PORT TOWNSEND — Chauncey Tudhope-Locklear’s dream comes on two wheels. It’s a vision of putting at least half of Port Townsend’s population on bicycles by 2020.
The ReCyclery, a new nonprofit community bike collective that Tudhope-Locklear manages, rolled out with a grand opening Friday night at 612 Polk St., just east of Lawrence Street uptown.
As part of a pedal party open to all, the public was invited to take a shirtless bike ride through Port Townsend.
“Honestly, it’s something we are kind of copying from the whole Seattle scene,” the almost 22-year-old Tudhope-Locklear said Thursday, explaining that it’s a not-quite-naked bike ride.
“Just to keep it fun, festive and edgy,” he said in quick, excited cadence with a wry smile.
“The police called us and said women couldn’t be topless or we couldn’t be naked.”
Tudhope-Locklear then pedaled into the collective’s serious goal of providing a free bike to anyone who needs one.
Getting needy people to work by bike, sparing the environment a few pounds less of auto pollution and salvaging old bicycles and tire inner tubes from the landfill are much of The Recyclery’s cause celebre.
“It’s a community thing, and if the community drives it, then it will work,” Tudhope-Locklear said.
The ReCyclery is a full-service repair and retail bicycle shop with a mission to promote positive social change through bicycles.
Its focus is on serving the commuter and utility cyclist as well as providing bicycles to those who can’t afford them.
“We don’t think that money should be a barrier to getting a bike,” he said.
Money donated to the operation is given back to the community through free and affordable services.
The group raised $4,000 during its capital campaign, and Tudhope-Locklear received a no-interest loan of $5,000 to get The Recyclery rolling.
Property owner Malcolm Dorn, who met Tudhope-Locklear at a Port Townsend town hall meeting, said that, for a nominal fee, he is providing the use of his courtyard for The Recyclery’s repair shed, space for bike art and storing cycles in disrepair until they can be mended.
Dorn said that, in the past, he has supported artists using his property for small shed studios.
“I support young people making their vision come true,” said Dorn, a Port Townsend resident for 24 years.
The group of Tudhope-Locklear and some 30 volunteer cyclists host free repair clinics, classes, apprenticeships and a free Adopt-a-Bike program.
It is not a cooperative, but its 20-hour advanced mechanics course allows users to use Recyclery tools for free as well as volunteer at free bicycle clinics.
An Adopt-a-Bike program is run in partnership with the school district’s alternative education program, Jefferson County Public Works and Port Townsend Police Department.
“We recycle lost and thrown-away bicycles back into the community by teaching kids and adults how to repair bicycles,” The Recyclery’s Web site states at www.myspace.com/471546703.
The organization has been providing bicycle repair clinics since July 2007 at The Boiler Room, a youth job-training program based downtown, and today also at the Food Co-op in Port Townsend.
The organization is sponsored by the Food Co-op and the Port Townsend Bicycle Association, which has some 500 members.
It also offers bicycle repair apprenticeships to students at local schools and has a contract with city of Port Townsend Public Works to salvage bicycles left at the landfill transfer station.
“Our goal is to do everything on bikes,” even pull loads on small trailers, Tudhope-Locklear said.
For more information, phone Tudhope-Locklear at 360-643-1755 or see the nonprofit’s Web site.
Port Townsend-Jefferson County Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.