The Yellow Bike Project recently expanded to Augusta, Georgia. The program provides space and equipment for volunteers who teach basic bike repair skills and ultimately provide yellow bikes for free public use.
Chris Carey brought the volunteer run community bike shop concept from the Austin Yellow Bike Project during his recent move to Augusta, Georgia. He is the driving force behind the southern city’s first volunteer-based bike repair shop, which opened in January.
The Yellow Bike Project’s mission is to create equitable access to cycling by providing affordable bicycle maintenance services and education. This is accomplished by reconditioning of donated adult bikes, painting them yellow, and making them available to people in Augusta, according to the website.
“I spent a week finding a place to have it located,” Carey told BikeRadar. “ The place was donated to us from Rick Herring and the Urban Ministry.”
Carey is a military captain who was re-stationed to Fort Gordon in Augusta in January. A month later and Carey is personally funding Augusta's Yellow Bike Project. He has two full-time mechanics and twelve volunteer mechanics during operating hours of Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. On average, he receives five bikes each night that need repair.
“It’s taken off tremendously fast, partly because we are receiving a lot of media attention,” Carey said. “We have been on two news channels and in three news papers. The public really likes the idea and wants to help us because we are helping people.”
Rick Herring is the program coordinator of the Augusta Urban Ministry, an organization that works to provide needy citizens in the area with a bicycle as a primary means of transportation.
“The warehouse had about 200 bikes sitting there and some needed repair,” Carey said. “It became a good marriage.”
“We have no funding yet, so anyone who wants to sponsor us or send donations it’s appreciated,” he added.
Once the bikes are rebuilt and working properly, they are given back to the Augusta Urban Ministry and donated to the needy for use as primary transportation.
“The bikes that come from the Yellow Bike Project are the byproduct of an educational purpose,” Carey said. “Our volunteers learn how to build up bikes and after twenty hour of community service with us we let them choose a bike to keep.”
Carey’s drive to bring cycling-focused projects into the Augusta community includes a recent plan to install bike racks on the city streets. The plan will help raise funds for the Yellow Bike Project.
“We are thinking of ways to fund the project and I noticed this city has no bike racks,” Carey said. “I made a plan to install bike racks. We go to companies and ask for donations for the Yellow Bike Project and as a gift we will install bike racks outside the business.”
The Yellow Bike Project shops are located in Decatur and Atlanta, in addition to Augusta, Georgia and Austin, Texas.