We’re Moving On…

Hey Everyone,

It’s been over a year since our last event and it is with mixed emotions that we announce that the core group that makes up The Community Spoke! is moving on to new things.

We’re looking for a new group to take and reinvent the Spoke and provide a much needed service to the Boston area.  We have a full workshop of tools, supplies and parts and a reserve of cash dedicated to the project that we would like to pass on.  This is essentially a “bike co-op in a box.”

Ideally, we’ll connect with a new group of volunteers that would continue to use the Spoke’s name and legacy and function in a similar way to the old group.  If this is not possible we’d like to find an existing group or groups to give our resources to.

We’ve always tried to focus on cycling communities underserviced by the bike industry and are committed to being a safer space.  Our safer space policy is integral to our operations and our most important policy.

We are also looking for a new home for H.E.L.L., a free helmet program.  H.E.L.L. and The Community Spoke! have been partners for some time.  Included are dozens of high quality helmets and funds earmarked for helmet distribution.

If you or anyone you know is interested in operating a free bike repair organization or absorbing its resources to your current organization please let us know!  Familiarize yourself with our mission and points of unity located on our main page.  Help us continue to provide the Boston area with free resources and promote cycling.  Please spread this message to anyone who may be interested.

The application can be submitted at http://goo.gl/forms/haIWLCmPi4


Dora, Dustin, and Alex – core volunteer group of The Community Spoke!

New Space in Allston

We’re excited to report that we’ve found a new space and will open again in the next six weeks.  We anticipate that we’ll be pretty busy at our new Allston location and are looking for volunteers.  Please let us know if you’re interested in helping out, and we hope to have another rad season with your help.  See y’all soon.


The Spoke! is Closing for the Winter/ H.E.L.L. Helmets

It’s been a rad year, and we’re closing for the season soon.  Thanks to everyone who came out and made this possible.  Our last day will be Tuesday, November 19.  Hope to see you in the next few weeks!

H.E.L.L. will remain active during the off-season, and helmets can be picked up in Allston by appointment.  Get in touch with us to schedule a pickup.


Our Safer Space Policy

We’d like to remind all who come to The Spoke! of our safer space policy.  Providing a safer space is an integral part of our mission.  This is our most important policy.

The Spoke! is committed to being a Safer Space. We are open to all and we ask you to respect and welcome each other and encourage a space free from oppression and violence. Oppressive behavior will not be tolerated. Oppressive behavior includes making anyone feel uncomfortable on the basis of their bicycling/mechanic experience, cultural background, gender identity, race, age, religion, sexual orientation, or any means of personal expression or physical abilities. To preserve our safer space we also ask that you refrain from using drugs and alcohol during Spoke! events.

In addition, we ask that you respect the property that The Spoke! is on and the tenants who have allowed us the use of their space.

If you have any questions about safer spaces or have felt uncomfortable for any reason, please talk to a volunteer or email us anonymously.


Labor Day Weekend and HELL

During the holiday weekend, all of our core volunteers will be hiking, bike touring, or travelling.  So we won’t be open for our first Sunday open shop and volunteer hours.  We’ll be back by Tuesday!


Also HELL has just purchased a huge stock of Bern helmets.  We have tons of sizes, colors, and styles.

Because we’ve had to purchase these helmets, we’re now offering helmets on a sliding scale of $15-$40, (we pay $20/each) but nobody will be denied a helmet if they can’t afford one.


New Website

Welcome to our new page.  I’ve archived the most recent posts from our old blog and will be updating the site over the coming weeks.  Stay tuned.

I’d also like to announce that both shop cargo bikes that were stolen last fall have been returned!  Thanks everyone for keeping an eye out for them!

Quick reminder that we’ll be open this coming Sunday for volunteer hours from noon-3PM and for open shop from 3-6PM.  We’ll also be handing out flyers at Bikes Not Bombs’ Bike-A-Thon the same day. The Bike-A-Thon should be a blast and our shop is only a block away.  Hope to see you Sunday!


Spring Update


It’s been a long winter, but we’re gearing up to get The Community Spoke! up and running for the spring season! This year promises to be our best yet. We’re changing a lot of things around and updating our schedule to include open hours on the first Sunday of each month as well as our weekly Tuesday open shop. We’re also redesigning our space to make things more efficient and improving our organizational structure.We’ve absorbed Helping Everyone Live Longer, an organization that provides free bike helmets to anyone who needs one. From now on you’ll be able to pick up a helmet at our open shops or at any events at which we are present.

I’m pleased to announce that our opening day will be Sunday May 5. As will be the case for all of our Sunday open shops, we will have a volunteer work session from noon-3PM and we will be open for repairs from 3-6PM. We will be open the following Tuesday from 6-9PM and every Tuesday and first Sunday after that.

In the meanwhile, we will be busy getting things ready. We are having several volunteer workdays in the coming month, which are visible in our calendar. We will also be fundraising at the Back Bay Cycling Club bike swap and tabling at Smash It Dead Fest. In addition to these events we plan to be at the Wake Up The Earth Festival and the Green Roots Festival as we have the last several years. Stay tuned for more updates.

Of course, we’re always in need of a whole lot of stuff. If you would like to help donate, here’s an incomplete list of items and services we could use:

  • Tools (especially metric wrenches and bike specific tools)
  • High quality, working bike parts
  • Cargo Bikes
  • High quality workbenches and bench tops
  • Concrete
  • Bike lubricants, grease, degreasers, and other fluids
  • Heavy duty storage bins, window boxes, etc
  • Cables, housing, brake pads, and other consumables
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Website and graphic design
  • Mural/visual art design
  • Screenprinting supplies
  • General volunteer help

We’re currently not taking donations of non-working bikes, bike frames, and department store bike components. If you’d like to donate, stop by one of our posted volunteer days or email us atthecommunityspoke@gmail.com. We can use all the help we can get in the next few weeks, if you feel inclined to please don’t hesitate to stop by! Volunteer days are a lot of fun and we’d love to meet some new folks interested in volunteering this year.

We’re glad to be back!  Thanks to our supporters who sent us kind words and donations over the last few month.  Y’all are great.  See you soon.


We are now accepting online donations

Published November 17, 2012 | By Alex

If you would like to donate to help The Community Spoke! get back on its feet, you can do it here. Your donation money will go to buying tools and replacing the items that were stolen.

We are always in need of cash, but donations of parts, tools, and volunteer time are every bit as valuable. We are not sure how we’re going to go about accepting non-monetary donations at this time, but we will keep this page updated. Thanks to everyone for your gracious support.


A note on police involvement

Published November 15, 2012 | By Alex

Since our break-in was noticed on Tuesday, we’ve received more publicity and attention than we have in our entire two years of operation. This is both heartwarming and troubling. While we appreciate everyone’s generosity in reaching out, and we’re glad to have your support, we’re disappointed that it’s a negative event that has brought The Community Spoke! to the attention of the greater public.

I have personally turned down two television interviews in as many days and we’ve been mentioned in numerous blogs and online media sources. It’s becoming hard to distinguish between genuine concern and sensationalism in the responses to the break-in at our space. One question that has been asked by those concerned as well as those wishing to capitalize on our loss is “why have you chosen not to involve the police?”

The simple answer is that involving the police is at odds with our established points of unity. We have written and agreed that “we seek to challenge the root causes of social and environmental injustice by creating community-based alternatives and fostering a spirit of mutual aid” and that “our community workshop and mobile repair stations are safe spaces free from oppression, violence and weapons.” The police are an organization that doles out oppression and violence and we as a community can do better.

There are reasons that we have chosen to exclude the police from the Spoke that are deeper and more complex. We have done a radical thing by offering a free service. Many have told us that it’s unsustainable and unreasonable to do what we have done. We’ve never tried to adhere to social norms in our work but we’ve been able to help our constituency in some dramatic ways, and they have helped us grow. This is fostering a spirit of mutual aid. We’ve done this as a community and have never looked for outside help. We all can rebuild The Community Spoke! as a community without the police. We feel that the police will interfere with our mission to provide a free and important service to those who decide to use it. To us this is more important than recovering our stolen property or “bringing those responsible to justice.”

What service can the police provide? Do we actually want the police to target, question, and harass the youth of color of Jamaica Plain on behalf of the Spoke? Would that really help us build a community? Is punishing the people responsible what we want? Is TCS! still a safer space if there is a police presence? Questions like these must be asked when dealing with an event where a crime has been committed. It is, of course, a visceral reaction to call the police, but this could have dire consequences for the folks we serve. We’ve been taught to think that someone who chooses not to deal with the police is guilty of a crime or is hiding something. We need to shed this kind of thinking and understand that communities belong to the people that exist within them. We do not want to fracture the relationships we’ve built through suspicion, aggression, racism, and all the other things the police stand for. The concept of true justice extends far beyond the realm of law.

I feel confident that our stolen bikes will turn up eventually, and if they don’t we will find new ones. Our place within our community is not so easily secured. If you would like to help us begin a new chapter we will gladly accept your help and ideas, but please respect our wishes as far as dealing with the police.

We don’t often make political statements and we strive to welcome all regardless of ideology. I understand that not all share our views. We are genuinely grateful for everything that the spoke has become and everyone that has helped us along the way.

I would like to address some of the rumors that have circulated the internet. If you are a media source and have reported incorrectly, please make these corrections.
-We were not victims of robbery, we were victims of burglary. There is a very big distinction between these two terms.
-Most of our tools were not stolen. We moved all remaining tools and parts to storage. Photographs of our toolboard empty were taken after our move to illustrate our frustration with having to close and our shop being empty.

We have heard from many people that are angry with the thieves. We ask that if our bikes are seen that you please not respond with violence.

Thanks again,

-Alex and TCS!