Perhaps, the one bright spot in the devastation of Hurricane Sandy was the sight of so many bicycles providing mobility options to hard hit New York City. With the Subway flooded, long lines for gas and gridlock on the streets, residents of the Big Apple turned to two wheels to start piecing their lives back together.
Recycle-A-Bicycle, a community bike shop and youth training center with locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, wasn’t immune to the destruction. The organization’s warehouse and job training center was inundated with three feet of water and the building was further damaged by an electrical fire. But, in the immediate aftermath of the storm, the advocates at RAB looked beyond their front doors first, using bicycles to provide relief to their neighbors.
As Helen Ho, RAB’s development director, explains:
Though we still have no heat at any of our locations, we are keeping our fingers warm by fixing up bikes for our partners and friends helping with hurricane relief.
Even now, the most impacted locations have no heat, water, power and very little cell phone service. Car are flooded, there is a severe gas shortage and bicycles can play an important role in delivering food, supplies, transportation and information. In Red Hook, Brooklyn, right now, bike messengers traveling from building to building are the primary way residents in the neighborhood are receiving information about where hot food and supplies are being distributed on a day to day basis.
In our own way we’re trying to make a contribution to our neighbors recovery. This week, we’ve delivered eight bikes, racks and baskets to two neighborhoods for food and supply distribution. This Saturday, we’ll be setting up a mobile bike shop in Red Hook. We’ve been actively talking to our partners about how to help and will continue to donate and repair bikes for organizations that need it.
Our thoughts are with the residents of New York City. If you want to help, support RAB’s efforts by donating here!
Carolyn SzczepanskiCarolyn joined the League in March 2012, after two years at the Alliance for Biking & Walking. In addition to managing the League's blog, magazine and other communications, Carolyn organized the first National Women's Bicycling Summit and launched the League's newest program: Women Bike. Before she crossed over to advocacy, she was a professional journalist for nearly 10 years.