Trail Ramblings: Tomorrow’s Bike Kitchen, A Guest Post By Ingrid Kirst

Cycling is a vital part of a healthy, equitable and sustainable community. Since 2012, the Lincoln Bike Kitchen has empowered people in our local community by providing refurbished bikes for free and actively promoting and advocating for cycling. In addition, our dedicated volunteers help others develop the maintenance skills that will keep their bikes rolling for a lifetime. After a dozen years and thousands of bikes distributed, the Lincoln Bike Kitchen can serve thousands more Lincolnites by investing in staff and a larger space to call its own. In 2023, LBK distributed a record 1,328 total bikes. We filled 900 requests from youth, many of which were distributed through our 23 public school partners (elementary, middle and high school.). An additional 400 went directly to community members or were distributed through our 11 nonprofit partners serving low-income adults and families.

Caleb Tatum, PE Teacher at Dawes Middle School said “Dawes Middle School would not be the same without LBK. This community outreach program has positively impacted our school community greatly. Our kids love helping bring in, fix, and distribute bikes to fellow students. Our bike rack out in front of our school is overflowing with bikes the students ride to and from school that have been donated from LBK.” Thanks to Lincoln Parks and Recreation, the Lincoln Bike Kitchen will soon have a new home in the old Municipal Pool bathhouse at 308 S. 21 st Street in the Telegraph District. This new location will allow Lincoln Bike Kitchen to give away more bikes, provide more bicycle education and allow us to sustain the project long into the future. The new location is close to where most of our clients are located. It is also a high-need area according to Community Health Endowment’s Place Matters Maps. It is on a bus route and bike path, and large enough for a more efficient workflow. Matthew Martin, AVP of Refugee & Immigrant Programs at Lutheran Family Services loves the Bike Kitchen. He said “I cannot express enough how grateful I am for Lincoln Bike Kitchen. Since early 2019, our clients have received over 250 donated bikes from LBK, significantly impacting their lives. These bikes have been essential in helping refugees get to work, helping children attend school, and providing a means of transportation for errands or recreation. Furthermore, the upcoming site will be close to
Lutheran Family Services, just under half a mile away. Parents and children have always given positive feedback and expressed gratitude for receiving free bikes.” Since its inception, Lincoln Bike Kitchen has been run entirely by volunteers and supported by donations of bikes, parts, tools, and funds from the community. As our impact grows, our Board of Directors knows that hiring staff to manage the day-to-day operations is imperative. Ingrid Kirst, an experienced non-profit leader and bike commuter, has been hired to be the interim executive director for the next six months.

Ingrid is helping the board prepare the organization to hire a permanent executive director this summer. The new executive director will be a regular contact for the organization for donors, volunteers, funders, and the community, increasing the number of partnerships we can develop. This new position will also be able to attend more outreach events, make presentations, fundraise, and generally be a presence in the community to advocate for bicycling. The combination of the new, larger location, and the new staff position are going to make a tremendous difference for the Bike Kitchen. Look for more bikes around Lincoln

Have an extra bike your kids outgrew or that you no longer need? Bicycle donations are welcomed at our current shop at 1635 S. 1st Street (1st and A Streets) during open hours: Mondays 9am-12pm or 5-7pm, Tuesdays 9am-12pm, or Thursdays 5-7pm.
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