Volunteers began RUBARB in March 2006, after constantly collecting unused flood bikes, pulling them from garbage piles in the streets, and fixing them up for both residents and volunteers. Bikes that would have otherwise been sitting in an overflowing dump of Post Katrina rubbish, are now being reused by many people in New Orleans. RUBARB has evolved into a full scale upper 9th ward community bike shop. A shop which began with programs such as bike lending, and bike building workshops has now become RUBARB.
- Category: The Project
We are a community bike shop that runs entirely by volunteers. There are a set of core volunteers (about 8-10) who make sure the shop is open and running and help with special events, field trips and fundraisers. We have various volunteers who come for a day, week or multiple months to help around the shop. No help is too small! We all participate in making the space, tools and parts organized and accessible, and any money that is received goes toward the needs of the shop. Our primary goal is to provide adequate tools and competent help to meet the needs of those who desire to build and repair bikes. RUBARB is an educational space where we all can share and learn from each other's skills and experiences.
The shop is open 3 days a week (Mon, Wed, Sat) for people to come in and use freely. Use of the tools is free, as well as the advice and help from shop volunteers! All and everyone is invited to use the shop, whether it is to repair, build, maintain or donate a bike. There are various parts (mostly used) that can be acquired with a suggested donation. We usually have new parts in stock as well (cables, tires, tubes).
We strive to be an accessible and affordable place for people to obtain parts and bicycles. For that reason, there is an option to earn "Bike Bux" with us. For every hour that a person works under this program, they earn $15 Bike Bux. This may mean helping others in the shop, sorting and organizing parts, fixing up a shop bike, cleaning up, weeding our garden, helping with snack, etc. Once enough is earned, that person can spend their Bux.
FIELD TRIPS & HEALTHY SNAX
Many youth from the neighborhood frequent the shop and we think it's important to expose them to all sorts of things the city has to offer! Some examples of our favorite field trips are our annual beach trip to Waveland, MS, Jazzfest (with free community tickets provided by the Jazz & Heritage Society), Pelicans games, music performances, hikes in Jean Lafitte, puppet shows, Fringe Fest, and more!
In addition, we provide healthy snacks during every Saturday shift. Anyone is welcome to enjoy snacks with us, but it is the kids who come knocking at our door for this occasion most of the time!
We take any bike that you are getting rid of, big or small, busted up or in good shape! If in decent condition, we will fix it up and get it to someone who will use it. If not worth it, we will strip it of it's parts and reuse them. We'll take anything bike related: wheels, tires, tubes, chains, helmets, seats, racks, baskets, etc...