Side Hustle Progress

Above are patch designs based on illustrations I created for my magazine. The cactus and  flower are the two I am hoping to create into real patches, while the bottom two were just other versions I was trying out.

Here is my Magazine PDF , There are some design issues I am still trying to work out, but every spread has a basic design to it and is almost ready to print.

Currently, I am working on a mockup in InDesign for a website featuring all of the clothing I have designed, sketching other covers for magazines, and planning a screen print/hand embroidery to accompany the two patches on a denim jacket.

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Transforming Utica One Bicycle at a Time

Utica Bike Rescue Gives the community connections and healthy habits that will last a lifetime

by Alexandra Morales

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Riding a bike for the first time was an experience I hope I never forget. The wind in my hair, my parents cheering me on, slamming into the back of my dad’s Ford face first after I forgot to brake… childhood at its finest. Most of my favorite memories growing up started on a bike, because that was my brother’s and my activity of choice. Riding around my neighborhood, exploring every street, was how I met some of my best friends in elementary school. I’m not sure what happened to my old bicycle, but it brought me memories and friendships that will stay with me forever.

Today, it’s easy to feel disconnected with others, both on a physical and emotional level. People connect more online now, which can be great, but as a result we sometimes miss out on chances to get some fresh air and form relationships with people within our local community. Matthew VanSlyke kills two birds with one stone with Utica Bike Rescue.  As its founder and Executive Director, VanSlyke combines his knowledge of transportation with his passion for teaching and empowering others to create a growing community of bike riders, both old and new.

As a professional transportation planner, VanSlyke sees the world in terms of mobility. He takes immense pride in the improvements Utica Bike Rescue is able to have on people’s quality of life by giving them the freedom to travel independently. “In my line of work we spend a lot of time developing plans and projects that have delayed benefit,” VanSlyke says. “In contrast, the work that Utica Bike Rescue does provides immediate, tangible benefit to those who need it most.”

“If we simply gave things away we’d be doing our customers a disservice.” One of the key reasons Utica Bike Rescue is able to have such an impact is due to VanSlyke’s insistence upon teaching customers to sustain their own bikes, rather than simply giving them a handout. He continues, “We like to make sure that the people who receive bikes from us know how to keep it operational and enjoyable.” More recently, the mission of Utica Bike Rescue expanded to overall health and wellness. Soul Stop, which opened in Clinton last year, is a fitness and training studio that offers spinning and yoga classes, personal training, and bike repair workshops. 

In speaking with Matthew VanSlyke, I’ve realized the many different things bicycles can provide a community. Utica Bike Rescue teaches local kids and families through the Bicycle Rodeo program, and utilizes volunteers to teach bike repair at their workshop. Overarching ideas of sustainability, wellness, independence, and transportation are all aspects of a much larger picture. 

“…The bicycles we provide to folks honestly transform lives… When you travel by bike you’re connected to places in ways that don’t happen with any other form of transportation. I never get tired of hearing people’s stories about their first bike, an epic bike trip they went on or the collection of bikes they have at home. It’s something we can all relate to and the simple independence that bicycles provide is amazing. Being able to play a part in providing this for people is an honor and a privilege that I’m extremely grateful for.”

Like Matthew VanSlyke, I believe it is important to seek out opportunities for growth and change in trying times. Rather than hoping and waiting for someone to make a difference, VanSlyke took it upon himself to bring together like-minded people, both volunteers and customers, to work toward the common goal of experiencing life in a more sustainable, healthy, and connected way. It is inspiring to see someone as genuinely passionate about their work as Matthew VanSlyke create such an impact within his community.

Utica Proud Story Draft- Utica Bike Rescue

I chose Utica Bike Rescue for my topic and interviewed the founder, Matthew VanSlyke, via email because we were unable to meet in person. I really loved everything he said, so I’m having a hard time cutting down the interview for my story. I want to include more of my own commentary, but he explained everything very thoroughly and I’m unsure of where/how to grab snippets of his answers without missing anything important to the story. (I cut out some of my questions that were less substantial, but I enjoyed his answers for these questions so I want to somehow incorporate all of them into the final piece.)

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uticaproud

Like Matthew VanSlyke, founder of Utica Bike Rescue, I believe in finding opportunity for growth and change during trying times. Commuting by bicycle is not an option for me in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas, due to the sheer size of the city. Utica, however, is perfectly suited for getting around on two wheels. This observation inspired VanSlyke to create his unique and rapidly growing community of people of all backgrounds, working together to empower individuals through skills and knowledge rather than just sending people on their way with a handout. Having never heard of such a program before, I was very excited to learn more from VanSlyke himself.

Why is it important to encourage bike riding through outreach programs and classes as opposed to just donating the bikes? How do customers benefit from this approach?

Our approach has lasting benefit because we are not only providing a mode of transportation and recreation but also teaching the skills to ride safely and maintain the bike. We strive to provide sustainable transportation solutions by keeping the bikes we redistribute on the road and functional. If we simply gave things away we’d be doing our customers a disservice. We like to make sure that the people who receive bikes from us know how to keep it operational and enjoyable.

Where do you see Utica Bike Rescue in the next few years? Is there any aspect of the shop/community that you would like to see expand or change in any way?

The programs that we operate have been successful as they’re designed. We are looking to continue growing our positive impact by forming new relationships with local service agencies and organizations, recruiting more volunteers who want to learn and teach bike repair and expanding our Bicycle Rodeo program to reach more local children and their families. In June of 2018 we opened a second location in Clinton. Soul Stop is a different place than our downtown workshop. In that location we run bicycle repair workshops for small groups and operate a fitness and training studio. We offer group Spinning and yoga classes as well as personal training and wellness coaching services. It’s designed to support Utica Bike Rescue’s mission as a self-sustaining social enterprise; essentially it’s the funding mechanism that allows us to sustain our community outreach programs and to provide an opportunity for learning and skills sharing.

What accomplishment(s) in relation to Utica Bike Rescue are you most proud of to date?

I am a professional transportation planner so I see the world through the lens of mobility. I firmly believe that the ability to travel independently is fundamental to people’s quality of life. In my line of work we spend a lot of time developing plans and projects that have delayed benefit. In contrast, the work that Utica Bike Rescue does provides immediate, tangible benefit to those who need it most. It makes me proud to see our volunteer mechanics learning new skills and teaching them to others.

What is your favorite part about going to work each day?

It’s easy to look at a bicycle and think of it as just a kid’s toy, a way to exercise or to use for recreation. But the bicycles we provide to folks honestly transform lives. For many, the bike they get from us allows them to travel further to work, get to medical appointments more easily, get to school, or shop at different stores to get better value for their dollar. And traveling for these reasons on a bike provides aerobic exercise that benefits their health in countless ways. Bicycle travel allows us to experience the places we go rather than simply passing by closed up in a car, taxi or a bus. When you travel by bike you’re connected to places in ways that don’t happen with any other form of transportation. I never get tired of hearing people’s stories about their first bike, an epic bike trip they went on or the collection of bikes they have at home. It’s something we can all relate to and the simple independence that bicycles provide is amazing. Being able to play a part in providing this for people is an honor and a privilege that I’m extremely grateful for.

Alex Morales Side Hustle Brief

Project Pinterest Board:

https://www.pinterest.com/alexmorales426/side-hustle/

 

Purpose Statement or Objective:

Over the course of the semester I will create 3-4 issues of a magazine featuring my own illustrations and writings about sustainability and environmentalism.

 

What:

Each magazine will feature a different theme of environmental activism- the food industry, animal conservation, deforestation, global warming, pollution, etc. If time permits, clothing and stationery mockups will be created and/or photographed for advertisements within the magazine; these products can be for the magazine itself or to raise money for hypothetical organizations that support the causes the magazine educates its readers on. I also want to design a mobile format for the project, as most articles and research are accessed online today.

 

Who:

My audience will be anyone who takes an interest in educating themselves a little more on how they can do their part to stay informed on current, pressing environmental issues. In particular I want to gear the magazine towards youth, as we are the future for our planet and I can use my voice to educate younger generations without sounding authoritative.

 

How:

I will design the illustrations in Illustrator, and design the magazine in InDesign. The mockups for shirt designs and stationery for advertisements will be created on undecided websites online. The research I do will come from reputable existing scientific journals, websites, and documentaries.