Keep the wheels turning!
Updated: Apr 5
The time has come to dive deep into our passion project, ‘OpenBike’ as we are starting a new crowdfunding campaign for it!
Right in time for Giving Tuesday on the 29th of November, where one can donate to our Global giving platform or directly to the Starfish website.
OpenBike aims to introduce people to the benefits of cycling, teach them to fix their bicycles and help them gain deeper connections with their environment. Since the beginning of May 2022, we have provided two bicycle repair stations available to all. One repair station is in the Reception and Identification Center (RIC) Lesvos, with over 1300 residents and the other is in our community hub called OpenSpace. There is little to no access to learn bicycle mechanics and proper use of bicycles for many of those residing on Lesvos. We address this by offering free assistance to fix bikes and access the right tools as well as to provide workshops to learn bicycle mechanics and bicycle riding lessons. By improving their mechanical skills, we hope they can use those skills to get a job. At its core, OpenBike focuses on recycling and/or upgrading all bicycles by using old refurbished parts which also raises environmental awareness that helps reduce waste. So far, we have managed to fix over 900 bicycles in the camp, with the help of community volunteers, of which 90% of them were not safe for the road. In OpenSpace, we hope to build a permanent workshop where everyone is welcome to come and use the facilities and space.
OpenSpace is becoming a focal point for cyclists all over the island of Lesvos. Starfish hosts a monthly “Bike Day” where cyclists meet up to discuss issues, watch movies, engage in awareness-raising activism or just have a dinner to strengthen communal bonds and solidarity. Through these events where both local Greek and refugees participate, we have created another point of contact between these communities that have stood separate for too long, using the love of cycling as a means to achieve deeper understandings of each other’s cultures, ways of thinking, aspirations and tribulations.
The team at starfish foundation