Bicycle ownership is a tool that serves as a bridge to independence, employment, community-involvement and physical health for those who do not have the option to own a vehicle.
WellBuilt Bikes, a local bike shop, began meeting the transportation needs of homeless, low-income, and precariously housed community members in 2014 by conducting repairs and up-cycling out of shipping container on Florida Avenue. In late 2017, WellBuilt Bikes opened its brick and mortar bike shop and repair service at the University Mall in Tampa, FL. Bikes, donated by community members, businesses, and the City of Tampa are fully refurbished by mechanics and volunteers to be sold in the storefront. All purchases and service proceeds at the shop support the Earn-A-Bike program and sliding scale purchase model.
The Earn-A-Bike program, affords participants the opportunity to “purchase a bike” through an investment of community service hours as a labor exchange. In practice, these community service hours then grant low income residents a fully refurbished bicycle, helmet, lock, lights, bag, as well as a safety & maintenance course. Each Earner is checked out at the register like any other customer and their time is honored as payment, they are issued a receipt to provide proof of purchase, the serial number of the bicycle, and also registered into a National Bike Registry. Furthermore, the Sliding Scale Repair Program allows for all customers of WellBuilt Bikes to benefit from discounted prices based on their individual needs.
We chose to highlight WellBuilt Bikes this week, as it is Florida Bike Month, and as such they have been working to promote cycling in the Tampa Bay Area and across the nation.
Just the other day the bike shop welcomed Eric Gillman, an individual riding across the United States to raise money for a medical clinic in Haiti. Moreover, this weekend WellBuilt Bikes will be the nonprofit of choice for the Bikes & Beers Swap Meet happening at Tampa Bay Brewing Co. in Westchase. At this event, bike shops and aficionados will be gathering to get new gear and sell old gear. We have also invited Coreys Mobile Detailing, a local business we consult with to provide services at the event! A portion of all proceeds will benefit the work of WellBuilt Bikes. Finally, the postponed Ybor Historic Ride will still be happening on Saturday, April 2nd at 10AM at our Ybor Community Garden (2924 Ybor St).
We hope to see you out there!