door, Aeronaut Brewery, Downeast Cider, the CommonWheels Board, and everyone who came out on a snowy night and rode in the Chaos Box. Thanks also goes out to the Raffle and Silent Auction Sponsors: Coolidge Corner Theater, Stingray Body Art, Hub Bicycle, Boston Pedicab, Newbury Comics, Clay Room Pottery, Recycle Spin Studio, and Coolidge Corner Yoga.



Jared Magee the Physical Education Teacher at Jackson Mann School hosted a fundraise to purchase 12 new bikes for his classes his fall. Sophie visited the gym classes last week to help assemble the new bikes. Students did a great job installing the handle bars, pedals, seat posts, pumping the tires, and putting on the front wheel. They learned how to use wrenches, grease parts, and the generals of assembling a bike. And it was awesome to see their excitement after putting together their first new bike. During the class we were able to put together 7 of the 12 bikes and Mr. Magee will put together the rest with future classes.
CommonWheels is excited to continue work with the Jackson Mann gym classes and all of the great bike programming that they are doing! It was a fun day and the first group of students greeted our program manager, Sophie, with this awesome card.

Commonwheels' Season of Earn A Bikes Classes Begins!

Our first session of the Women's Earn A Bike program has begun! The group meets every Tuesday and is the first of what will be six Earn A Bike classes held by Commonwheels this winter. There will be a second session of the Women's Earn A Bike Program and four community-based Earn A Bike classes for residents at Brian J Honan, Faneuil Gardens, Fidelius Way, and Brighton Allston Apartments. We are so excited to be able to offer this resource to the community with our partners at Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation and the Josephine A. Fiorentino Community Center at Charlesview.

The classes serve as a launching point for participants to begin learning bicycle maintenance and to integrate biking into their lifestyle. In addition to mechanical skills, classes include information about traffic safety, the history of biking and bike advocacy, and discussions about biking. At the completion of the course, each participant will leave with a working bike, a helmet, a bike lock, lights, and resources on how to maintain the bike going forward.