When we started in 1996, we asked the community for broken bikes, and-with a front page news article- we ended up with 300 in our front yard within 3 days. We went from our garage, to other garages, to the
fairgrounds to a garden shed to an underground cave to finally a nice big shop. Some we have paid for, some have been free.
If we were to be starting from scratch, I think we’d find space first. I
suggest a simple letter to the editor in the local paper, explaining your
goals, why you want to start something, and ask for donated space.
I’ve learned people are generous, yet they want time lines. Instead of
saying, ‘we need free space, who can help,’ you might say, ‘we would like a donated space of about 1,000 sq feet for one year.
A bathroom is a must, and maybe heat. A press release is OK, yet words can get twisted when you are interviewed. A letter to the editor can be about 300 words, and be your group’s own words, which is more personal.
If you are not ready for news attention in any form, the other way is of
course flyers… and you cannot beat word of mouth.
-Bob Giordano, Free Cycles Missoula