As the cycling scene in Miami continues to surge, one man aims to add another element to broaden the reach of cycling in Miami. Enter Julian Valencia, and his brainchild, The Miami Bike Cooperative.
For the moment, the Miami Bike Cooperative in it’s planning stages. However, Valencia’s vision for the MBC is clear - “To improve our community’s quality of life by facilitating the use of bicycles as a viable transportation option.” In his words, the Miami Bike Cooperative would be “a community workspace that facilitates access to affordable bikes, tools, and knowledge. The MBC is a nonprofit that will sustain itself through the work of volunteers who will share mechanical knowledge, and sell highly discounted donated bikes, as well as used and new parts. All profits will be used to expand MBC’s vision, including but not limited to: paying rent, maintaining tools, and community outreach.”A native of Colombia, Valencia operated a highly successful pedi-cab operation while in college in Columbus, OH. Upon moving to Miami, he immediately recognized a need to not only for improved cycling infrastructure, but for an organized forum in which to share knowledge and skills amongst Miami’s cycling community and beyond. “Miami’s income inequality has created a class of working poor who may spend a significant portion of their time and income transporting themselves to and from work,” says Valencia. “Urban bicycle commuting can serve as a cheap and cost effective transportation option to Miami residents.” The Co-op will provide access to free tools and discounted bikes, set against the backdrop of a venue where fellow cyclists can share information. Valencia hopes that the Co-op will help more people in Miami embrace cycling as a viable transportation option, particularly those that need options the most. Once a physical space is chosen and opened, The MBC will host 3 weekly “open shops” for 3 hours each. Open shops will be volunteer run and will focus on improving access to bikes to the community in 3 ways.
- Providing a welcoming workshop with tools in which members of the community can work on their bikes as well as share their bicycle mechanic skills.
- Provide donated bikes and parts at discount rates to members of the community.
- Empower community members by providing a space where everyone can share the mechanical knowledge and skills needed to fix their bikes.
The project is currently in it’s infancy, as Julian Valencia, Dario Gonzalez, and Oscar David Muriel drums up support and volunteers. If you would like to get involved, e-mail them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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