Bike Newport, a non-profit organization that improves, encourages, and facilitates bicycling, will move its operations to 29 Spring Street in Newport, Rhode Island on May 1. The former detail shop will house Bike Newport’s administrative offices and a new Bike Barn.
Modeled after community bicycle projects such as Recycle-a-Bike in Providence, the Bike Barn allows residents to build or fix a bike of their choosing. The bikes are collected from community donations, recycling days, and abandonment. Collected bikes are triaged for restoration or stripped for parts – keeping usable bikes and parts out of the waste stream and making a fleet of bikes available to new owners. Bike Newport has collected, restored and distributed more than 100 bikes since the program started.
The commercial space that Bike Newport will occupy is currently owned by Butch Murray. Murray also owns the Fastnet Pub on Broadway in Newport. Murray has generously agreed to allow Bike Newport to use the space rent free for eight months to bring bike culture to the heart of Newport during bicycling season.
Murray says, “I hadn’t decided what to do with the building and it’s a shame to keep it empty while I consider the options. We’re coming on the best time of year to be outside and enjoy Newport, so Bike Newport’s proposition made sense. I’ve been a supporter of Bike Newport since they started and if 29 Spring Street can be part of the progress of getting more people on bikes, so be it.”
Bike Newport’s Executive Director, Bari Freeman says, “We are excited to have our office beside our Bike Barn activities. The new facility puts us within easy reach of the folks who will benefit from the repair and distribution of donated bicycles. Just as Bike Newport’s occupancy in the City’s 437 Broadway property is coming to an end, 29 Spring Street’s offices and two garage bays are the silver lining. We are thankful that Butch is a community-minded business owner who is willing to swap occupancy for cleanup for the short term.”
Northeast Collaborative Architects will donate design services to Bike Newport. NCA Principal Glenn R. Gardiner, AIA, LEED AP says, “We saw the promise of this location from the first suggestion. Newport is ready for a healthy dose of bike culture. This matchup of space, generosity, vision, and partnerships in the historic center of town honors this City’s passion and promise to improve and encourage bicycling. NCA is thrilled to help make it happen.”
Bike Newport seeks volunteers to help clean, repair, and paint the former detail shop from April 11 – 29 from 3 to 8 p.m. Refreshments will be provided. Community service hours are available to students and employees. For more information contact Bike Newport’s Education Manager Henri Venable at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Venable says, “Ultimately, everyone who wants a bike will have one, regardless of financial constraints. That’s our goal. In addition, residents will be able to use the Barn’s tools and used parts to fix their own bikes, and basic maintenance classes will help all cyclists to know how to change tires, replace their chains and get out of the typical pickles that need not derail a delightful Ocean Loop bike ride or an easy jaunt to the grocery store.”
Bike Newport’s mission is to improve, encourage and facilitate bicycling in and around Newport for the health and well-being of our youth and families and as a viable and enjoyable method of transportation for residents and visitors. For those who enjoy the bike building and repair programs at the Bike Garage at Rogers, and the Bike Library at the Florence Gray Center – those programs will continue. Look for notices about wheel building, internal hub construction, and more, and remind your kids that the Bike Library is open for action every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., with more hours to come. Visit www.bikenewportri.org/bike- garage for the full list of Bike Newport locations and programs, and the local retail resources for new bicycles and components.