The Way of Compassion Bicycle Project started in 2009 to meet the need of refurbishing landfill-bound bicycles and provide inexpensive transportation for community members. During the years of 2009 and 2010, the Way of Compassion Bicycle Project (then called the Bonedale Bicycle Project) operated out of a dirt parking lot in the center of Carbondale. During the warm months, the bicycle project provided educational opportunities and service work for people and their bicycles. We were fortunate to start receiving donated bicycles for our inventory, and have recognized this generosity to be an inexhaustible resource in our valley; our bicycle piles are evidence of that! During these first two years, the bicycle project refurbished and returned 60 bicycles to the local community, and raised $500 for World Bike.
In the Beginning of 2011, the bicycle project was brought under the “wheel” of Aloha Mountain Cyclery. For the next 6 years the bicycle project operated under Aloha Mountain Cyclery providing open shop time and service work for people and their bicycles. We saw the continued importance of the community bicycle program in providing lower priced service work, education, and opportunities for volunteering. In the first 5 months of operating out of Aloha Mountain Cyclery, the bicycle project refurbished more than 40 bicycles and was able to fundraise $1600 for World Bike, and $500 for Bicycles for Humanity. We are forever grateful for the continued support of Aloha Mountain Cyclery.
In 2015, due to an increasing number of participants, the bicycle project moved its Sunday open tuning days into a basement storage unit. This move was necessary to relieve Aloha Mountain Cyclery of over cramped shop space with “too many mechanics in the kitchen!” issue. Having a separate shop space allowed for our staff to really focus in with participants, making the bicycle project more efficient and safe place for participants. We began a slow process of gathering more tools and stands to open up the project for more participants. This move also brought with it the responsibility of our first ever rent; $200 a month. It was proven over the next two years that the community was fully ready to support this space, and the $10 per hour recommended donation more than covered our expenses.
In January of 2017, the Bonedale Bicycle Project became a non-profit under the Way of Compassion Foundation and changed its name to The Way of Compassion Bicycle Project (WOCBP). In the summer of 2017, the WOCBP saw a boom in participation with normal Sunday shop days, and Thursday after school programming. The WOCBP now operates as a community bicycle shop 2 days a week and hosts specialty programs on a regular basis.
In the first year of operation as the WOCBP, and increasing the community tuning days to two days a week, the WOCBP was able to generate around $12,000 through donations and sales. We continue to recognize the benefits that people are getting from the WOCBP, and in February of 2018 a vision of an above ground dedicated community bicycle shop will become a reality as the bicycle project moves into the Third Street Center in Carbondale, CO. We are excited to see the bicycle project flourish in its new above ground location! It has windows, heat, running water, and bathrooms! The operating budget will increase with a salaried position for Aaron Taylor, and an increased rent from $2400 to $12,000 per year.
2018 was a year full of wonderful new events in our new space. We hosted open shop time 2.5 days a week, hosted bicycle tuning workshops, saw a boom in volunteer and donation support, hosted school programs, created a women’s specific tuning night, and much more. We were delighted to reach our financial goals as well with the support of donations from Umbrella Roofing, the Rebekah Lodge, and many individuals. We earned over half of our income through bicycle repairs, sales, and services.
The WOCBP is grateful for its supporting community: Aloha Mountain Cyclery, Umbrella Roofing, The Rebekah Lodge, Roaring Fork Transit Authority, Crystal River Elementary School, Roaring Fork High School, Ragged Mountain Sports, The Buddy Program, and all the individuals who are too many to name!