Reliance Foundry Builds Community with Bike Stand Program
Featured guest post by Kimberly Parker on local company Reliance Foundry and their "Take a Stand for Cycling" campaign which provided free bikes stands to non-proifts, schools and community groups.
Over the past decade, bicycle manufacturers have enjoyed the benefits of a society that seeks to be healthier, more environmentally conscious, and money-wise. With the increased focus on building a “greener” planet, more people are returning to bicycling for commuting, around-town transportation, hobby, and sport.
However, bicycle travel doesn’t do much good if you do not have a place to securely park your bike when you arrive. Knowing this, many companies, schools, campuses and residences have dedicated space for bicycle racks and, in some cases, even offer benefits for employees and customers who choose cycling over driving.
Bike stands are important. Parking bikes against trees, signposts, meters or anything not made for cycling risks damaging property and increases the chance that the bike won’t be there when you return. Cyclists need quality bike racks available wherever they need to store their bikes - with multiple locking positions, and ones that are tough to cut through so that a bike can be securely attached.
Reliance Foundry is a Vancouver area family owned business that has worked in the metals business for 85 years. They even produced lamp standards back in the early 1930s that can still be seen with their name cast on the surface in Gastown (Vancouver). Many of the products they offer provide an element of safety -- to drivers, to pedestrians, and for properties. Safety and building communities are important values for Reliance. As street and parking safety became greater concerns, road and landscape bollards became one of their main product lines. In more recent times, by adding arms to their bollard products, Reliance Foundry began offering “bike bollards,” which rapidly expanded into a larger offering of bicycle parking stands, racks and lockers.
Last month, Reliance launched a campaign to provide free bicycle parking stands to community groups, schools, and churches who requested them. Reliance’s “Take A Stand for Cycling” campaign allowed non-profit and community groups to simply put in a request for free bike stands. Reliance’s stock for this campaign was almost completely gone within 30 days.
“Our family has a long history in this industry, now spanning 4 generations,” Vice President Brad Done said. “While serving our customers with quality products over the years, Reliance has provided beneficial employment for many people coupled with positive financial contributions to the economy. When my brother and I assumed control of the company, we took on the opportunity to build it into something even more positive. We are grateful that our recent success provides us with the resources and ability to make efforts in the community such as the free bike rack give-away.”
Although bike racks were distributed to various schools and community-service organizations throughout Canada and the United States, the majority of requests came from groups within the Vancouver area. The Green Thumb Theatre is one of the charitable organizations that received 4 bike stands from Reliance Foundry.
The Green Thumb Theatre also has a strong commitment to building families; in particular to children, youth and young adults. They create and produce plays that explore social issues and complexities relevant to young peoples’ lives. They travel across Canada performing in schools, leaving behind a stirring of empathy, debate and critical thinking.
Kari Gunderson of Green Thumb Theatre said that the free bike racks from Reliance will be used outside of their creative centre in Vancouver. This centre is not just a place where the Green Thumb members rehearse; it is a future site for a training school for youth to learn positive skills.
Kari said, “Our vision is for the space to be a place for youth to learn acting, play writing, directing, costume design, set design and more. It is also a place where other community groups can rehearse or gather. Providing bike stands is an important part of this, because of our focus on youth. Young people ride bikes and need a secure place to lock them.
“This campaign helped us tremendously. We are a non-profit and are fundraising to make our vision for the space a reality. Every bit helps.”
Green Thumb Theatre is just one of the many community groups that received free bike stands as part of Reliance Foundry’s “Take A Stand For Cycling” campaign.
“We were surprised at the quick success of this effort,” Vice President Brad Done said, “our original hope was to find a good use for our current overstock of bike stands, but given the overwhelming positive feedback we received, we likely will now make this an annual event - possibly even over-stocking popular bike rack models in preparation for a future community-service give-away.”
Can communities grow stronger with the addition of more bike racks? Reliance thinks so. They certainly will continue to do their part to find out.
If you need secure, creative bike parking options, please check out Reliance Foundry's bike parking website.