Tijuana Bike Conference To Bridge Cross-Border Politics
This weekend, members of the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) biking community will gather in Tijuana for the annual Bike! Bike! Conference.
The conference will offer workshops for people interested in starting their own community bike shops, as well as other transit-related projects. Each workshop will be conducted in both English and Spanish.
“It’s very different than a commercial bike conference, I think. It’s a different environment and I think we touch on a lot of social challenges and problems,” Sergio Garcia said. “It’s not just about bikes, it’s about reaching out to your community.”
Garcia is a bike mechanic from Santa Barbara. This is the second Bike! Bike! — or Bici Bici — Conference he’s been to in Mexico.
The conference is centered on a new community bike shop that just opened in Tijuana, called Bicis Discedentes, or “dissident bicycles.” Workshops will take place in the bike shop and other community spaces nearby.
Daniela Cortés moved from Mexico City to Tijuana four months ago to help start the bike shop. She said the whole goal of the shop and the conference is to highlight a different approach to border relations than the current policies coming out of Washington.
“The importance to Tijuana in this critical moment because of what we’re living through in immigration,” Cortés told KPBS. “We want to seem like a bridge, to rethink what the border means, so the bicycles are really just an excuse to say that the border will not be sold or separated. Tijuana is the point of this.”
In the basement of Enclave Caracol, which is also home to a cafe and a legal service provider for migrants, the new bike shop will aim to help people in Tijuana access bikes at a low cost. The shop is also looking for donations of bikes from anyone that’s coming down to the conference this weekend.
“It’s a different way for us to get to know one another, to learn about the border, learn about the context, our worries, to live together for the weekend, eat together, party together,” said Nacho Muñoz, a mechanic at Bicis Disidentes. “We’re friends, we’re neighbors.”
Muñoz also helped organize this year’s Bike Bike, which changes location from year to year.
The conference runs through Sunday. True to Muñoz’s word about partying together, Saturday night’s workshops will end with a dance party.