Polar Bears International

4/28/2014 2:10:13 PM

Let's Roll! Bike Repair Day

Bike if you love polar bears! Philip Fensterer, one of our Climate Alliance graduates and a keeper at the Oregon Zoo, continues to encourage biking in his hometown of Portland, Oregon.

Not only has he started a bike to work challenge at the zoo, he's also formed a Cycle for Change League to allow members of our Arctic Ambassador Center network to compete with each other.

He's now turned his attention closer to home, arranging for a local bike mechanic to set up on his front deck and inviting neighbors to bring their bikes for minor adjustments.

"In the process of going door to door around the block to tell folks about the event, I met 20+ of my neighbors, many for the first time," Philip said. "There's a great benefit to be found in unplugging, but I also need to go beyond my own personal comfort zone, to reach out and engage my neighbors. I want to help rekindle a sense of community that our society seems to be losing.  

"If we want to see positive change in our world, it's through our circles that we can begin to make that happen."  

Philip recognized that his immediate neighborhood was a circle he had neglected, so he made it a goal to get to know his neighbors while encouraging cycling. He started by inviting a local mobile bike mechanic, Rolling Wrench, to his home for a bike repair day. Not only did this provide an opportunity to repair neighborhood bikes and encourage cycling, it gave him an opportunity to go door to door and achieve his goal.

"Going door to door was scary, but walking the block on a nice day, I took advantage of meeting neighbors who were outside anyway," he said. "As I went around and met folks, I explained that I was inviting them to stop by my home with a bike in need of TLC or to simply visit, the purpose being to strengthen our sense of community.

"I really had to push myself to get out there, but all the encounters I had were pleasant and reinforcing. Everyone seemed to appreciate what I was trying to do."

We love Philip's idea of organizing a bike repair workshop or bike safety day to help build enthusiasm for biking. You can become part of the momentum by taking our Pedal for Polar Bears Challenge in honor of Endangered Species Day. 

Philip adds: "I'm still looking for Arctic Ambassador Centers to form bike commute teams and join the Cycle for Change League for this year's May Cycle for Change bike commute challenge. You do not have to be signed up by the first of May, but will need to log trips by the end of the month." You can sign up here.

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