The Bike Clinic has nearly put itself out of business.
The Billings-based nonprofit has repaired or given away nearly 5,000 bicycles and taught hundreds of children to perform minor maintenance over its 11-year existence, and over that time it has inspired several other organizations to join the effort.
The Bike Clinic serves its community by providing free bike repair service and fix-a-flat clinics to low-income children during annual events at the beginning of summer. The Bike Clinic has announced that the 2015 event, during which more than 200 bicycles were repaired at three area locations, will be its last.
Attendance at the annual events has declined over the past three years, a trend that Program Director Julie Rodda attributes to increasing communitywide efforts from other service organizations, local businesses, and children who were initially helped by the clinic.
In 2012 a group of Riverside Middle School students formed a club that provides minor bicycle repair for other students, the Spoke Shop provides free repairs at area Title I schools, and the Kiwanis club has introduced bike repair services to their traveling bike rodeo events.
Because the need still exists, Bike Clinic partners will continue to provide bike repair services on an intermittent basis but will no longer hold a city wide event day. The Bike Clinic leadership has been engaging in many conversations with partners throughout the community for redistribution of extra bike repair supplies.
The Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation began supporting the Bike Clinic in 2008, and Rodda credits advice from Foundation Executive Director Mike Halligan for challenging the Bike Clinic to think bigger. With a legacy of inspiring other organizations to take up the charge and largely solving a Billings need, the Bike Clinic has clearly succeeded.
The Bike Clinic is on Facebook. The Facebook page will be kept up as a source of information for people have bikes to donate or are in need of one.