Social Enterprise Bikes For All People: Gear Up for Good
Bikes for All People (B4AP), the social enterprise bicycle shop owned and operated by Church and Community Development for All People (CD4AP), was launched in September 2014 to provide affordable, reliable and predictable services and support to all bicyclists on the South Side and beyond. A full-service bicycle shop that provides sales, service and accessories at affordable prices, B4AP sells a selection of new, donated and refurbished used bikes. B4AP has or can order products that meet the needs of many types of cyclists, from casual riders and commuters to competitors and fanatics.
“When we first started Bikes For All People, we didn’t set out with the specific goal of launching a social enterprise,” says Ed Miner, executive director, Bikes For All People. “At that time, social enterprises weren’t nearly as prevalent in Columbus as they are today. We just saw a real need in our community to provide high-quality, affordable bike repairs. We also saw a need to provide free bikes to children and families on the South Side, who otherwise might not have the means.”
Today, B4AP has a storefront that spans 1,800 square-feet of space located at 934 Parsons Ave., and has given away 725 bikes and 910 helmets to children throughout the neighborhood. The repair shop has increased its volume of quality repairs, which are priced on a sliding scale based on an individual’s ability to pay. In 2018 alone, B4AP provided approximately $2,000 in repairs at either no or reduced cost, and has provided approximately $15,000 since the inception of the social enterprise.
During the summer months, B4AP staffs up to meet the demand of this seasonal sport. In addition to Miner, two part-time mechanics and sales team members, plus at least one youth employee in training, help the social enterprise continue to expand its customer base, which in turn provides the opportunity for the organization to donate even more bikes and helmets to children, and offer even more free or reduced repairs to area residents.
“Beyond our social enterprise model, and beyond what you might expect from a typical bike shop, we also lead weekly, slower-paced weeknight group rides to various destinations around Columbus, to help build the community around cycling as a social and healthy way to experience the city,” said Miner. “On Sundays, we also lead longer, faster-paced rides for those with more cycling experience, who want to work on their speed and endurance.”
For 2019, B4AP is planning to increase community engagement by participating in events such as the Merion Village Festival. The organization will also launch a program in partnership with Freedom Schools to instruct 20-25 Lincoln Park youth on basic repair and maintenance techniques, and give them a feel for what it’s like to work in a bike shop. The program will also help teach them about safety basics related to cycling.
B4AP is also one of 11 social enterprises participating in a new pilot program that SocialVentures and Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio, in collaboration with Measurement Resources Company, launched at the beginning of 2018 to develop a new service that will review, validate, and communicate the social impact created by social enterprises in Central Ohio. B4AP was also recently recognized as a finalist in The Metropreneur and SocialVentures’ 2018 Social Enterprise of the Year Awards.
How You Can Help This Social Enterprise Continue to Grow
Here are a few ways you can help Bikes For All People advance its mission:
- From tune-ups and repairs to bikes, helmets, locks and special order purchases, support B4AP’s mission by becoming a lifelong customer. Contact B4AP to view business hours, discuss your needs, or to schedule repairs.
- Take advantage of B4AP’s special offer by signing up through SocialVentures’ online Marketplace. Now through December 31, B4AP is offering 15 percent off helmets, locks, and lights.
- Help spread the word by following B4AP on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), and sharing special offers, providing reviews, etc. throughout your personal and professional networks.
- If you’re knowledgeable about bike repairs, consider volunteering to help with the increased demand. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
For more information, visit bikes4allpeople.com.