2020 has forced everyone to look at the world in a new way. Some of us have been able to adjust to the “new normal” of working from home, while others venture onto the streets to perform jobs considered essential – whether for the community or their own livelihood. Combine the threat of a respiratory illness with a surge in bike popularity, you have a time where bikes can be hard to find for people that need them to get around.
Since April, LACBC has been matching working bikes with people who need them. Through LA County Bike Match, Angelenos that have a working bike they are no longer using can donate it to LACBC and we will match them directly with someone who needs it.
We’re proud to announce that in addition to our one-for-one mutual aid-inspired model, we are building up more than 100 bicycles and matching them up to essential workers in LA. Thanks to a donation of bikes, funding for parts and mechanics, and in-kind donations from several partners, we are getting ready to host a week of socially distanced outdoor bike building parties.
In honor of September being 2020’s bike month (it’s usually in May), we’re going to delve behind the scenes for a look at how this program made it to LA, what we’re doing with it, and where we’d like to see it go.
Today we feature an interview with Nina Moskol, chair of the Santa Clarita Valley Bicycle Coalition, an LACBC chapter. Nina is also the event coordinator for the upcoming bike build parties. A longtime bicycle advocate, Nina sat down with LACBC to share her perspective and her role in making LA County Bike Match a reality.
Nina Moskol talks Bike Match
LACBC: What does Bike Match mean to you? Why did you choose to become involved in this project?
Nina: I’m excited on a personal level to be part of Bike Match because I believe in giving back to our communities in the ways that we can. I also am excited about Bike Match because in my own family it has turned out to be successful. I have a cousin who’s in the New Orleans area, she was having challenges getting to and from work. She had received some new jobs there after things started to reopen and it was costing her a lot of money to be able to use ride share. For all of us who have stopped working (as I have) during these months of quarantine, it can be very expensive to restart your career and your work life. I told her about Bike Match and luckily the bike coalition there in New Orleans, Bike Easy, was able to help provide her with a bike. I really think that this is an opportunity with Bike Match to get people on bikes during this time when perhaps the traffic flow is a little bit less, where people are dining outside more and so they might see people on bikes going from place to place, so it’s a self promoting activity. I’m excited to have people try a new form of transportation that they may not have considered before, to do those shorter trips, to get to those places that they need to get to and find that it’s useful, fun and healthy and actually makes them feel good.
Nina providing some feedback.
LACBC: What would you like to see come out of the Bike Match program?
Nina: I would love to see more people trying out this simple, clean, easy form of transportation in their immediate community and learning that they can negotiate their community, travel through their community and interact with their community without having to be in a car.
I would like to see people be seen on bikes more and I know I’m seeing them more across the county. It’s really exciting to actually see how many more people are on bikes right now. I’d also like to really celebrate that sense of community cohesion. I think that Bike Match really has that power of the one-to-one giveaway so to speak. You have a person with a need and we as an organization can help meet that need on a very very immediate level and I think that is something that brings community cohesion in a really productive way.
This is an important program for the county and for many many municipalities and localities across the county. I really am super proud of LACBC for being able to be a participant in this program. I am also very grateful for the partners that have signed on to help us, whether that’s been Pure Cycles with their bicycle frames, whether that’s been SCAG with their grant, whether it’s been Bike Shop California with offering a location for us to do the builds, Warner Brothers with some large donations – it’s really been important across the board and it’s so exciting to have all of these different entities come together to participate in this way.