The collective is made up of individuals from diverse backgrounds working on a volunteer basis to rescue, repair and redistribute bicycles. They play a vital role for low income commuters in the Kansas City area, serving anyone who embraces their DIY recycled-bike model or cannot afford for-profit bike shop prices. The collective believes in empowerment through education and supports the use of bicycles as a healthy and ecological means of transportation.
“For the last 5 years we have worked with those without access to transportation to build or repair their own bikes so that they can take charge of their access to work and school,” says Idris Raoufi, co-founding member. “Since we opened our shop we have never relied on grants, philanthropic giving, or institutions and all our volunteers and members have never been paid, yet we have managed to redistribute over 900 bicycles!”
The current collective shop, at 31st and Troost, has greatly limited their capacity and prohibited development of programming and the ability to be open more than twice a week. The collective hopes to raise the funds necessary to finish the rehabilitation of three under-loved buildings it owns at 31st and Cherry. The collective purchased the buildings out-right through the Jackson County delinquent tax auction for $5,500.00 in the summer of 2010.
The collective launched a crowdfunding campaign on August 14th to finish the rehabilitation of these buildings. Within the first 48 hours of the campaign's launch, they raised just under $6,000.00. The collective recently acquired the help of licensed contractor, Jamie P. Jeffries, to finish the rehabilitation. Jeffries has already donated $25,502.00 in kind towards the project. He has bid the job out at $82,816.00. This includes getting all three buildings re-roofed, up to code and ready for occupancy by spring of 2014.
“We need everyone’s help to get these buildings finished so we can open our doors in the spring of 2014 and continue the programming that so many Kansas Citian's rely on and also develop the programming we have always dreamed of to better serve our diverse community,” Raoufi says. The campaign continues until Sept. 14. Donations can be made at neighbor.ly/816-bike.