Bicycles are an excellent source of transportation – whether you use them to stay in shape or to cut down on your gas expenses and carbon footprint – bicycles are ubiquitous in Austin. The Austin Yellow Bike Project is an all-volunteer initiative that began in 1997. It is run solely on donations from the local community. These donations include cash, volunteering time or simply donating bike parts.
One of the most remarkable things about this community project is that it is a hub for serious bike lovers and bike newbies alike. People go there not to get their bike fixed, but to learn how to fix it themselves. The coordinators are very friendly and helpful. One of the ways that the YBP gives back to the community is by running a program called Earn-A-Bike, which basically lets anyone build his/her own bike for free after having volunteered their time and learned about the basics of how bikes work. I personally came to the YBP without knowing anything about bikes. After taking a part in this amazing community initiative, and having a lot of fun in the process, I successfully built my own bike from spare parts in the shop.
The YBP also acts as a local bike advocacy group – it strives to make bikes a safer mode of transportation in Austin and Central Texas. It does so by having members sign petitions that will engage local legislators to create separate bike lanes throughout Austin. This facility has been in the news on multiple occasions, and even had a short documentary done about it.
I urge you to consider volunteering in the Yellow Bike Project. It will not only give you an opportunity to learn more about bicycles, but will allow you to give back to the community through a more refreshing hands-on approach.
Written by Yuval Edrey