More good people: Cyclists’ aid continues, including a Halloween party on October 24 in the harbor
A year ago, we shone the spotlight on the efforts of cyclists to help those at risk of Covid-19 and to fight racism. These evils persist, as does the work of the Bike Delivery Program and the united team behind the Cambridge Bike Give Back initiative. Each mission has been supported by the hard work and generosity of volunteers, but now could be in need of a helping hand.
The Cambridge Bike Give Back initiative, which takes old and unwanted bikes and retools them for those in need, was started in August 2020 by Lonnell Wells and his friends in reaction to the murder of George Floyd. He gives bikes to kids who might not otherwise have them to ride with friends, or someone who has just been released from prison and needs an inexpensive way to get around to re-enter society. , Wells said. The program now has a storefront in the parking garage at Cambridgeside Shopping Center. Deputy Mayor Alanna Mallon and former Mayor Anthony Galluccio helped negotiate the arrangement, Wells said, and her sources for steel couriers have also increased. He contacted municipal and college police forces for unclaimed bicycles and forged a partnership with Bikes Not Bombs, the first group of social activists cycling on the Jamaican Plain.
The Give Back program has provided more than 350 bikes since its founding last year, Wells said, in addition to hosting community barbecues and sponsoring a Black Lives Matter ride around Cambridge.
The program includes a family-themed Halloween party from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on October 24 at Greene-Rose Heritage Park in the Port district. There will be a costume contest, games and sweets for the kids, free food for everyone and a raffle; bikes will be offered and bike tune-ups offered. (The organizers are looking for knowledgeable bike mechanics to help out on Sunday. If you have a bike you want to unload, they could use that as well. Email [email protected])
Food for all, delivered cleanly
Food insecurity increased sharply during the pandemic and remains a major problem. The bicycle delivery program helps by making twice-weekly deliveries of food (vegetables, potatoes, bread, dairy products and other staples for cooking) by cyclists outside the Agassiz Baldwin Community Center to dozens of city residents who are either elderly, don t have a car or have physical limitations.
Cyclists also sign up to distribute food dropped off several times a week by Food For Free and other nonprofits at the Cambridge Community Center in the Riverside neighborhood. It goes from there to four community refrigerator sites: two in Harvard Square, one in The Port, and another in Somerville. Refrigerators are cleaned, maintained and managed by voluntary organizations to keep food available to everyone. (People whose junk food is still good and sealed can drop it off at one of four locations, most of which have refrigerators and dry pantries for canned goods and dry items.)
The bicycle delivery program was started in part by the collaboration behind the Cambridge Bicycle Safety group, which maintains a registration portal suggesting that volunteer cyclists have made more than 1,600 deliveries since launch during the pandemic. The effort could use more pedals, organizers said, as a return to offices after the coronavirus lockdown caused some regulars to drop out due to scheduling issues. A box of products can weigh over 30 pounds, so having a large capacity bicycle trailer, carrier or courier bag is essential; some people suggested the use of cars, which was refused.
“Although we often have one or two volunteers in the car, it’s important for us to think about the environmental and road impacts of adding vehicle trips,” said Phoebe Sinclair, one of the organizers of the Agassiz Baldwin Community Center. . “Bikes are great because not only can riders deliver quickly without worrying about parking or vehicle traffic, but they are also role models, inspiring those curious to ride a bike. Our cycling volunteers range from children with their parents to people 70 and maybe even older.