Jubbling Squared: Bike Works Seattle

Once again my kids are calling me cheap for deciding to purchase my 6 year old a brand new, pre-owned bicycle and I happily made the trip to Recycled Cycles. With a name like “Recycled Cycles,” you’d assume that they would have their way with Jubbling but that is not how it worked out. After making our purchase, I found out from Recycled Cycles that the majority of their sales are for new bikes vs. recycled ones. They were helpful though and told me to contact Bike Works Seattle as an organization that is focused on reselling recycled bikes.

Bike Works is the pinnacle of Jubbling and my only regret is that I didn’t find them first. Bike Works goal is to make biking “more accessible and affordable to people from all walks of life”. Their programs include “Earn-A-Bike” and an annual Kids Bike Swap. With Earn-A-Bike, kids spend 8 weeks learning bike repair and then donate 18 hours of their time repairing recycled bikes to get one of their own. It’s kind of a self-perpetuating Jubbling and is extremely valuable for kids. And Bike Works annual Kids Bike Swap is just that – bring your working, outgrown bicycle and swap it for another bicycle. It’s a great way to upgrade and also to keep a bike out of a landfill.

Their mission statement says it all:

The mission of Bike Works is to build sustainable communities by educating youth and promoting bicycling. For more than a decade we’ve worked to educate and empower youth, and make bicycling accessible and affordable to the Seattle community.

Tina Bechler, Bike Works Program Director, told me that people find out about them through referrals from local bicycle stores, bicycle publications as well as a lot of word of mouth. Tina also told me about several similar organizations in other cities that can be found through the Youth Bicycle Education Network (yben.org). The site is currently down and should be live again soon.

So if you’re in need of some environmental penance and are considering the purchase of a carbon offset or credit to clear your conscience, throw your money toward an organization like Bike Works or a similar organization in your area instead. Or you could show your support by purchasing and making your kid’s next bike a pre-owned, barely loved bicycle. These organizations could use the help and you will have the satisfaction knowing that your money is going to be well spent.


Bike Dispenser: It’s European

Parking a car in a big city is anything but convenient. Public transportation can be over-crowded and the odors inside the subway typically do not mix well with breakfast, lunch or dinner. That’s where some fresh air and Bikedispenser come in.

This Dutch company created a contraption that literally dispenses a bicycle to a paying commuter right on the street. It’s open for business 24/7/365 and no actual human beings are involved in the transaction. The rental device can be customized for a number of settings including railway stations and park-and-ride lots. It can hold 30, 50 or 100 bikes depending upon need. Who would have thought that the country that brought us wooden shoes could make Jubbling so cool?

Although Jubbling staff might’ve injured themselves trying to figure out how the bikes get to the little doorway when someone places an order, the bigger unanswered brainteaser is how the idea would work here in the U.S. Only a few European countries have been using Bike Dispenser since 2007 so little is known about its long-term success or failure.

A similar rental idea using automobiles, called Zipcar, has been successfully operating in North America and some European cities. However, true Jubbling would lend itself to more pedal power and less throttle power. Even though America’s love affair with the car may be hard to break we can see this starting in already biker friendly cities like Seattle, Denver, Portland and Washington D.C. The only other enhancement would be to make them graffiti-proof. We suggest Brooklyn, NY, for a test city.


ecoATM: Where Jubbling Meets Capitalism

A guy walks into a bar with a pile of crap in his hands and he says to the bartender – “look at what I almost stepped in!”

ecoATM WebsiteSan Diego, CA  10/1/2009 – I’m not sure how to classify this new Jubbling concept out of ecoATM.  It’s founded on “green” ideals that we need to automate our processes for recycling old electronics and specifically cell phones.  Great idea.  But the best way ecoATM decided to do this was through a large ATM being placed in a retail space and I think that is where they’ve lost me and some of their Jubbling.  Their goal is admirable but the delivery system they’ve created, the actual ecoATM, is truly “back-assward” and seems to defeat the purpose of what it’s trying to do and that is to be Jubbling.

One of the team members, Seth Heine, founded two other companies for recycling cellphones – Collective Good and GreenPhone.com.  Both sites operate on the same principles as NextWorth and handle your cellphone recycling via the mail.  So why make the move to ecoATM?  I’m not really sure but the only ecoATM advantage of the ecoATM system is that it might get more traffic and recycle more phones due to our high immediate need to receive value for an old cellphone.  The irony is that it might also be a good way to fence a stolen cellphone.

Now I don’t want to bash ecoATM too much because again, it’s Jubbling and I’m hoping the founders intentions were noble and rooted in doing something positive.  It looks like Seth Heine has been Jubbling for a while but I’m not sure of his compadres on the ecoATM team; all smarter than me, but they seem to be standing behind the “green” movement like it’s a corporate shield.   I can only imagine what their executive meetings are like when you bring a group together made up of members looking at the “collective good” sitting across from members who are all about the bottomline.

I am willing to offer my help, unpaid as usual, to the folks at ecoATM for future versions of their product.  We’ll call it ecoATM .2 and it will consist of a cardboard box with a person standing in it holding a pad of post-its, a pen, 12 potted saplings and a paper garbage bag for your cell phone.  ecoATM .2 will go through a week of training on the cellphones they’ll take back and what they’re worth.  If your phone has value, you’ll get a store credit from our guy.  If not, you’ll get a sapling.

Check out their website for when an ecoATM [or ecoATM .2] will be in your area and see what you think. It’s seems to be kind of a Jubbling oxymoron and for now, I’m sticking with NextWorth until I’m proven wrong.  They’ll recycle/reuse more than just cellphones and they seem to have a more effective business model.


Jubbling: Riding the bus with kid(s)

Harry using his binoculars to find Bus 71

Harry using his binoculars to find Bus 71

The thought of standing at a dirty bus stop in the city with 1 or more kids does not sound very inviting but I think everyone should give mass transit another try.  It really is a great way to travel in and out of the city and the negative thought of standing at the “dirty bus stop” will turn out to be a great experience for the kids. For my trip, I had to hire my 6-year old son Harry and our goal was to hop on the bus in Downtown Seattle and travel to Wedgewood.  Harry was up for the challenge and had a lot of questions and comments including, “why can’t we drive?” and “dad – I think you’re just cheap”.  I sat the boy down and explained to him, in crayon, the idea of Jubbling and how it will one day play a significant role in his life.  He understood everything I told him, gave me a thumbs up and still concluded that I chose to ride the bus because I was cheap.  I can live with that.

Harry Glued to the Window

Harry Glued to the Window

Back to the trip. The first thing you have to do is tell your kid what bus # you are waiting for and in our case, it was bus 71.  The crowd at the bus stop was a good mix of everything – even a person with the cat on their shoulder.  It’s easy to see why 30 minutes of waiting will fly by as we checked every bus that went by until ours arrived. We climbed aboard and headed out.  Again, there was a lot to see and Harry was glued to the window and since I wasn’t driving, it was easy to point out the places in Seattle that we could go back to and doorways I’ve slept in.  Once we arrived at our destination, we spent some time in Wedgewood eventually hopped on the same bus, #71, and headed back to the big city.  On the return trip, Harry had mastered the old school bus rider technique of sleeping sitting up and he stayed asleep until we arrived back in Seattle.

Here are some tips for riding the bus with kids:

  • Go to the bathroom before you get on the bus.
  • Bring snacks or a lunch.
  • Get a transfer just in case you have to get off the bus.
  • Go to the bathroom before you get on the bus. (If you missed it the first time.)
Harry waiting for the bus home.

Harry waiting for the bus home.

We didn’t have to ride the bus and it’s not as convenient as driving but atleast now, my son knows there is another way to get around.  He looks forward to the next trip and even told me what bus numbers he wanted to ride next.  What was amazing to me was how well behaved Harry was on the bus and how his sister and brother were when they took the bus with me in the past. I think they feel like they’re on a school bus and they have to follow the rules.

At the end of our adventure, I had to ask Harry if he had fun and he told me “yes, I did have fun today.  But dad, I still love mommy more.”


Extreme Jubbling

If all Jubbling fails, this is the result. Thanks Eric.


TOMS Shoes – There is a Jubbling Gosh!

So many copy and so few truly innovate. Blake Mycoskie is a true Jubbling pioneer and came up with the idea of TOMS Shoes while traveling in Argentina in 2006 and noticing how many kids ran around barefoot. The dilemma was that in rural parts of Argentina, you had to wear shoes to attend school so some kids were not only barefoot but they were uneducated too. Blake returned to the US, sold his business and started TOMS Shoes with the idea that if you buy one pair of TOMS Shoes, they’ll donate another pair to a kid in a developing country. The shoes have either rubber or rope soles and are modeled after the Alpargata shoes worn by Argentine farmers. In addition to rope soles, TOMS Shoes are also made from renewable materials including canvas and cotton.

The best way to order TOMS shoes is online through TOMSShoes.com.  TOMS Shoes are in the $50 range and at this point with Jubbling, I’m not sure if we’re going to buy first or receive. I see my kids running around barefoot and I’m afraid Blake Mycoskie and his crew might show up at my house with shoes for my kids before I can become a customer. I hope they don’t put the video on their website.