Mission: BicyCAL is a student founded and cooperatively run organization at UC Berkeley whose mission is to empower UCB students, faculty and staff to successfully integrate the bicycle into their daily lives. To that end we seek to provide a space where members of our community can learn how to maintain, operate and love their bicycles in an inclusive and safe place. We offer peer-to-peer bicycle repair and maintenance education in a radically positive environment.
Lower Sproul Redevelopment
BicyCAL has been promised space! The ASUC recently informed BicyCAL project leads that they will get 350 ft2 in redeveloped Lower Sproul. BiyCAL currently has 200 ft2 that consists mostly of a stairway. The stairway will be demolished and a floor will be put in below, and the BicyCAL space will be renovated free of any BicyCAL monetary input.
“We’re a little worried because we’ve been told a number of different things, including both that our space will be renovated and also that they we are going to be kicked out Febuary 3rd.” But BicyCAL has high hopes that this is the final decision the Lower Sproul redevelopers will make regarding BicyCAL.
So watch out, because BicyCAL will no longer be in their stairway starting August 1st, when they will relocate to a portable on-demand storage unit.
BicyCAL’s bike repair decal is going well! “The students take notes,” which Andrews finds amusing. “We have them come by and get an hour of hands on work 6 times a semester.” Some students get really into BicyCAL and come much more often.
Ever since the Campus Bike Initiative and BicyCAL won a combined 2011 TGIF grant, they have held their money in a combined account through the ASUC. “My understanding is that Ginger and Stacy (CBI’s project leads) have withdrawn all the funds they were going to withdraw, so everything in the account is now for BicyCAL” says Andrews. This was confirmed by TGIF- Campus Bicycle Initiative completed their portion of the 2011 grant and the remaining funds were allocated for BicyCAL.
“We don’t have any financial needs at the moment. We don’t pay rent, employees. We charge people for things like specific parts,” says Andrews. Part of TGIF’s second grant to BicyCAL consisted of money for interns, but they have discontinued that. “We sent out emails advertising but no one showed up, so we chose people already in the organization,” says Mathews. The title of Operations Manager for 2011-2012 was held by BicyCAL’s very own Chris McDermut, and the title of Fundraising, Outreach, and Communications Coordinator was held by Severin Martinez Fall 2011 and Chris Corral Spring 2012. “Really, the money for interns made no difference. The people that got paid would have been here anyways,” says Mathews. BicyCAL has been using the grant money to fund the members’ internships and will be holding onto the remainder of the funds for the new space.
Clearing up confusion about the beginnings of BicyCAL
BicyCAL also applied to TGIF back in 2009- the grant idea initially centered around a Green Bike Share led by Justin and Yolanda, not a co-op. “I became involved Spring 2010,” says Andrews, as their plans (which included collaboration with Green Bike Share, community activism with Yikes Bikes!, and a Student Bike Cooperative) were failing, “I thought why don’t we do bike repair rather than bike share? So I took the left over funds from failed bike share and parlayed it into this new project.” The new TGIF approved project became the BicyCAL repair shop co-op that we know today.
With the Green Bike Share money they were able to buy most of the tools and the cargo bike that they used to transport supplies. “Before we opened our storefront, we stored our stuff in the RSF garage and biked it over to Sproul, doing the same thing there are we do now in our storefront. But when it rained for three weeks straight, we realized we needed a shop. In late October we secured the space, and on November 19, 2010, BicyCAL opened for the first time!” says Andrews.
“Basically, just keep doing the same thing. Ideally, we would like more people to know about us. It would be so nice if the bike co-op was one of those things everyone associated with Berkeley. We have enjoyed being fairly autonomous, which gave us the freedom of doing our own thing, but it would be nice if we were part and parcel of the Berkeley campus. Like if tour guides going through Sproul would say, “Here’s the GBC, and here’s the super dank bike shop!”
BicyCAL gave a presentation at the 2013 Bici Bici conference hosted by Spokeland. “We spoke about what we do, some of the problems we’ve encountered, and why bike co-ops on college campuses are a good thing. It’s basically half conference half people bike party time, especially with the bike race after,” says Andrews.
BicyCAL’s slow race
Almost every Friday at 3 when they close the shop BicyCAL holds their 50 foot “slow” race. The last person to cross the finish line without putting their feet down wins! Check out their video on Facebook.
-article by Claire Kaufman, TGIF Program Associate