We Heart Bikes
Depending on how you look at it, Reno Bike Project is about to host either its 12th or 13th annual We Heart Bikes art exhibition and fundraiser. It started in 2006, the group’s first year, and it skipped a year.
Since the RN&R last checked in with the bike project on its 10th anniversary, (See “Ride on,” Sept. 22, 2016), there have been a few developments.
In fall 2017, the group lost the lease at its East Fourth Street location and moved into a street-front warehouse space on a block of apartment buildings and small houses at 216 E. Grove Street. Just like at the Fourth Street shop, the facade is bright pink, the air is abuzz with industry as bike mechanics make repairs and chat with customers, and the interior is lined with rows of mountain bikes, racers, affordable one-speeds, splurgy electric bikes, and the occasional antique or tandem. But not everything at the new place is the same.
“We moved into a neighborhood that’s very different than Fourth Street and has different needs,” said Executive Director Noah Silverman. The neighborhood is densely populated and home to a lot of families.
“We get a lot of little kids coming in,” he said. “We’re selling a lot of kids’ bikes to parents in the neighborhood. We’ve been busier than we’ve ever been.” He expects that with the Park Lane planned community under construction, the shop—where people can buy used bikes and parts, learn to fix bikes and connect with a large segment of Reno’s cycling community—will get even busier.
The bike project started in 2006 and experienced several growth phases, adding workshops, advocating for biker safety, and working alongside several charity organizations to help provide bikes to low-income commuters.
“I’m personally really comfortable with what the bike project is doing and want to continue to do that,” said Silverman.
The group plans to open an additional location soon, not far from the original Fourth Street space.
“We will run FutureCycle out of there,” said Silverman, referring to a two-year-old program that teaches job skills to young people. Another goal, he said, is “to grow our Burning Man sales and operations with that space.” The group plans to sell about 900 to 1,000 bikes to Burners this year. “It’s a huge income source for us,” he said.
“This [Grove Street] space is going to still be our flagship location, doing all our community outreach and education,” said the bike project’s Ray Eliot.
The group’s annual fundraiser, We Heart Bikes, a show and sale of bike-themed artwork, was, in its first couple of years, hosted by Gray Space Gallery, which used to be where Death and Taxes is now, and later at Holland Project. This year, it’ll be held at the new Fourth Street space. The Holland Project staff are expected to still help with hanging and arranging the artworks, though.
“We’re doing our show there so that folks can get oriented and acclimated with the idea that we have a secondary location,” Eliot said.
So far, artists have dropped off dozens of pieces of artwork, including a wooden bike sculpture, delicate pen-and-ink drawings, paintings and found-object collages. And, while the official date for artwork submissions has come and gone, Eliot said that in reality, the staff will take submissions up until the day of the event.