Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Collective Efforts

Des Moines Street Collective
Tuesday was marked by a trip to the Des Moines Street Collective to see Bobby Kennedy and pick up some of their excess bicycles which were donated over the past several weeks. The Cedar Valley Bicycle Collective does not see the amount of donations that the Street Collective does and we are able to move some of their donated inventory for them in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area.

I believe this was the third time we have collaborated with the Street Collective in this manner. It always starts with a two hour long drive to Des Moines, Iowa in a bouncy moving van. 

When I say "bouncy", I mean like a paint shaker bounce. My fitness watch claimed 17 minutes of "exercise" one way on this trip and a bunch of "moving time" even though my butt was firmly planted in a seat. That seat was shaking, but I was seated!

I did end up getting some "real" exercise when the loading part started and I was sitting the bikes in the van with a Tetris-like mindset. Trying to maximize space for the best possible bike count. I must have done it too well, as Bobby had to cut us off at 53 bicycles even though I had space for more in the truck. 

Curt Young, a Cedar Valley Bicycle Collective board member and a CDL license holder drove and assisted in the packing. I have to say that he earned his keep driving as the winds were really strong and pushing that slab-sided van something fierce! Thanks to Curt for his driving expertise!

Planting season is in full swing here in Iowa.

Part of the "haul"

Interestingly, Bobby shared with me that he has found that the relationship between the Des Moines Street Collective and the Cedar Valley Bicycle Collective seems to be a rare one. He mentioned that reaching out to other Collectives via email has been met with ghosting and cold shoulders. 

"It\s kind of ironic when you think about it.", Bobby said to me, "The Collective experience isn't very 'Collective' ." I'd have to agree having been ghosted by every other collective I've contacted in the state. Not to say that the other Collectives are "bad", just that they don't seem to see a benefit in collaborative efforts like Bobby and I have exemplified by our two organizations helping each other out. 

(L-R) Bobby Kennedy, GT, Curt Young
The bikes made it back to Waterloo and we got them unloaded and into the basement of the Collective with help from my co-worker Carl and another board member, Nick Arendt. We have enough kids bikes to help with the Summer programs we are trying to support and probably a few more that will be taken for sale to remote locations at Farmer's Markets in the next couple of months.

That'll keep us busy for a while.

So now comes the hard work of cleaning, repairing, tuning up, adjusting, and cataloging these bikes for resale and parts. I have a tear-down volunteer group coming in Friday from the local "Big Green Tractor Company" which will help make a little space, but will also create even more stuff to sort through, catalog, and store. I would imagine that the reselling side of the Collective will pick up steam here also with all the fine weather we have coming up.

It is time to get crackin' at the Collective!

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