Our First Shop! A Mission Emerges: 2007
The first formal indoor shop was some 3000 sq. ft. of loaned space in the basement of the Victory Outreach Center at 12th and Magnolia Streets. The mobile repair operation continued apace, but now there was a fixed shop location where free bicycle repair and maintenance was available on a consistent basis and Ross began to get some of the bikes and parts out of his home and yard -much to his wife’s delight!
2007 saw another event that helped shape the future of Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg (RBH). Ross had a friend who worked in a halfway house. He called one day and noted that the halfway house residents had no means of transportation. Ross loaded his trailer with a bunch of bikes and took them to the halfway house. The bikes were sold to the residents for $20 each and were guaranteed to work for the duration of the summer. The proceeds quickly went to buy more tires, tubes, chains, cables, so that more bikes could be readied for service.
The halfway house provided valuable lessons for the new RBH. Volunteers spent many evenings at the halfway house repairing the “guaranteed” bikes. Continuing maintenance became the issue. Some owners were careless; other simply did not have the knowledge or skills needed to make repairs. It became obvious that simply providing safe bikes was not the answer. New owners had to learn how to do the repairs themselves, to become self-sufficient. Out of this need, the “Two-hour Build a Bicycle” program was born at RBH. Anyone who needed a bike could earn one by investing two hours of labor into making the bike safe, reliable transportation. Children could get a bike by having a guardian invest two hours in bike repair or shop “sweat equity”. An added benefit of this program was that the new owner now had a stake in taking care of the bike.
Unfortunately, within the year the Victory Outreach Center was condemned by the City of Harrisburg. The congregation left and RBH needed a new home.
Recycle Bicycle Shop #2! 2008
The RBH operation soon moved into loaned attic space at the Capital City Church on 18th and Chestnut streets. While this 1000 sq. ft. temporary facility was useful, it simply did not meet the growing need for additional repair and storage space.