This past Saturday afternoon under clear sunny skies, Poky Pedalers shared charity-themed Bike Fun on Shop & Donate by Bike, which combined bicycling, shopping, and donating to a local nonprofit.
The basic idea of Shop & Donate by Bike was to ride to shops, purchase stuff, load it all onto the PPSP Colossal Cargo Carrier (a 5’-long flatbed bicycle trailer that I towed), haul it all over to CAP Services Family Crisis Center – a vital local resource for domestic abuse survivors and their children as well as for runaway youth – and donate to them everything we purchased over the course of the afternoon.
Shop & Donate by Bike was also a celebration of Bike to Shop Day. I’ll have more to say about this later.
Twenty-three Poky Pedalers participated in the shopping and donating aspects of Shop & Donate by Bike. In addition, there were four children who rode along with us. Our Poky Pedalers included CAP Services CEO Mary Patoka and their Communications Director Matt Brown.
At the start in Bukolt Park, Poky Pedalers formed shopping teams of 3 or 4 people. Once that was done, we rode off to our first shopping destination: the downtown Shopko. At Shopko, each shopping team was given a list of items to purchase that included things such as diapers, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and facial tissue. One team had children’s books on their list.
After loading all the purchases into the Colossal Cargo Carrier, we then set a course for K-Mart on the north side. The shopping lists handed out at K-Mart included more diapers, more cleaning supplies, napkins, and paper towels. Bath towels and compact fluorescent light bulbs were more interesting donation items on several lists.
Again, all the purchases were loaded onto the Colossal Cargo Carrier. We then rode over to Copps Market on the east side. The shopping lists there primarily contained food items such as spaghetti, pasta sauce, packaged dinners, macaroni and cheese, soup, and canned fruit. Other donation items on the lists included dish soap, tall kitchen garbage bags, and body wash (liquid shower soap).
As the afternoon progressed, the Colossal Cargo Carrier slowly filled. Nevertheless, there was plenty of room for all of our purchases – even the huge packages of toilet paper and paper towels – in the eight 18-gallon bins atop the trailer. I am guessing that we ended up with around 150-175 pounds of donation items, which, when added to the 45 pounds of trailer and 40 pounds of bins, means I was towing roughly 250 pounds behind my bike. Despite this load, I had no difficulty pedaling along our relatively flat route at our typical poky pace.
Our final stop was CAP Services Family Crisis Center west of the Wisconsin River, where we unloaded the Colossal Cargo Carrier and created a huge pile of donation items within one of their conference rooms. CEO Patoka and a Family Crisis Center staff member told our assembly of Poky Pedalers about the services offered and the community members assisted by all of the programs of CAP Services, particularly their Family Crisis Center.
Although it is unfortunate that so many members of our community find themselves in difficult situations, it was uplifting to hear about the work CAP Services does to both address their needs and move them towards self-sufficiency. We also gained a better sense of how our donation of all the items purchased during the afternoon fits into the broader scope of their work to create a better community within the Stevens Point area.
Over the course of our Bike Fun, each donating Poky Pedaler spent $5 at each of the three shops we visited. In honor of the twenty-three donating Poky Pedalers on Shop & Donate by Bike, PPSP made an additional cash donation of $23. Summed together, the value of all our donations to CAP Services Family Crisis Center totaled $368.
I am moved by the opportunity to encourage Poky Pedalers to make this sort of meaningful contribution to such a worthy and vital nonprofit in our community. I truly want to thank all Poky Pedalers who participated on Shop & Donate by Bike for their donations to CAP Services Family Crisis Center.
I especially want to thank CEO Mary Patoka, who took time out of her busy schedule to share Bike Fun with us and to observe in person our biking, shopping, and donating activities.
Furthermore, I want to thank Matt Brown for snapping oodles of pictures over the course of our Poky Pedal to document what took place during Shop & Donate by Bike. Poky Pedalers can view his pics on the CAP Services Facebook page and on this Dropbox webpage.
Shop & Donate by Bike was our local celebration of Bike to Shop Day, which was also on Saturday. Bike to Shop Day is a counterpart to other Bike Month activity encouraging people to use bicycles as part of their daily transportation needs.
Our shopping activity certainly demonstrated how easy it is to go shopping on a bicycle. Not everyone has a Colossal Cargo Carrier, of course, but even simple bicycle baskets and racks can easily accommodate the load of items purchased on many shopping trips.
Bike to Shop Day started in the Silicon Valley area of California in 2014 as a way to encourage more people to use bicycles for their shopping trips. They were celebrating their third Bike to Shop Day this year (info on their activities can be found here and here), while Stevens Point was celebrating our second.
Although we were the only two communities celebrating Bike to Shop Day this year (to my knowledge, based on the Twitter activity I saw), I have had communication with bicycle advocates in several cities around Wisconsin suggesting that they organize an event similar to Shop & Donate by Bike to celebrate Bike to Shop Day next year. It would be heartening to see a wave of annual donation events oriented around transportation bicycling cropping up around Wisconsin, and beyond, in celebration of Bike to Shop Day each year.
Returning our focus to this year, Shop & Donate by Bike was a great way to kick off the 2016 Bike Fun Calendar. Poky Pedalers can look here to discover what’s in store for Bike Fun with PPSP in the months to come.