In November 2011, a group of about 25 San Jose area bicycling enthusiasts and advocates gathered to explore the idea of creating something in San Jose that would serve the cycling community in a way that bike shops, transportation advocacy organizations, local nonprofits and individuals had yet to do. The idea was modeled on the many bike co-ops, bike kitchens, tool shares and other bicycle programs that have been created across the country.
The group decided that this was an idea worth pursuing. Although many who were at that initial exploratory meeting did not continue to be involved, other new volunteer organizers heard about the project and joined the organization.
During November and December 2011, organizers met with the leaders of four local non-profits (Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, Silicon Valley Bike Exchange, Good Karma Bikes and TurningWheels for Kids) that do work involving bicycles. Those meetings showed that there was an unmet need in San Jose, as well as support for the Bike Clinic concept.
In January 2012, organizers met twice to build consensus around a series of statements about the group’s goals. We then crafted those statements into a mission statement, voted on our name and San José Bike Clinic was born.
Our first event, the Coming Out Demo, was on March 3, 2012 by Diridon Transit Center in downtown San Jose drew about 70 people. We provided services to 42 of those people, including bike repair instruction, access to tools and stands, cycling games and Safety Rides that showed them how to safely ride on downtown streets.
We hosted a Bike to Work Gear-Up on April 29, 2012 at San Pedro Square Market in downtown San Jose that drew about 60 people throughout the day. We served more than 40 people that day, with the goal of preparing them for Bike to Work Day about two weeks later. We provided bike repair education, personalized route planning consultation, tools for use, cycling games and safety rides.
Since then, Bike Clinic organizers have continued to meet twice per month for planning and have put on monthly Skill Shares at San Pedro Square Market. We also appear at the San Jose Downtown Farmers Market on a recurring basis, lead occasional rides, and will pursue other opportunities for temporary, periodic public services in downtown San José.
Fiscal Sponsorship by Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition
In October 2012, the San José Bike Clinic Steering Committee announced that Bike Clinic became a fiscally sponsored project of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC), which is the leading bicycling advocate and bicycle use promoter in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. This provided Bike Clinic with nonprofit status and the backing of SVBC’s existing infrastructure, allowing our group of dedicated volunteers to take Bike Clinic to the next level.