March 15, 2020:
The Mechanical Gardens will be closed over the week of March 16.
BUT: people need bikes now more than ever.
SO: we’re reconfiguring our operation for the coming month(s) to keep bikes and repairs accessible to everyone who needs them.
AND: if you can, please consider sending us some financial support, because it’s going to take a lot of resources to effectively respond to NYers in need.
Thing 1. We founded our space to provide safe and reliable access to bicycling, in a city that erects countless unjust obstacles to freely moving around, accessing transportation, and mastering the tools of mobility. Achieving our mission relies on creating a safer space with visitors and volunteers — where we work together, every time we enter the Co-op, to ensure everyone is respected, kind, supported, and physically safe. With COVID-19 now in “community transmission” in NYC, we are pausing our operation to implement new hygiene protocols and trainings to ensure safe programming as we go forward.
Thing 2. As COVID-19 spreads, more people have stopped using transit to limit the spread of contagion; also, millions of New Yorkers are experiencing severe financial hardship because of the sudden economic downturn. The need for access to safe and reliable bicycling is skyrocketing, and will only continue to grow. People who don’t benefit from financial security, working cyclists, gig economy workers with dwindling incomes, those with cause to fear the increased presence of police on the streets, and all the folks who simply need to get around and can’t safely ride the bus or subway all need our space and services more than ever. We are strategizing on how to best answer this need, and will come back strong after this brief pause.
And remember: The Co-op was founded with the goal of providing access to bicycles, but bicycles are only the vehicle for something much more important — mobility, community resiliency, and empowerment in our unfair and inequitable city. And, like in Hurricane Sandy, bikes will be a crucial tool for safeguarding social equity (and life, and livelihoods) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stick with us, send help if you can, and we’ll be right back to get your back.
Some more details about why we’re closing: Expert consensus suggests that limiting social gatherings (“social distancing”) is crucial to slow the spread of the virus, giving doctors and nurses valuable time to treat those in most dire need. Pausing our operation for a week is necessary to mitigating our current health crisis. We hope that you can follow the same practice yourself over the next few days, if you’re able to.
Thank you for your optimism and understanding.