Approaching our company’s 60th anniversary in September of 2015, we sought out something to give back to our community… a ‘thank you’ for helping us thrive; a pay back. What emerged was this Community Bike Repair and Information Station (C-BRIS). The idea was sparked by our Production Manager Patrick Martin who, while visiting the Evergreen State College in Olympia with his daughter Morgan, saw a number of bike repair stations adjacent to numerous dormitories. Their version was simpler: an uncovered bike stand with tools and an air pump.
Our version became the Bellingham Herald’s front page lead STORY on July 26, 2015!
Patrick, an avid cyclist and bike commuter himself, brought the idea to Rick. Somewhat bolder, though… with a roof and maps and lighting; perhaps a lending library.
Rick, an avid cyclist and bike commuter himself, planted the seed, fertilized it, spoke to staff, approached vendors, nudged subcontractors, queried alternative transportation advocates, inquired about permits, considered funding, studied similar facilities around the world… and kapow…
…we designed and built it during the summer of 2015, completing it just prior to our 60th anniversary celebration on September 18th, 2015.
Here’s KING 5’s coverage of the C-BRIS on 7-28-15…
Although Rick helped sprout the seed, the seedling continued to evolve as Patrick worked on its drawings. Two different versions emerged: a smaller one which was ultimately built, and a larger one — 50% larger — with a vending machine containing commonly used cycling components. We soon realized, after pricing the two versions, that our small company didn’t have the discretionary dough lying around to fund either one!
Would our community fund it? Would individuals in relationship with our company donate dough? Would our staff provide the labor to do the carpentry and concrete work, as well as design and organize its overall construction? Would our primary subs jump in and donate some or all of their expertise and labor? And what about our key vendors… might they donate some or all of the materials?
Ultimately, after nudging and prodding here and there, we accumulated all the materials, skills and dough necessary to make it happen! Response was stellar, leading to this MESSAGE OF THANKS that resides inside the C-BRIS, listing everyone and every business that jumped in to help make this happen.
The C-BRIS fit nicely within our values-driven company. For decades A-1 Builders has been instrumental in supporting a bike and pedestrian-friendly community. It was time, we believed, to build a bicycle repair and information station adjacent to our sidewalk along Northwest Avenue. Walkers and cyclists are plentiful here, and our City Council is paying more and more attention to promoting a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly city. Northwest Avenue is a major cycling and pedestrian corridor already, and the immensity of development just north of us is going to amplify this even more. That said, the city’s funding is focused upon street improvements, safe crossings and bike paths, and not the likes of which we had in mind.
Simply put, we want to support bike riders and pedestrians. We think it’s the right thing to do, and, frankly, our past efforts to do so have promoted community well being… and helped our brand. We’re all about health and well being.
Check out this time lapse photography of when we poured and finished the C-BRIS’ slab…
And what about watching the erection of the structure’s timber-framed posts, beams and roof assembly, again using time-lapse photography…
Here’s what we wanted to build:
Provide a bike stand, air pump (that works with both types of stems) and minor repair tools for a cyclist in need, using readily available products. The space would be out of the rain; well lit, operated by a motion sensor.
Offer road maps, pedestrian and cycling routes, bus routes… relevant information for neighbors, walkers, transit riders and cyclists… on both sides of the three wall panels.
Provide bicycle repair manuals: a hard-copy, online and via a the QR code listed on the bike stand.
Bulletin board space for events (e.g. garage sales, neighborhood meetings) and organizations trying to reach the public.
Leave a reading book for others, or borrow one already there to read… from our little lending library
Read about who helped design and build the C-BRIS; who donated dough, materials and/or labor; what individuals and companies made this happen
Take a selfy while making use of the C-BRIS and send it in to hashtag #CBRIS
Provide a suggestion box
Our goal became to build the first of its kind in this town and then, hopefully, replicate it in other appropriate locations around town. If you’re interested in replicating our plans, or perhaps use them as a starting point, go HERE to find our drawings, free to you. Once the dust settles and we get beyond our 60th anniversary celebration on Sept. 18, 2015, we plan to go after grants and/or crowd funding so that additional stations can be sited in logical places around town.
Back in 2005, approaching our 50th anniversary, our ‘pay back’ project was a similar effort. Not here, though. At the downtown Community Food Coop. With almost all donated design, materials, labor and subcontractors, we built their 22-bicycle bikeport, pictured here:
The companies and people who helped with that project in 2005 are mentioned on the plaque attached to the structure, besides being mentioned in the many articles and publications that announced that effort. In addition to that publicity, A-1 Builders and the Food Coop were the co-recipients of the 2006 Great Feets Award. The Bellingham Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee gave us this award for “the beautiful custom-designed and built bicycle parking facility constructed at the North Forest Street store. The prominent location and distinctive style of this bicycle rack make it an attractive invitation to all who see it that bicycle transportation is well supported at this store.” (Due to the Food Coop’s recent expansion this bicycle facility has since been moved to the back of the building at 405 Holly Street and will be used for secure employee parking.) You can read more about the Food Coop’s bikeport right HERE.
Local exposure in the press continues…
Whatcom Watch joined the many publications and news sources that caught on to how significant an idea and outcome this bike station represented. So they interviewed Patrick Martin, who birthed the C-BRIS idea, as their ‘unsung hero’ in their October/November 2015 issue, and you can read about Patrick right HERE.
Southside Living Magazine’s article in their September 2015 issue featured the C-BRIS right HERE.
The Birchwood Neighborhood Association named us their ‘Neighborhood HERO’ as a result of the C-BRIS in November of 2015. HERE is our designer Maggie Bates accepting the award from Mayor Linville.
Turning sixty, we’re proud to help redefine safe and sane transportation. It’s been a brief amount of time since the City of Bellingham added bike lanes and other alternative transportation infrastructure along Northwest Avenue… and we believe the time is ripe for us all to give back to our community; to help redefine what was once considered ‘alternative’ transportation into what we hope will become mainstream.
Let’s get on foot, on our bikes and in our buses! We can do this!
You can do this!