Alamosa Bicycle Coalition (ABC) is a young non-profit located in Colorado’s San Luis Valley–a rural area with a rich Latinx history. It was born out of the vision of members of the Anabaptist Fellowship of Alamosa and its Mennonite Voluntary Service unit who came into daily contact with many lower income adults and youth. Those without cars or driver’s licenses needed a reliable way to get to work, school, shopping and appointments, and the town offered little in the way of public transportation.
Several members of the fellowship were avid bicyclists for both environmental stewardship and recreational purposes. They also had experience with bike mechanics and bike coop projects during college, so they were equipped to meet the needs they saw. Currently, two members of the fellowship, Jonatan Moser and Alice Price, serve on the non-profit’s board, and Grantley Showalter, the first executive director is also connected there.
Rebuilt bicycles, bicycle repair options and safety resources are important assets for those who do not have access to or are not allowed to drive private vehicles. ABC now has a bicycle repair workshop for community use as well as the capacity to provide pop-up information and skills events in various parts of the community or as part of larger community gatherings held throughout the year.
Expanding Peer Leadership
The Coalition has Spanish-speaking facilitators and board members who can provide bike-related resources to immigrant communities and is now focusing on expanding peer-to-peer events and programming. Providing training in bicycle mechanics is one expression of ABC’s intent to empower leaders within the biking population they serve. In April 2022, Alamosa Mennonite Fellowship applied for and received a Green Mustard Seed grant from Mennonite Creation Care Network toward tuition at the U of Q University–a technical school for bike mechanics.
A bike and ways to repair it when it breaks down can greatly improve the quality of life of someone without transportation. One recipient not only had a much easier time carrying water to his campground home; he was also able to reconnect with his daughter in a nearby town.
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