Ebike at curbside

Part 1 of this post is for Daytona Beach locals. Part 2 is for everybody interested in local resilience and community economics.

Curb alert! 1 block south of Main St. On Harvey Avenue between South Oleander & South Hollywood. (Photos: Bike with a handwritten tag attached saying FREE! E-asst doesn’t work most of the time.)

I don’t know anybody who would know how to fix this but if someone does, it’s a free bike for you or one of your friends/neighbors. (*UPDATE! Good news, soon after I posted this in my neighborhood watch Facebook group, a neighbor said he wants it because he at least needs the parts to fix the ebike that he already has. Yay!)

It struck me that one measure of the social cohesion and economic resilience of a community is how long “free stuff” and “trash” sits out before someone finds potential value in it and takes it away. This ebike has been sitting out for 48 hours and counting. Apparently even the bicycle chop-shop guys don’t want it.

Another dimension of this is that being dependent on electric power is a vulnerability when it comes to personal transport. Also, being dependent on parts and machinery that are not likely to be able to be improvise-replicated DIY using duct tape, baling wire, or other good old-fashioned workarounds.

On the topic of stuff, trash, and value: Not long ago I met a woman whose husband is from a Caribbean island. She told me that the beach there is always picked clean of trash because people always find a use for even the seemingly lowliest item. People make crafts out of old bags and junk.

In some neighborhoods, such as maybe in Saint Petersburg or Austin where bicycle-repair collectives exist, there might be the neighborhood social infrastructure to know what to do with this bike.

Yet another component is the degree of affluence of a neighborhood. Our neighborhood tends to extremes: extremely wealthy — as in their house in this neighborhood is just, like, their fourth vacation cottage or something — and extremely low-income. The latter people would be more likely to want to fix up a discarded bike, if they have the skills and the physical capacity to be able to make use of it. It’s possible that if this were just a conventional bike and not an electric bike, it would’ve been picked up by now.

Well, if nothing else, the scrappers are likely to get it. They typically come around the neighborhood in their big, handy old pickup truck on Sunday afternoons or evenings.

A simple bike left at a curbside. Yet there are so many dimensions!

How long would something like this sit around in your neighborhood? Any other thoughts on curbside treasures and trash as a measure of neighborhood economics, community resilience?


LATER ON, SAME DAY: Great news from my neighbor who got the bike: “Cleaned the battery terminal connections and cleaned out a bunch of sand from the battery connection box and it works great. This was a GREAT score.”


One thing worth noting is that the bike sat out for 48 hours until I posted it on Facebook. Then it was claimed within minutes. This does not always happen so quickly; I have sometimes posted some kind of request or announcement and not heard from anyone for a day, or multiple days … or at all. Still, it’s worth noting.

Social media are part of local/neighborhood resilience too, at least for the foreseeable future. The amount of time I would’ve had to spend running around my neighborhood seeing if anyone was interested in the bike would’ve been prohibitive.

Even phoning/texting around would’ve been a lot of work, and people might’ve felt pestered and singled out — as I myself often feel when somebody wants to palm off unwanted junk on me. A social-media post targeted to a relevant local group can be the best of both worlds in situations like this.

Also regarding social media: Many people in the Degrowth / collapse-aware groups, permaculture groups, low-footprint, anticonsumerist groups, etc., are prone to saying things like: “Well, the people who are really doing it right aren’t on social media. Aren’t online at all.”

I heartily must disagree. Connectivity is key to building a sustainable culture. People who choose to be offline are not necessarily more sustainable, if all they are doing is reinventing the wheel and burning up all their cognitive energy and physical energy just growing potatoes or something.

I’m not trying to shame people who choose to stay isolated from social media or not even be online at all. (And growing potatoes is a worthy endeavor!) I’m just saying that’s not on the whole what’s going to save us right now.

What might save us is sharing skills, information, opportunities, and emotional support.

Utilizing online connection is one thing that I might term — to use a permaculture design concept — appropriate technology. Human beings are technology-devising and technology-using creatures, and an appropriate technology is one that conserves the resources and creates beneficial relationships, and, over the long term, allows us collectively to make meaningful steps on the path to a regenerative society.