Friday, September 30, 2011

Waldport Oregon's Green Bike Co-Op

Christine and I saw many beautiful things on our bike tour of the Oregon Coast. While the rocks and waves are breath-taking, the little town of Waldport is home to something really beautiful, "ugly" green bikes.

As luck would have it, Rick Hill stopped by the SeaDog Bakery just as Christine and I were leaving and I got to chat briefly with him about the green bike he was riding. Rick is a retired teacher who now runs Waldport's amazing Green Bike Co-Op.

Rick Hill, enjoying a coffee outside the SeaDog Bakery in Waldport, OR

The Co-Op not only provides free bikes for anyone to use around town, it offers repair classes for teens and adults and long-term bike loans for low-income folks. Founded by John Mare' in 2006, John and various adult and youth volunteers currently maintain over 100 bikes in the green bike loaner fleet. This is an amazing resource, especially when you consider that Waldport is not a big city, the population of this coastal town is just a bit over 2000 people.

The bike share program works on the honor system, if a bike is tied up with a yellow rope, it's in use. If it's untied, it's free to use. Use the bike as long as you need it and when you are done, leave it untied in a public spot. John and the other volunteers sometimes move the bikes around to keep them distributed but mostly the system just works. Volunteers keep the bikes in working order and each bike bears the disclaimer "RIDE AT OWN RISK".

I asked John if they ever had bikes go missing and he replied "Sure," he said quickly adding "but that just means somebody who needs a bike got one, and that's the whole point."

John and his team of volunteers are busy with the wrenches and green paint, keeping things rolling in Waldport. This is a beautiful world, made a bit more beautiful thanks to the hard work of some good people and some ugly green bikes.

Keep 'em rolling,

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA
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