PedNet Director of Communications, Michelle Windmoeller was thrilled with the turnout for their first “Rack, Pack and Roll” event, held recently as part of the 2011 Bike, Walk and Wheel Week. The activity, made possible by a Healthy Habits grant through the Center for Disease Prevention, provided supplies and instruction for making do-it-yourself bicycle accessories from recycled materials. Attendees discovered, a little creativity, some kitty litter containers and a few used political signs can not only outfit their two-wheelers inexpensively, but also make them a bit greener.
Though an array of freebies, from bike safety information and wearable bicycle pins, to free bike racks for the first 25, greeted participants at the “Rack, Pack and Roll,” the highlight of the evening was the fenders, racks and carriers made from recycled materials.
According to Windmoeller, bike accessories can be pretty pricey. Racks run about $35, fenders close to $30, and a typical bag-type carrier can set you back $50 or more. “For people who are low income, this is really expense. So we’ve found a way to make some of these using recyclables,” she says.
As in the case of Panniers (bike carriers or saddlebags). Two types were available at the event: “Kitty Litter” and cloth bag!
Participants could choose one and assemble it at the event or take instructions home. Incidental supplies, such as nuts, bolts, hooks and bungie cords were supplied through the grant money. The four gallon containers for the Kitty Litter panniers came from cat owners. Similar-sized food service containers were donated by the University of Missouri and Columbia College Food services. (Online Kitty Litter Container instructions)
Bag Panniers were constructed from donated cloth bags which were supported by measured pieces of outdated political yard signs. Nuts, bolts and washers secure them to the bike. ( Online Bag Pannier instructions Just replace the wood with political sign).
PedNet found political signs also make great fenders or bike racks. By cutting larger signs into fours length-wise, and smaller ones into two or three long strips, one sign can supply fenders for a whole family. Each strip is then folded carefully down the middle; using a table edge works well. Zip ties attach them to the bike frame under the seat.
According to their website, PedNet is “dedicated to creating and promoting the use of a pedestrian and pedaling network throughout Columbia, Missouri” and has been doing so since 2000.
Janet Godon, Program Director for PedNet, also pleased with the community response to the “Rack, Pack and Roll” event, added that PedNet offers many other bicycle programs as well.
For instance, “Earn-a-Bike” which replaced the popular “Cycle Recycle” accepts used bicycles, which are repaired and donated to people needing transportation. “Earn a Bike” also provides an educational component as well. “Cycle Recycle was revamped,” Godon says, because recipients weren’t following safe bike practices once they received the bikes. With “Earn a Bike” she says, “We make it mandatory that they participate in an educational program before we give them a bike.”
To donate a bike, or for additional PedNet information, check out their website.