Ministers at UC Davis’ Bike Church are keeping the faith in hopes of avoiding closure to their bicycle-blessed sanctuary.
The Bike Church, located on Orchard Drive, next to the Domes Sustainable Research area, is a resource center that provides instruction and used parts in exchange for donations. Their officials, or ministers, lead workshops free of charge designed to teach visitors how to fix their bikes and to understand the bicycling lifestyle.
However, due to an unapproved construction plan and unkempt appearance of the church, officials from the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) UC Davis Fire and Student Housing departments will be conducting an inspection to determine whether or not the church will remain on campus.
“The building where they minister to bikes in was not constructed in accordance with university building and fire codes,” said Weston Arvin, assistant fire chief at the UC Davis Fire Department. “This is the same process that every other building on campus has to go through.”
To prevent closure, the bike church has been holding work parties every Saturday where community members can assist in reorganizing and cleaning the church before the Oct. 1 inspection.
“Last winter we had some storms that left standing water and vegetation so we’re working on a more permanent cover that will keep [bike] parts dry,” said Deacon Ty Nowotny, a first-year graduate student studying mechanical engineering. “We just need to reorganize the place, get it safer and more weather-proof.”
Though no official plan has been submitted to student housing, the church is working on acquiring recycled billboards for their main shelter, which will be both flame retardant and inexpensive. They will also be clearing brush, organizing all bike parts and painting more permanent signs to increase their visibility.
All renovations are utilizing donations made from their Great Pedal Forward fundraiser, which so far has contributed approximately $3,440, on top of a $500 donation from the Solar Community Housing Association and a $2,000 grant from Campus Sustainability.
“The deadline is coming up really quickly, but we’ve definitely made some big improvements,” said Friar Robbie McMurry, a community member who has been coming to the Bike Church for nearly two years. “I think we’ve made more progress then [the Fire Department, housing and EHS] think we would have made.”
In order to pass the inspection, the Bike Church will have to clear brush from their property, install a fence to prevent robbery and generally make the premises more weather proof. Furthermore, after the inspection, they may need to install additional preventative safety measures, such as sprinklers.
“We need to keep the Bike Church open because it’s an important function in the community,” Nowotny said. “We want to see it thrive because this is a place that really continuously helps people.”
The Bike Church will be running work parties every Saturday until their Oct. 1 inspection from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They will have a schedule on their website for classes shortly, but for information daviswiki.org/bike_church.
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at email@example.com.