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Mills Campus Intiative: Spokes Folk Bike Co-Op

Stacie Daniels, Mills College Art Museum’s collection manager, gets a hand from the Spokes Folks on her Bianchi. (All photos by Bridget Stagnitto)

When your car breaks down you can call AAA, but when your bicycle breaks down who do you turn to?

Bike repair tools and mechanical specialists are now a service offered to the Mills Community by the Spokes Folks Bike Co-Op, this semester’s new club on campus. The group has held bike repair seminars, bringing in experts from the local community of bicycle co-ops in Oakland.

The Spokes Folks Bike Co-Op is a group uniting bicyclists on campus. Whether you are a commuter or bike enthusiast, this group can give you skills to use on two wheels. For students using the bike as their main method of transportation, this group could be a great benefit.

The new club started with some basic classes on how to repair a flat tire and basic upkeep. When asked about the progress of the club, the founder of the group, Jenna Spagnolo said, “It’s getting rolling.”

Spokes Folks Bike Co-Op is an offshoot of EarthCORPS and stations themselves alongside them at the Sustainability Center in Reinhardt Hall.

Spokes Folks Bike Co-Op strives to make bikes accessible for everyone, to further environmental justice and sustainability, and to support sustainable transportation and exploration.

“We want to try to pair up people who don’t have access to bikes with those who own them — like a carpool for bikes,” said Spagnolo. Access to bikes as well as learning the skills to repair them are actions the club encourages.

During Earth Week, the group held a Bike to School Day event to promote the sustainable practice of bicycling as transportation.

Although the semester is coming to a close, there are local bike co-ops to supplement students’ cycling needs over the summer. These groups include Bikery, Spokeland and the GetAway Bike Collective.

The Bikery is a sect of  Cycles of Change, a bicycle program for East Bay Youth, which is a collectively run, not-for-profit community bike shop
in Oakland.

The Bikery emphasizes the leadership of people of color, youth, women, trans and genderqueer folk, and people from Oakland and the Bay Area. It works together with interns and volunteers from local high schools to develop skills in bike mechanics, environmental stewardship, and experience participating in a collectively-run business.

The Bikery also has an Earn-A-Bike program that the campus would like to get involved in. The program pairs youth with a member and are taught in-depth bike mechanics, and build a bike of their own in two weeks.

“We would like to get involved in this program,” said Spagnolo about Earn-A-Bike.

Spokeland is a not-for-profit, community-driven bicycle cooperative that aims to reach out locally and foster Oakland unity. They support the use of bicycles as a viable means of transportation as well as a healthy recreational activity.

It is focused on providing a safe and fun workspace for people of all ages, ethnicities and cultures, genders, sexual orientations and skill levels. Spokeland offers bicycle safety and maintenance education in an environment that helps to build knowledge, empowerment, and self-reliance for members of their community.

The crew set up shop to help get the word out at Mills by offering services to fellow bikers, and offered some delicious treats.

You can find Spokeland on 1121 64th Street on Tues. 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. & Sun. 1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Another collective called the GetAway Bike Collective is open at the HoldOut!, an organizing and events space at 2313 San Pablo Ave.

This collective is at a space which also holds free classes in Aikido, managing a nonprofit and Spanish/English. The space has a bookstore and holds community events such as film screenings of local artists and banner making crafts.

Spokes Folks has open hours on Thursday 6 p.m.-7 p.m., Friday 1:30-3:30 p.m. and Monday 2:30 p.m.-3:30p.m. Meetings for the club are held in the C wing of Reinhardt Hall on Tuesday nights at 6:30 pm.