(This post was written by Resident Staff Member/Ropes Course Coordinator Joe Kiefer.)
If you’ve ever been to Camp Stevens, you’re probably familiar with the winding road that goes from the parking lot to the lodges and the dining hall. It’s not a long road but it has a great view of Volcan Mountain and it gets used almost every hour of the day. A staff member working on various projects might travel back and forth ten or fifteen times during the course of the day, often with various supplies and tools in tow. The challenge becomes: how can a staff member efficiently move around camp without dedicating most of a day to walking back and forth on the road?
Camp Stevens owns a couple of trucks, but they are often being used for bigger projects or harvesting at our farm. When you start to factor in fuel costs and their emissions, it makes sense to minimize the use of the trucks too. Thankfully, we have a sustainable and cost effective option to keep the camp running and utilize human power…Bicycles.
With a working fleet of twenty or so bikes, our staff always has an easy way to get around the camp and get things done. Ranging from road bikes to mountain bikes to beach cruisers; our fleet is a ragtag bunch of personal and camp bikes that have to be ready to deal with anything. Recently, we also acquired a utility tricycle that we’ve been using to transport heavier supplies as well.
When a motor vehicle stops working, we often have to take it somewhere to be repaired. With bicycles, we can do it ourselves—lately I’ve taken a personal interest in learning about bike maintenance and repair and the “Camp Stevens bike shop” is often open to keep all of these pedal powered machines running. When we talk about sustainability at Camp Stevens, we are often thinking about things we can do to reduce our reliance on external resources and strive for self-sufficiency. Doing our own bike repairs are a small way we can do that.
Also in the pipeline is a plan for a bike trailer that could be used for outreach in Julian and the surrounding communities. I have a vision of a bike trailer that can go to at farmers markets and earth fairs or pass out information about how to start a garden or a compost pile. It’s in the process of being built and you can expect a future blog entry to show it off.
We can use your help too! If you have any old bikes gathering up cobwebs in your garage, we are always accepting bike donations. You can either drop them off at camp or contact firstname.lastname@example.org about a pickup in the southern California area.