The Handlebar is an important part of the Dickinson community. Faculty, staff, and students are all welcome and encouraged to come by fix their bikes, build new bikes, share stories, and learn about everything biking. The Handlebar has become an integral part of the Dickinson experience and the work being done is appreciated wholly, however the benefits of having a bike co-op do not always extend past Dickinson’s limestone walls.
Since its inception, The Handlebar has maintained a relationship with Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg. This amazing institution sources old, beat up, and disintegrating bikes from the area and through the work of dedicated knowledgeable volunteers produces hundreds of functioning bikes a year. Volunteers who work on these bikes are eligible to take one with them as a source of transportation. Last week four Handlebar volunteers and I visited Recycle Bicycle while they were rebuilding children’s bikes to donate as gifts for the holidays.
We were tasked with stripping usable parts from old bikes before the metal frames were recycled. Everyone there experienced the co-op system, learned new techniques from the regular volunteers, and at the end, volunteers were able to walk out with working bikes for their personal use. In fact, many of the bikes or frames being worked on in the Handlebar were donated from Recycle Bicycle so we could benefit our community. By volunteering at Recycle Bicycle, Dickinson students have a means to give back to the people who help make the Handlebar run, and to enrich the lives of those outside Dickinson.
While Recycle Bicycle is only a 25 minute jaunt up Rt 81, for those looking to donate their time meaningfully here in Carlisle, there is a new bicycle co-op looking for help. Lifecycle is a bicycle repair and donation shop affiliated with New Life Community Church. On Saturday Handlebar volunteers took a quick bike ride over to learn about this cool new community initiative. Lifecycle also bases their model off of Recycle Bicycle and like the Handlebar, receives parts and assistance from Recycle. On Saturday we stripped parts from rusted frames and built up new bikes. Lifecycle will gives bikes to volunteers who are looking for employment, families that can’t afford bikes, and looks forward to working with the Dickinson community.
These are two great ways that Dickinson and The Handlebar can give back to the community. We look forward to continuing our relationships with these organizations next semester and including getting even more members of Dickinson involved.