It all started at The Bike Box...
The Bike Box was set up by Project Lead Lily Chalmers while managing Naenae Clubhouse. Lily saw that council was building cycleways that would come through Naenae, and thought
"how will our community get access to these"
There were no bike mechanics or bikes shops in Naenae, so The Bike Box was created as a way to get young people cycling. The Clubhouse worked with volunteers and Greater Wellington Regional Council to create a programme where young people could work with mentors to fix bikes.
After a while Lily noticed kids weren't bring their broken bikes back, so decided to trial a set of shared bikes, with support from Healthy Families Hutt Valley.
"We set up a 6 month trial of 10 Free Ride bikes, branded and tracked by GPS. it was trial and error and many of the bikes were stolen or never returned"
At that point, we transitioned to Free Ride the membership. The idea was to make bikes available to anyone who wanted one, and give access to having them fixed when they broke or needed fixing. The membership survey was set up as a way to gather the data needed to provide the programmes and services people were interested in. It also gave Lily access to data and stories that could be shared with potential funders.
Thanks to this data and the stories, Free Ride secured funding from Hutt City Council to open the Free Ride Workshop, the next evolution in the project and the next delivery of member voice. The funding will enable Free Ride to provide more free bikes, bike mechanic training, helmets, lights and locks and monthly Free Fix ups and pedal Ready skills training.
We are really looking forward to working with our community to upskill and get more bikes out to whānau.