History E-mail

In August 2005, Norm Julian, in his regular column in the Dominion Post, wrote about a cyclist he had seen in busy traffic. The cyclist had no fear of auto traffic or the outrageous (at the time) prospect of $3/gallon gas - the article was titled "Putting a Positive Spin on $3/gallon gas". This inspired John Lozier and Nick Hein to start a community bike shop that would help anyone learn how to ride for transporation. John Lozier had a background in community activism and was a long-time resident. Nick Hein, a recent arrival, had experience at the Seattle community bikeshop BikeWorks.

A week later, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, and the mission changed to bike recycling for disaster relief. Many of the storm refugees had been moved to Camp Dawson with no transportation or family activities. At the same time, an organization called “Morgantown Cares" had been collecting relief supplies at the Morgantown Armory to meet the needs of displaced residents and storm victims who remained in the Gulf Coast region. By the time bikes could be gathered for the Camp residents, the Army had moved them out so the 200 collected bikes were sent directly to the storm-affected regions. Fifty kids' bikes were shipped to a relief center by “Feed the Children” and 85 adult bikes were taken directly to “Plan B” community bike shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Afterward there were still bikes coming in so in donated space Positive Spin was officially chartered as a non-profit (501(c)3) corporation with Will Ravenscroft, John Lozier and Nick Hein as founding board members and executives. In addition to his own qualifications and experience, Will Ravenscroft had connections to Working Bikes in Chicago who gave much emotional and material support during the formation.

Since its founding Positive Spin has received approximately 1000 bikes/year in donations. Many are repaired to provide affordable transportation for anyone who needs or wants it. The rest are shipped overseas where affordable basic transportation is needed. Bikes that can't be repaired are stripped for useable parts and the remaining scrap metal is recycled.

In the first few years of Positive Spin's existence, our mission has expanded from charity and bike recycling to supporting sustainable transportation of all forms – walking, biking, bus and carpooling – to make Morgantown a nicer place for everyone. Included in our charter are bike safety/maintenance education, government action and educating all citizens about ways that transportation can change to make the city livable again.

In 2009 Positive Spin became a fulltime operation. In 2010 we moved to our new location in Marilla Park, next to the Deckers Creek Rail-Trail, combining our office, warehouse, shop and showrooms into a single 12,000sf facility where we now serve several hundred local citizens every year. Proceeds from bikes, parts and repairs support our operation. This past Christmas we donated about 120 bikes to area Toy Drives and Chrismas angel programs. We seek grant funding, private donations and commercial opportunities that can sustain our mission for sustainable transportation in Morgantown.