Meet our Clients
In this section we’d like to present the community members and organizations that agreed to be a part of our first run of proto-type cargo bicycles and enter into a partnership with us. We would like to do this in order to introduce you to them and their stories as individuals who live in Los Angeles and contextualize them alongside how our cargo bicycle fits into their lives. Our goal in doing this is to present, in qualitative form, the impact we have had thus far with the work we have been able to do.
A note: as of writing 1.3.22 the full list of all our clients are not present on the website. We are still working to gather our data in order to translate them into the formats that you see here. Thank you for your patience!
Devin, Jessica, Eli, Charlie and Adelina, Bike Oriented Family, The Mom Tank Cargo Bike.
Two parents that live at the LA Eco-Village, Devin and Jessica are devoted cyclists that have gone out of their way for much of their careers as parents trying to use bicycles to get around their world with their children. It gets complicated, often more difficult than its worth in a car addicted landscape like Los Angeles. Often they resorted to using a car because it’s what one does when you have kids in this city. You have to take them to school, bring them to the market with you etc and with the task of taking care of three youngins on top of it all, anyone would go for the path of least resistance.
It should not have to come to this. In places like Amsterdam, parts of Finland etc, transporting kids by bicycle is very common for a lot of reasons, but one very important reason is because bicycling itself is a widely accepted form of transportation. And because of that, cargo bicycles specifically designed for transporting a gaggle of young children are much more available.
Jessica and Devin approached their neighbor Jimmy about what it would take to get a cargo bicycle through Re:Ciclos and we were more than happy to collaborate. For our founder, Jimmy, having a cargo bicycle when his son was young was transformative and allowed him to continue the bicycling way of life without compromising time and mobility with his son. Making a cargo bike for Devin and Jessica’s family was exactly what Re:Ciclos was founded to do.
The Long Jane style cargo bicycle we built for Jessica and her family is the most heavy duty cargo bicycle we have made thus far. We designed it to carry 3 to 4 children inside the cargo bay, and it is fitted with a 1,000 watt pedal-assist motor to make regular, long trips with their kids more possible. This cargo bike is really special to us, so we made sure that all its parts (from the integrity of the frame to the wheels) were as heavy duty and reliable. Also a part of our mission is to include artistic expression and aesthetic appreciation of bicycles whenever possible. We commissioned famous LA muralist Cache (well known for his chickens that are all over the city) to paint the bike and add some of his iconic art to the outside walls of the cargo bay. Of all of our bikes so far, this one encapsulates most everything we are trying to do, and why we love the potential of cargo bikes.
After some time with the bike, Jessica and Devin came back to us with some feedback about how it handles and requests for changes. This is an integral part of our process, especially in this first year of funding for our program. Feedback about how to make our bikes better for our community is fundamental in cementing cargo bicycle technology in our culture. At the time of writing we are still making modifications to The Mom Tank, as we have come to call it, and we will continue to tweak our designs until we have an approach that works for everyone, not just the hard-core bicycle enthusiast. That’s one reason we were founded: to transition LA out of a car addicted, congested and polluted landscape, one bike at a time.
Nora, Eco-Village Neighbor and Re:Ciclos 2022 Fundraiser Raffle Winner!!!
Nora’s bike build is a very unique one for us because she arrived as one of our clients by way of the fundraiser we hosted in collaboration with No More Ghost Bikes and in Solidarity with Bici Libre in October 2022. Rather than being a person we identified from direct community outreach or coming to us to inquire about obtaining a cargo bike, Nora was invited by one of her neighbors to our fundraiser by chance and won one of the raffle items. For one of the raffles we had, we offered up the chance to win a custom built cargo bicycle by us. Nora saw this entry and, admittedly not knowing much about bicycles, or cargo bikes for that matter, was intrigued and among all of the other hopeful participants, won.
This presented yet another exciting opportunity to us because while prior to the fundraiser Nora had no aspirations to use a bicycle for her daily needs, let alone own her own cargo capable bicycle, she saw the work we did and saw a potential tool for herself which motivated her to enter the raffle. Now Nora is very excited to receive her custom built CycleTruck beach cruiser and she expressed a lot of excitement to have a bike she can consistently use to go to the market, go on bike rides with and more as she discovers its uses.
As we have stated elsewhere, we are most excited to conduct outreach and building bicycles for people and organizations within our underserved communities who may not have had an interest in using bicycles for daily needs before. Or at least have not seen the opportunity for bicycles to fill the role a car does for the majority of life’s daily needs. Nora is an amazing opportunity for us in the regard and we are so very excited to follow up with Nora after some time with her bike to see how it is working out for her in her newfound bike life.
Bea Miller, Fixie Truck, Former Re:Ciclos Fabrication Coordinator and Master Tall Bike Builder
Bea Miller is a good friend of the original Re:ciclos staff and a huge part of the freak bike/tall bike culture and community of Los Angeles. At the beginning of the project before funding from the Energy Foundation, Bea volunteered to collaborate with Jimmy and Aiden in building the Long Jane style cargo bike, Rosey for Ayla. Part of this journey can be seen in the video on our homepage by Ryan Mekenian. So when funding came through and the Re:Ciclos project seemed to finally find its legs, Bea was brought on as our very first Fabrication coordinator.
Bea’s long experience with structural welding and passion for building tall bikes and teaching her friends how to build tall bikes in peoples art studios and backyards, made her the obvious choice for this project. Most of the bikes viewable on this page were designed and made by her, so it can be said that she was instrumental in starting this project by developing and passing along the methods and approaches she used in construction of the variety Re:Ciclos cargo bikes she built.
In our prototyping stage, she built for herself a Cycle Truck style cargo bicycle with the special touch of building it around a fixed geared bicycle. Fixed geared bicycles, aka Fixies, are a mainstay of bicycle cultures around the world and maintain their cult status by way of their unique form of riding. Without a multitude of gears and a capacity to coast, fixies force their rider into very intimate forms of riding that are hard to describe without riding one yourself. Sufficient to say, Bea built a very unique cycle truck.
While no longer with the project, Bea still uses her Fixie Truck, as we came to call it, in Portland, Oregon for most of her errand running needs. The simplicity and capability of her fixie truck represents an approach to cargo bikes that can be very well suited to seasoned cyclists that still offers the very practical ability to get everyday needs met. Bea’s fixies truck, and Bea herself, are very unique creations indeed. Photos by Hal Bergman
Raquel Valencia, Mr T
Raquel is a part of the LA bike community and longtime friend of the Los Angeles Ecovillage who came to us looking for a cargo bike in order to replace their car for most of their daily transportation and errand needs. Which is exactly why we want to build cargo bikes for the community. We have a sense that there are a lot of people that would happily use a bike for their daily needs if they had a bike that could serve more of what they need. The barrier of entry for cargo bicycles is huge in Los Angeles because they are not already widely available as a viable alternative to car dependency, among other reasons. That gap between needs and viable alternatives is exactly what we are trying to bridge.
Among other needs is storage space for bicycles which, as we have touched on elsewhere, can be very difficult in certain living situations, which is why we built a Mr. T style cargo bike for Raquel. Raquel wants a cargo bike for doing grocery runs, helping her mother with errands, retrieving linear materials such as fire rodes and fuel for her performance art as well as using the bike for most of her transportation needs. She also needs to be able to store the bike inside of her apartment, and so we felt that this particular model of cargo bike we landed on fits all of her needs rather well.
Building this bike in particular was a special experience in the amount of direct involvement the client wanted to have in its construction. Raquel was very excited to paint her own bike and was passionate about assembling all of the mechanical components herself. All of the Re:Ciclos staff has decades of collective bicycle mechanic teaching experience and we were so very happy to aid Raquel in that aspect of the bike build. So in the final product pictured here, all of the mechanical components were assembled, installed and tuned by Raquels hand with guidance from all of the Re:ciclos staff at one point or another.
In the wider bicycle mechanic culture of Los Angeles and beyond, the issue of making space for non-white cis males in all of our workshops is an on-going problem. Though it is a small dent in that problem, giving space for Raquel to build up her own bike is a win and we are excited for more of our femme, non-gender conforming and BIPOC clients who have not had the opportunity to learn mechanics, to find space within our space to do so. Thank you Raquel for your hard work and decision to opt for one less car. We look forward to following up with her and updating her profile with the experience of having a cargo bike for most of her daily needs.
Jamie Penn, Mr. T, Building Manager of LA-EcoVillage, Chair of Neighborhood Council
Jamie is building manager for the LA-EcoVillage nestled in a neighborhood of Koreatown. The Eco-village has a legacy of establishing alternative community structures within urban settings while focusing on experimenting and implementing more ecologically sustainable community practices. Among other projects: they incubated the Los Angeles Bicycle Kitchen over twenty years ago, and it houses/fiscally sponsors Re:Ciclos, today.
Aside from being building manager for the Eco Village, she also serves as chairman for her neighborhood council, maintains a consistent presence in “K-Town For All,” and other community mutual aid projects. She inquired with us about a cargo bike initially because she could envision how a cargo bike could play a pivotal role in all of her community based activities. From running to the hardware store for eco-village repairs, to making trips to neighborhood council meetings or doing water drops with K-Town For All. When choosing community members we want to work with, we try to take stock of the values and motivations of inquirers and see if they align with our own and help push forward the movement towards mobility equity (and equity in a general sense) in our city. We do NOT want to make cargo bikes for people who could very easily afford to go out and buy one and/or view a cargo bike as anything less than a legitimate and prioritized mode of transportation. This applies to all of the community members we have worked with and very much so with Jamie and what she does.
Throughout her six months time with one of our Mr. T style cargo bikes, she has regularly come back to us with input about her experience with the bike: what works, what does not work etc. This has been really helpful for us because it allows us the opportunity to reassess our approaches and make critical changes that improves the overall comfortability and (more importantly) the usability of our cargo bikes for all sorts of people and, especially, non”bike-people.” Bike people, in other words, people who have already dedicated a lot of their time to riding all sorts of bikes for both transportation and leisure. As Jamie is not one who would consider themselves a “bike-person” this was an important opportunity to serve our community in a hyper specific way. That is, take input and make changes that make using a cargo bike for most daily activities as accessible as possible. Which is of major importance in achieving a less car dependent future.
Lou T Cervantes, Long Tail, Barista
Lou T Cervantes, they/them/elle, is a multimedia artist and fabricator from Oxnard, CA currently living in Los Angeles, CA. They became in touch with the Re:Ciclos project through the greater bicycle community of Los Angeles in which they have been a part for almost two years. Lou made the transition to Los Angeles to live in the community which shared their interest in working with salvaged and recycled materials to make art and other practical necessities.
“Trash Art” as an overarching movement can be found in broad strokes across Los Angeles as more and more people resonate with the resistance to reduce the amount of stuff being unnecessarily produced and dumped into the earth. This sentiment is especially felt in the bicycle advocacy scene of Los Angeles which has a history of restoring and reintroducing bicycle “trash” into a new life cycle as a useful tool. Re:Ciclos as a natural evolution of that philosophy met at a common ideological grounding with Lou, which concluded in a mutually beneficial partnership.
Lou received our first ever foray into the Long Tail style cargo bicycle. The Long Tail style takes a regular bicycle, and adds an elongated backend and a built-in rack (See What is a cargo bike for more information on the Long Tail). One of their motivations for requesting a bike from us is the desire to use their car less. Which, for us, is the highest goal. And since they’ve gotten their Long Tail, that has been their experience. Since receiving their cargo bike, they expressed a sense of relief that comes with the capacity to bring more with them on their daily commutes and errand runs. Transporting a days worth of goods is less of a concern with a cargo bike than it is with a regular bicycle and the result is that Lou has used their bike more for daily activities but also, it has relieved them of a great deal of stress of doing any amount of their errands or commutes by bicycle. Which is an underrated but wonderfully received piece of feedback.
Lou uses their Long Tail to commute to their dayjob as a Barista at a popular third-wave coffee bar, but also utilizes their bicycle as a platform for collecting salvaged materials to use in their art. In the urban LA landscape, materials with great reusable potential are strewn throughout. Armed with their bicycle flying through the streets, stumbling on a great cache of trash for their art is transformed from a veritable series of “what-if’s” into an actuality of acquisition. Lou’s bike has allowed them to do more of what they already do in Los Angeles, but in the mode of transportation they most prefer, the bicycle.
Ayla Stern, Long Jane, Elementary School Teacher
Ayla Stern is a teacher at a Humanistic Elementary School in Los Angeles CA. Originally from Reseda in the San Fernando Valley, she first started using a bicycle as her primary mode of transportation while living in Santa Cruz during college. She also became involved in the bicycle co-op movement in the area and experienced bicycle touring for the first time. She came to appreciate the sense of empowerment and community involvement that bicycles can bring.
After moving back to Los Angeles and re-experiencing it on a bicycle, Ayla developed a new appreciation for the city. She loved the sense of connectedness she felt while biking through different neighborhoods and the supportive and fun community of cyclists and activists that she became involved with.
Ayla helped start a bike co-op in the valley called The Valley Bikery. The Bikery was a volunteer collective that provided low-cost DIY repair, instruction, and community rides and events until 2015. She also served on the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee for several years, advocating for safer, more connected infrastructure in her district in the San Fernando Valley and in LA as a whole.
These days Ayla uses her bike primarily to commute to work and get around town. She also enjoys supporting cycling among the children and families at the school where she works.
Ayla was very excited to be approached by Re:Ciclos about receiving a cargo bicycle due to her long standing history as a cyclist and riding advocate in the city. It was also an opportunity for our first youth intern, Aden, to take leadership on a client project. We built a Long Jane style cargo bike (see what is a cargo bike for more details on Long Janes) which we painted pink and dubbed Rosy. After having the bike for about a year Ayla decided to purchase an electric motor for it and sell her car. Now she uses her cargo bicycle for all the errands and tasks that she previously used her car for – things involving carrying large loads or traveling further distances than she might wish to do on her regular bike.
Aside from bicycles, Ayla enjoys Jiu Jitsu, Capoeira, cooking, baking, fermenting and is passionate about earthen building. One of the most unusual things she has transported in her cargo bike is a big mound of dirt that she was given by a construction site while building a cob oven.
Ayla’s story is a very exciting one for us at Re:Ciclos because it represents all of our hopes and dreams for what our project hopes to achieve: the accessibility of cargo bicycles as a mode of transportation that can fundamentally change the way people move through their city…. and a way to replace the use of a car.
Louis Elkner-Alfaro, MR.T, Web Developer
Louis Elker-Alfaro, 29, is a web developer and programmer originally from DC, who moved to Los Angeles in March 2021. He became involved in our project as a client when our director Jimmy saw Louis leaving a community garden near the Los Angeles Eco-Village where he volunteers in his spare time. He was riding his bicycle with a mere front rack, loaded to the brim (and thensome) with various tools and garden supplies. The garden is directly across the street from the Re:Ciclos worksop and Jimmy invited Louis over to check out what we do and see if he was interested in a Cargo Bicycle. Given what he just saw, he figured Louis could surely use one.
Unlike some of our other clients and collaborators, Louis would not consider himself a part of the bicycle community of Los Angeles. This is important to note because the movement Re:Ciclos and other bicycle advocates want to foment is not intentionally exclusive for people who consider themselves “cyclists.” In intentionally serving communities and individuals who would not consider themselves “cyclists,” we begin to bridge the gap between the current trend of cycling as a niche sub culture and cycling as a widely spread accepted form of transportation. Which is the ultimate goal.
Louis works from home as a web developer for a worker co-op of programmers, graphic designers and other web developers who specialize in working with nonprofits to help build their websites. Unlike a lot of people who commute somewhere for work, Louis does not have that need. Instead he uses his bicycle for after work errands, mostly the grocery store. What’s interesting about this is how different this use of a cargo bicycle is compared to other forms of cycling where it is a main mode of transportation or a lifestyle. Unlike others, Louis uses his bike when he needs to go to the store. Like many people who use their car, or possibly walk with a hand cart (as Louis used to do) for these kinds of errands, Louis is demonstrating how a cargo bike can easily replace the car for most of life’s daily activities.
Louis’s overall bicycling has not increased all that much since getting one of our cargo bikes. Now he uses his bicycle for grocery runs instead of walking with a hand cart. Although this may not seem that much, it’s a wonderful example of how a cargo bike can be adapted to one’s life in a way that improves one’s capacity for daily activities without having to change your entire lifestyle and become a “cyclist,” whatever that means. Besides going to the store, Louis now has a much more pleasant time transporting his tools to the garden, and with the additional rear platform of his Mr. T style bicycle (see What Is A Cargo Bike[link to subdropdown MR.T for more details), it is also easy to bring compost from his house to the garden. All without the need for a car.
Besides work and volunteering, Louis enjoys going on walks, cooking, baking and brewing beer. His work keeps him very busy and so he admits he keeps his daily activities within a 3 mile radius of his neighborhood. In fact, in getting to know our organization and its development, he learned WE could use web development services and began volunteering for our organization. If you are reading this, then you have Louis to thank for that. Thank you Louis!!