When fixing a flat is a burden

Photo by Graham Coreil-Allen

Photo by Graham Coreil-Allen

According to the Pew Research Center, over 50% of households in the United States already own a bicycle. Building a force for biking in Baltimore requires removing as many barriers to biking as possible. That means making sure people have access to a working bike. 

Every bike will need service and repair from time to time. But if you don’t have a bike shop in your neighborhood, where do you go? Something as simple as changing a flat becomes a burden, and that bike ends up collecting dust. So instead of giving away bikes, we believe the best way to get more people on bikes is to fix the bikes they already have — right in their own neighborhood. 

 In 2016 we hosted our first Mobile Bike Shop. Over the past four years this volunteer led program has grown exponentially, adding new community partners and going to new neighborhoods every year. This spring we were awarded the competitive Catalyst Grant from the City of Baltimore. This grant allowed us to hire a full time staff person to operate the Mobile Bike Shop year round, reach more neighborhoods, and fix more bikes. 

Menelik Yeha joined our team in August. Under his leadership, we have been able to run more Mobile Bike Shops in the past four weeks than that first summer in 2016. Menelik has been a cyclist in Baltimore for 20 years and brings with him his combined passion for transportation and cycling. We are so excited Menelik has joined the team. 

We overcame the barrier to hire a full time staff person. Now we need your help to ensure we can meet the demand and give more people access to a working bike.


$500 = brings the Mobile Bike Shop to a neighborhood without a bike shop
$100 = transports the team and tools to a single event
$50 = fixes five flat tires
$30 = pays a mechanic for two hours

Can you help? Donate today:

Take Action This Sunday: Memorial Ride for Wayne Richardson

Photo by Corey Jennings

Photo by Corey Jennings

Two months ago we stood beside Michael Hughes' family and placed ghost bike in his memory, pictured above. This Sunday, we will again be standing alongside a grieving family. 

Wayne Richardson Memorial Ride + Ghost Bike Dedication
Sunday, September 15th
Meet at the Washington Monument at 12pm

On July 30th, Wayne Richardson was killed after being struck from behind by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike near the 2600 block of East Madison. We connected with Wayne's family and learned that he was retired from the Army Reserve, he served as an usher and sang in the choir at his church, and cared deeply for those around him, often taking in friends and family and helping them get on their feet.

Every single person that is killed on our streets has a story, has value just by way of being a human being. But when hit and runs are a frequent  occurrence and when civic leaders don't stand up for safer streets — it sends a message that people who travel our streets by bike or on foot don't deserve dignity. That we don’t deserve safety.  

Join us this Sunday to stand up against this message and demonstrate that, like all victims of traffic violence, Wayne deserved better. We'll be riding from the Washington Monument to Madison and Kenwood where Wayne was killed to place a ghost bike in his memory. This will be a slow 2.5 mile ride mostly on the Monument Street protected bike lane. 

It’s time to show up in force. We need to come together to show leadership that we're human, that when we prioritize cars over the safety of people on our streets — this is the outcome. We lose people who meant something to someone, people like Wayne.

>> Click here to find more details about the ride and invite your friends and neighbors.

Reflecting on Bikemore IRL

All smiles after our mechanic Josh got this bike up and running!

All smiles after our mechanic Josh got this bike up and running!

Liz joined Runners4Justice on a Streetscape Run along new infrastructure in Hamilton. (Photo: Runners4Justice)

Liz joined Runners4Justice on a Streetscape Run along new infrastructure in Hamilton. (Photo: Runners4Justice)

Our new Mobile Bike Shop Coordinator Menelik helped make sure her bike fit properly after we made repairs.

Our new Mobile Bike Shop Coordinator Menelik helped make sure her bike fit properly after we made repairs.

Bikemore has always had a strong voice on social media. It is an important way for us to drive direct action, to shape discourse, and to promote our programs and events that build community. When it comes to bikes and bike advocacy if you spend too much time on social media, the online chatter can get pretty noisy and even contentious. Bikemore IRL (in real life) was a way for us to turn down the volume and see what else there is to hear. We were curious what our work would look like if we went offline and instead focused on creating more opportunities to meet people in person. 

It is an exciting time for Bikemore. We have added two new staff and adopted our three year strategic plan that has us growing exponentially. It was a really good time to ask ourselves “who do we want to be when we grow up?”. Social media has been integral in growing our base of supporters. But if we are going to meet our mission of safe streets for all, we needed to listen and connect to people that represent all of Baltimore, people we were not reaching on social media. 

Social media only tells a partial story. And if that’s the only one you read you would think that no one in the whole city wants a bike lane, or a trail, or a safer cross walk that might take out a parking space in their neighborhood. But when you go to a community meeting or a block party and you start asking people what would they change about their street, we have yet to meet anyone that doesn’t want cars to drive slower through their neighborhood. When you start by listening to the values people hold, and then work together to develop potential solutions to uphold them, that is good advocacy. 

Throughout August we served coffee along bike lanes, fixed bikes at our Mobile Bike Shop, and talked to dozens of people about how to create streets that are for people, not just cars. From Edmondson Village to Lake Montebello to Druid Hill Park the message was clear. Bikes are fun and people want more safe places to ride. People want places to walk to in their neighborhood, they want to feel safe crossing the street. They want to be able to ride the bus to work without wondering if they will get there on time. They want to go to parks and events that are currently inaccessible unless you are in a car. They want what Bikemore works to build. They want a City for People.

We know that in every neighborhood in the City there is someone ready to fight for safer streets, equitable development, and improved public transit. We are ready to pour everything we have into making that happen. But in order to be successful we need as many people as we can working toward that common goal. Bringing people together will take more than likes and shares. It will require we form meaningful relationships with people across the entire city. The type of relationships that can only be made in real life. 

Photo: @md_ave_cycletrack

Photo: @md_ave_cycletrack

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What’s next?

During Bikemore IRL we learned a lot, we forged new connections and partnerships by being present, and we reflected on how we communicate and for what purpose — all of which will be helping to inform our work in the coming months. We’re now back on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram providing our regular updates on what we’re working on and how you can get involved, but we’ll view it with more direction and purpose.

We also decided to revamp a monthly get together we used to host called Bike Leaders Breakfast. Bike Leaders Breakfast started because we realized there were people working on a variety of bike programming and advocacy throughout the city, but it felt like we weren’t connecting. We invited those folks over for breakfast and started to share resources and ideas more freely. Now we’re revamping the monthly breakfast and inviting all to join. So mark your calendars for the first Friday of the month. This month will be at our office at 2209 Maryland Ave, in the future check our calendar for the location.

Wayne Richardson Memorial Fund

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On July 30th, Wayne Richardson was killed after being struck from behind by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike near the 2600 block of East Madison.

Wayne had no insurance. We have spoken to the family and have offered to collect donations to assist with funeral expenses. Contributing is a small way you can help Wayne’s family through this time.

We had the honor of speaking with Wayne’s sister Wanda and learned a little bit about the man Wayne was. Wayne was retired from the Army Reserve. He was very involved in his church, both serving as an usher and singing in the choir. His faith and his church community was a large part of his life. Wayne came from a large family with 7 sisters and 2 brothers, all of whom reside in Baltimore City. He was known for taking people in and helping many families and friends get on their feet. Wayne has two adult sons. His son Avery is disabled. Wayne loved Avery’s mother, and when she passed away from cancer, Wayne became Avery’s guardian when Avery was just two years old. Wayne is the only father Avery has ever known. Avery is now in Wanda’s care. 

Wayne was riding home from his cousin's repass when he was hit. To know he was killed coming from a family member’s memorial service is extra painful. It feels especially cruel and unfair. Wayne and his family deserved better. 

Every single person that is killed on our streets has a story, has value just by way of being a human being. Bikemore’s job is to advocate for everyone, because everyone deserves safety and dignity while using the street. It is not ok to just accept injury or death as the price of riding a bike.

We’re coordinating a memorial ride and ghost bike placement at the request of Wayne’s family, and we’ll share information as soon as it’s available.

Donate to Wayne Richardson’s funeral expenses:

100% of donations made here will go directly to Chatman Harris Funeral Home to assist with funeral expenses.



Our response to Wayne Richardson’s fatal crash

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On July 30th, 2019, 58 year old Wayne Richardson was riding a bicycle westbound near the 2800 block of E. Madison Street at approximately 10:15 pm when he was struck from behind by a driver of a dark colored four-door sedan. The driver of the sedan then fled the scene. Police are still searching for the driver of the sedan, which should have heavy front end damage and could be missing a front bumper. Anyone with information about the vehicle or its occupants is asked to call detectives at 410-396-2606. Your information can remain anonymous. 

It is difficult to find the words when a second person riding a bike was killed by someone driving a car in the span of six weeks. It’s frustrating when we have the infrastructure tools necessary to prevent fatal crashes, but our city delays design and construction because of backlash from drivers. Backlash has resulted in the delay, removal or modification of bike lanes across the city and has left streets objectively less safe to walk or ride a bike on. 

We did not know Wayne Richardson. We did not know Mickey Hughes. But we grieve for them just the same. When your job is to make streets safer for people and someone dies because they aren’t, it is deeply personal. Which is why we will say this: 

There is a difference between listening to the community, and allowing community input to undermine City adopted plans that improve public safety. But the City repeatedly does not discern between the two. This has to change. 

In Baltimore, we are in a crisis regarding countless safety issues — gun violence, lead exposure, asthma, and on and on. None seem to be receiving the sense of urgency they deserve. This has to change. 

Today we met with the Baltimore City Police Department to discuss issues around reporting and officer education. Last week we met with the new Director of Transportation. There is some movement in the right direction. 

In Baltimore 33% of residents lack access to a car. That number climbs as high as 60% in the neighborhoods near where Wayne Richardson was killed. There are unused state and federal dollars that have been awarded to the city for projects that make our streets safer to ride a bike on. Use them. Immediately. Please don’t make us write another one of these.