California Bicycle Coalition Lifts Up Bike Match in California

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As more people turn to bikes for safe and healthy transportation and exercise during the pandemic, Bike Match services have sprung up around California. Bike Match connects people who need a bicycle but can’t afford one with those who may have an extra one sitting around. CalBike is proud to promote and lift up Bike Match in California by offering a clearinghouse website and working with volunteer technology providers to connect them with local partners around the state who are interested in setting up Bike Match programs.

Photo courtesy California Bicycle Coalition
Photo courtesy California Bicycle Coalition

New York City’s Transportation Alternatives pioneered #BikeMatch, but the concept has caught on in California. Bicycle advocacy organizations, community bike shops, and individuals have all started bike matching services through online platforms. These intermediaries help connect donors and recipients so everyone gets a bike that works for them.

“Bike Match is a great way to help essential workers and others who may need a bicycle get where they need to go safely,” said Dave Snyder, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition. “When someone who works in a hospital or grocery store or warehouse can get around by bike, that frees up space on public transit for those who need to ride to stay physically distanced.”

Community bike shops have an important role to play in Bike Match, and some local bicycle advocacy organizations have partnered with these nonprofit bike shops on their Bike Match programs. When a donated bike needs work before it is ready to ride, volunteers or staff from community bike shops can supply parts and do necessary repairs so the bike rides like new.

CalBike has partnered with Seven Shurygin, whose Sprocket app now provides an easy way for individuals to donate a bike or search for a free bicycle in their area. We are also partnering with Stephen Braitsch and Sam Sadle of SafeLanes, who provide an out-of-the-box platform for local organizations to set up city-specific Bike Match services. The platform connects first responders in cities across California and around the U.S. with local bike organizations that are interested in setting up Bike Match programs. Several other local bicycle advocacy partners have set up their own independent bike match websites. And Spinlister has partnered with Brompton Bikes to provide healthcare workers with free bike rentals.

Right now, there are approximately 20 people who need bikes for every bike donated. Here’s how you can help out:

  • Pull that old bike out of the garage and donate it to Bike Match or a community bike shop. CalBike has compiled a list of Bike Match organizations in California. Both adult and kids’ bikes are in high demand.
  • Donate money. If you don’t have a bike you’re not using, donate to your local bicycle coalition, any of our listed Bike Match organizations, or your local community bike shop. The money you donate can be used to pay for replacement parts and repairs to donated bikes.
  • Volunteer your time locally. Bike Match organizations may need volunteers to work on bike repairs, answer emails, or pick up or drop off bikes.
  • If there’s no Bike Match group in your area, you can start one. This helpful video from Bike Match Gilroy/Morgan Hill tells how their bike match works. It isn’t hard!

At a time when bike shops across California are selling out and even used bikes can be hard to come by, there’s no excuse to leave an old bike gathering dust in a corner. Donate to Bike Match and give someone wheels.

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