Bikes Not Bombs makes the big move

December 1, 2006
By

PETE STIDMAN

Bikes Not Bombs makes the big move

SOUTHWEST CORRIDOR—If you happened down Amory Street earlier this week you might have seen a few extra cyclists on the road, and they might have been lugging the tools of change in big bike trailers behind them.

That was the Bikes Not Bombs (BNB) crew heading from 59 Amory St. to their two new locations at the Brewery and Bartlett Square. If you don’t know BNB, they’ve taught over 1,600 kids how to ride bicycles safely and some percentage of those youths everything there is to know about pedal-powered vehicles. BNB also sends donated bikes to developing countries around the world.

Originally, the crew planned to relocate the bike shop part of their operation to Mission Hill, into an old brewery building next to and owned by Jim Lewis of Mississippi’s Restaurant on Terrace Street. That idea was scrapped when a few structural issues were discovered with the building, half of which would have to be repaired by BNB.

“Jim Lewis at Mississippi’s has been a really strong supporter,” said Arik Grier, spokesperson for BNB. “It would be great to have him as a landlord. But it just got too expensive.”

The new bike shop location is visible from Green Street T station, but accessed via a small, obscure street called Brookside Extension. The three story brick building, formerly a soap factory and now owned by David Du Busc, sits close to Amory Street, but the address is 18 Bartlett Square. It is perhaps the last such address remaining from a bustling square partially demolished when the path was cleared for the proposed Southwest Expressway sometime in the 1950s or 1960s.

The location of the “Hub,” in the BNB parlance—or the place where all the youth programs and administrative work will happen—is in the Brewery complex at 284 Amory St., Building K. The big grand opening party will be next week.

The party will be a place to be, not only to help raise the $155,000 BNB still needs to cover the cost of the big move, but also for a chance to see the Debo Band (rhymes with “hello”). Grier plays tuba for the band, which is opening for the “king of Ethiopian music,” Tilahun Gessesse, the next day.

Two youth members of BNB will also be performing, Elijah Evans Rodriguez of the Branches Steel Drum Band will be playing and Sara Lawrence of the Floorlords Movement will be belting out some spoken word.

“One big thing about the Hub is it allows us to really expand our youth programs,” said Grier. “They’ve been packed into the back here. This is a much bigger space and has a designated classroom.”

Grier said the classroom would be used for academic purposes such as tutoring and computer and web access to help with schoolwork.

The bike shop opening is tentatively planned for Dec. 20. The Hub grand opening is Dec. 8 at 6:30, 284 Amory St. K building.