Last Tuesday night I attended my second rebuild night with The Motion Initiative – Holland. The Motion Initiative (TMI) is a non-profit ministry with a vision to impact “under-resourced urban youth [through] a decent bicycle and a healthy sense of adventure, freedom, and hope” through cycling. Launched out of the original Grand Rapids ministry, the Holland ministry is starting its second year, and things are really starting to take shape. Led by local bike enthusiast, Brad Spooner, the ministry is rapidly gaining traction in its mission to connect with kids.
To accomplish its mission, TMI coordinates periodic bike rides (both road and mountain) for urban youth, teaches kids bicycle repair alongside adult volunteers, provides an opportunity for under-resourced youth to obtain a bike through its Earn-a-Bike program, and operates a mobile bike shop to visit neighborhoods with parts, tools, and bikes for the group rides. The Grand Rapids ministry operates all of this out of their bike shop located in the Black Hills neighborhood on Godfrey where they offer a safe place for kids to hang out, provide an opportunity for kids to work to earn Bike Bucks (for the Earn-a-Bike program), and receive the donated bikes that are refurbished and sold to support their efforts. I’ve included a video that they put together:
The Holland ministry has been operating out of its mobile bike shop trailers and borrowed shop space offered by Frontier Solutions near Zeeland. The long-term goal is to secure a permanent location in an urban neighborhood in Holland. In the meantime, TMI-Holland is rolling with its rebuild nights, mobile workshop events, and group rides throughout the summer in 2012.
Rebuild nights are an important part of TMI. To help fund the various expenses of bike parts, tools, and equipment, TMI accepts donated bikes that are then sold for a fair price to generate revenue. Bikes that are donated to the ministry are often in ill-repair and need to be refurbished to make them safe for someone to ride. Most common repairs include new tires and tubes, new pedals, chain lubing, and brake repair. Only once a bike has been refurbished and deemed safe and functional will it be offered for sale to the general public.
Support for this new ministry in Holland has been great. Rebuild nights are well attended by both novice and expert volunteer bike mechanics (I very much fall into the former category). Financial sponsors have been a huge help in obtaining the trailers, equipment, and tools for the mobile workshops and rebuild nights. Funding has also been provided for the purchase of a small fleet of bikes so that the group ride ministry can launch this summer. People have been donating unused bikes for TMI to refurbish and resell as well.
All in all, I’m looking forward to being a part of TMI-Holland this year and expect to participate in more rebuild nights and help organize the group rides. If I can help even one kid enjoy a bike the way I enjoy bikes, I will consider the year a success. If I can connect with one kid and show him the Love of God it will be a success that’s immeasurable.