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Nonprofit helps Tucson community find sustainable transportation

Local+nonprofit+BICAS+is+located+just+north+of+Downtown+Tucson.+The+organization+sells+reduced-cost+bike+parts+and+hosts+many+community+events+such+as+free+weekly+Art+Corners%2C+the+Youth+Earn-a-Bike+program+and+Femme+rides.+
Sierra Blaser
Local nonprofit BICAS is located just north of Downtown Tucson. The organization sells reduced-cost bike parts and hosts many community events such as free weekly Art Corners, the Youth Earn-a-Bike program and Femme rides.

About two miles from campus exists a small shop full of recycled bicycle parts, donated and refurbished bikes and art made from recycled parts.

Bicycle Inter-Community Art & Salvage, more commonly known as BICAS, is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the Tucson community find affordable and sustainable transportation. The organization heavily relies on donations of items to sell at a lower price or money to provide a variety of programs on how to fix a bicycle or make art from recycled parts.

BICAS started in 1989 and was originally called Bootstraps to Share of Tucson. The organization focused on sustainable transportation as a basic need and determined that its greatest resolution was to provide recycled bicycles and the skills needed to maintain them. 

The nonprofit was underground both figuratively and literally, as it used to be in the basement of a warehouse. However, in 2017, it moved to its current location just north of Downtown Tucson.

The organization provides volunteer opportunities for anyone who needs hours for school, a club, per court order or just for fun.

“We have our volunteers help out with things like administrative tasks or grant writing,” said Joselyn Aguilar, the organization’s outreach coordinator. “At events, we also have volunteers help us out with loading and unloading or help us with the activities themselves.”

BICAS also provides a work-trade opportunity for customers to work for credit if they cannot afford to buy parts or a bike themselves. In 2022, over 42 bikes were earned through the Earn-A-Bike program.

“They get $16 per hour of store credit that can be put towards any of the used items in the shop,” said Jaden Salama, a BICAS employee.

Salama said one of his favorite parts of working for BICAS is being able to aid in providing low-income Tucsonans with a way to get places.

“I really believe in bikes as a tool of revolution and as a sustainable transportation system,” Salama said. “So I really appreciate that we can provide those services to the public, especially like houseless folks or people who just don’t have any money.”

In addition to these services, BICAS holds frequent events for the community to join a space that is inclusive and accessible. Some of these events include a Women/Trans*/Femme Ride on the last Monday of every month, Youth Earn-a-Bike program during school breaks and a weekly Art Corner from 3-6 p.m. every Thursday.

BICAS has a strong art background,” said Tony Zepeda, the organization’s art director. “The Art Corner has been here since BICAS has been around. We invite the public to come and check out the space.”

The Art Corners are free to attend for all, and masks are requested.

For more information on the nonprofit, visit BICAS’ website and Instagram.


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