A few months back I was fortunate enough to come across the work of Tate James. He has studied graphic design at OU and clearly has a gift. In fact, I liked one of his works so much I bought it, and am just waiting to get settled somewhere with enough wall space to show it off. All this to say, the kid (as if I am old enough to call anyone a kid) is brilliant and a huge asset to the burgeoning young, creative community forming in the Oklahoma City metro – especially Norman.
Fast forward a few months, and one twitter follow later, and I have another reason to give it up to the guy. I just found out that he and his friends have been operating a community bike co-op in Norman. This story at VoicesofOk.org offers up details of their work. They have given away their time to help fix people’s bikes, donated their own parts, and even refurbished some donated bikes and have made them available to the community for people in need of some wheels. They also started a wiki map to locate dangerous bike grates in hopes of getting them replaced. Remember when I blogged about bike-sharing via B-Cycle (by the way, we are currently #2 and our OKC dot is still up near Ponca City – odd). Anyway, this is kind of like that, but completely grass-roots, which makes it so much better.
Here is the rub. According to the article the co-op is struggling to stay alive as they no longer have a garage to call home. In my opinion, this is exactly the type of project people should go out of their way to support. The biggest sacrifice is already being made by the people donating their time and talent, all they need is a little assistance from the right folks. I am hoping someone out there can offer the funds, facilities, and expertise they need to sustain what they have started and even grow it into a fully functioning non-profit. Maybe we could even dangle a carrot to get them thinking about an OKC franchise.
If you would like to help, let me know and I will get you in touch with Tate.