Low Income Commuter Services Proudly Supported by North St. Bags
Ever since our founding in 1994, providing support for people that need it has been an integral part to our mission of making bikes more accessible. As the neighborhood surrounding our bike shop transformed to affluence, the shop’s role in the organization changed too. Before, it was the center. It was the sole place to access our services. Now, we operate programs all over Portland– both, to have a broader reach, as well as the fact that communities that need our support most are no longer neighbors to the shop. While the shop has shifted to playing more of a financial-support role for the organization, it doesn’t mean we’ve lost sight of what a community bike shop should be. To us, that means helping out anyone that needs it, and there are still plenty of folks near and far that rely on us for their ongoing transportation needs.
North St. Bags hasn’t lost sight of being a community-minded business either. That’s why they’ve returned as a proud sponsor of our Low Income Commuter Services(LICS). It doesn’t hurt that we love what North St. Bags does. We’ve long carried their Portland-made bags in our store as an option for people who don’t like having to replace their gear(the things they make last forever!) And their emphasis on sustainable practices and investing in their community makes us proud to work with them.
LICS is the umbrella term we use for all of the various ways our bike shop goes above and beyond to provide support to people that need it. Can’t afford to fix a flat tire? We have a Pay-It-Forward Flat Repair program. Need help paying for a new bike or gear? We offer a discount for anyone living on a low income. For folks that can’t afford to repair their bike, we offer Emergency Repair Services. And if their bike is damaged beyond repair, we’ll set them up with a new one.
Being able to provide these services is near and dear to the hearts of the shop staff. Having to turn someone away because they can’t afford something we hope to never do. Here’s what staff have to say about the Low Income Commuter Services:
“Our community is stronger if everyone is lifted up. Cycling has many barriers to entry, and financial barriers are one of the most difficult for chronically disadvantaged community members to overcome. The Low Income Commuter Discount and Pay-it-Forward programs provide direct funding to those who need it most.”
“It helps alleviate the pressure on us of having to decide between turning someone away, or essentially stealing from the shop by hooking people up. The closer you are to the poverty line, the more small unexpected costs are likely to send you into a nightmare of late fees, cheap garbage food, stress and uncertainty. $20 off of a $100 repair could be the difference between paying rent or not.”
“Customers who otherwise may not be able to afford products and repairs are able to stay on the road in a safe way.”
“The Low Income Commuter Discount and our Pay-it-Forward program make the economic realities of owning a bike achievable for more people. Everyone should be able to get around by bike if they want to!”
LICS is an entirely Community-funded program! Thanks to businesses like North St. Bags and people like you, we’re able to continue providing support directly to people that need it most. If you’d like to see the continued success of these services, consider making a donation to LICS today!