I own and operate Wheel Simple Bicycle Repair, located at 707 Mosby St. in Richmond, Va’s Union Hill neighborhood. I am across from Jefferson Town Homes, next to Mosby Court as well as MLK Middle School.
A pretty large portion, close to half, of my clientele (most of whom live within 1.5 miles of the shop), can’t ever afford proper and adequate repair on the bicycles they rely on, and they also can never spring for any product that isn’t the absolute bottom of the barrel option….needless to say, this creates a never ending cycle of repair and frustration.
Most people riding bicycles in the world and especially in neighborhoods with high poverty rates, ride them because they have to. I could raise my prices to price them out and advertise to a wealthier market, but I’m not interested in that. I could keep losing hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars every year comping tickets out of my pocket because I care about my neighbors, but I’m not interested in that either; out of simple self-preservation – I’m literally almost as poor as the people we’re talking about.
What this fund raiser is, is me, Robbie Wood, turning to my customer base and saying “if you have spare money right now and you want to actually help your neighbors out in a meaningful way, while also supporting me and my livelihood, pay for their bicycle repair. Prepay for tune ups, for wheel trues, new bottom brackets, etc. Prepay here and now, and give me room to be able to make someone’s life easier without losing much needed money.
My first drive raised $500 here, but people continued to contribute off site, my customers actually prepaying $800 worth of repair and parts.
I’ve exhausted the tune up fund as of August 18th 2020. 4 major comps amounted to $747 and the rest were made up of minor adjustments, waiving install fees, emergency repair on wheels or bottom brackets etc….
This higher amount of money should provide comps through the fall and winter, and into the next year, though I don’t expect it to last through Spring.