Davis‘ only non-profit student run bicycle co-op, the Bike Church, is soldiering along on in its quest to find a new location to continue its work with the local bicycle community.
The church, which has faced closure by the university for liability issues since the fall, received a notice from the university in January granting an indefinite extension to their right to maintain their presence on the current property near the university domes. The university also mandated, however, that the group suspend all operations on the property until further notice, which it did on Feb. 1.
“We sent a proposal in January detailing our core values and also citing specific models and potential options for the bike church’s continued presence on campus,” said Sarah McCullough, a second year graduate student in cultural studies and Bike Church minister.
The university received the proposal on Jan. 14, following a scheduled Jan. 13 meeting between bike church representatives and campus officials.
“We’ve had some discussion recently on the subject but no direct contact with the bike church,” said Emily Galindo, director of student housing. “We scheduled a meeting Jan. 13 to discuss the situation, but no representative of the bike church attended.“
Galindo also stated that to the best of her knowledge there has been no university response to the bike church proposal sent on the following day.
ASUCD senator Chris Dietrich attended the meeting, speaking on behalf of the bike church.
“I don’t know if the bike church’s absence at the meeting was poor coordination on the part of the bike church or if the university failed to properly inform the bike church about the meeting,” Dietrich said.
Both Dietrich and Galindo stated that they will continue to attempt to coordinate meetings between the two parties in order to address this issue.
“We’ve been looking at a lot of different options as to where we can move, both on and off campus, ideally we want to maintain our relationship with the university if that is at all possible,“ McCullough said.
Dietrich, who has been working closely with the bike church in negotiating with the university since November 2008, discussed two potential campus locations for the church.
“One option would be a location in the north parking structure near the MU,” Dietrich said. “Another potential location is in the experimental college gardens, near [the church’s] present location.“
Both of these options present problems however either by restricting the Bike Church from offering its full range of services or in not addressing present issues of zoning violations that were responsible for the church’s initial closure.
“What we’re trying to do is keep the bike church on campus and at the same time protect the university from any lawsuits,” Dietrich said.
Bike Church officials are currently awaiting the reply of the university to their most recent proposals.
Despite a quiet period in negotiations, the Bike Church plans to continue its ministry through the Mobile Ministry Unit.
“The mobile ministry unit is basically a really big box attached to a bike, like a giant trailer bike that we can carry tools and other materials with in order to continue the churches mission,” McCullough said.
The Mobile Ministry Unit, which is currently on display at the John Natsoulas Art Gallery in downtown Davis as part of an exhibit dedicated to the Amgen Tour.
“As soon as [the MMU] comes out of the exhibit, we will resume our ministering,” McCullough said. “We want to send the message that we will continue to provide our services regardless of our situation, that we are never really shut down.“
The MMU will frequent the quad and the Farmers‘ Market.
“Student housing provides freshmen orientations to campus, and many orientation-oriented events at all the dorms, yet none of these programs focus on teaching students how to ride or maintain bikes,” said Chris Congleton, Co-Founder of the church and PhD Candidate in Transportation Technology and Policy at UCSD in an e-mail interview. “The bike church is the only program on campus that does.“
The church will be holding a fundraiser in the later part of the spring quarter at Delta of Venus to help support the its continued existence.
CHARLES HINRIKSSON can be reached at email@example.com.