[Call for Applications] Fall 2017 Maintenance Course

Common Cycle’s biannual maintenance courses are intended to help train future volunteers and community members by providing hands-on experience and general knowledge about fixing bicycles and assisting people who come to our mobile repair stand.

Common Cycle’s Fall 2017 Maintenance Class will begin Wednesday, October 11th and run on 6 consecutive Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30 in Ann Arbor, concluding on November 15th. Classes will be held at U-M Outdoor Adventures Center, 336 Hill St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. We cover a range of repair and maintenance from basic (e.g. tube change, brake adjustment) to advanced (e.g. hub overhaul, wheel truing).

The course is capped at 15 students so that everyone will have some time and space to do hands-on work.  No advance knowledge of bike repair is required, just an interest in learning more. Students may bring in their own bikes which we will diagnose as needed and use for demonstration.

Although this is a low/no-cost course, we ask you to respect the large amount of volunteer work that goes into facilitating and teaching the course. If you are enrolled, we expect you to attend the majority of sessions or make clear in your application if you will not able to attend some sessions.  If selected, we expect participants to volunteer at at least two Common Cycle events over the subsequent 12 months.

Application link: https://goo.gl/forms/CmKFGZl0NY78XL722

Applications close Sunday, October 1st. Please respond to info@commoncycle.org with questions.

Open Workshops – Winter 2016/2017

Common Cycle will be hosting open repair sessions through March, taking place roughly twice per month at the same time as our traditional Mobile Repair Stand. The sessions will be similar to our weekly mobile repair stand at the Sunday Artisan Market, and provide those interested with access to warm, dry space, tools and volunteer help as needed.

The schedule will include the following Sundays:

Nov: 11/13
Dec: 12/4 & 12/18
Jan: 1/8 & 1/22
Feb: 2/5 & 2/19
Mar: 3/5, 3/12 & 3/26

Location and Time:

Outdoor Adventures (“Elbel Building” next to Elbel Field)
336 Hill St,
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Time: 11 AM-3 PM

Feel free to drop by to get help preparing your bicycle for the winter, and to keep it rolling until spring. If you have any questions, please email us at info@commoncycle.org.

Elbel

 

(Launching) Common Cycle Women’s Focused Events!

In an effort to build community, increase access to knowledge around bicycle repair, and to support more gender diversity within the cycling community and within Common Cycle, we will be hosting women’s-focused bike community events, at Outdoor Adventures (336 Hill St, at the corner of Hill and Division). Of course, we welcome trans women, non-binary, and gender non-conforming folks to attend.  Our tentative schedule for the fall is to hold sessions on:

October 11th, 6-8 PM
November 15th, 6-8 PM
December 13th, 6-8 PM

If you have any questions, or would like to be added to the mailing list to receive updates and announcements about women’s focused events, please send us an email at ccwomensprograms@gmail.com.  We’ll post more information on topics and other rides or events as they come together.

Thanks!

Winter Bike Commuting Workshops

We’re partnering with Nancy Shore and getDowntown to get you all geared up for winter bike commuting. The workshops are this week Wednesday (5:30-6:30pm) and Thursday (12-1pm) at 301 E. Liberty.

Registration for the workshops is now closed, but getDowntown has a lot of great winter commuting (bike and other) resources you can find in their Conquering the Cold section.

conquer the cold

First Workshop at Outdoor Adventures

With our course at Outdoor Adventures and the Mobile Repair Stand packed away until next spring, we’ll be running open workshops at Outdoor Adventures (336 Hill St) on Wednesday nights from 7-9:30 p.m. It runs the same way as in Kerrytown: stop by if you need help, stop by if you want to help.

The first one starts tomorrow, November 2nd. As always, feel free to join the google group for more info about these workshops and other volunteering opportunities.

See you there!

Fall Bike Maintenance Clinics

Your favorite Common Cycle mechanics will be teaching a bike maintenance class this fall! The class starts next wednesday, Sept. 14, at 6 PM (so sign up now!–scroll down to “bike clinic”) and is a collaboration with UM’s Outdoor Adventures Program. The 5-week series will go something like this:

9/14: Basic care, cleaning, and maintenance

9/21: wheels, tires, tubes, and intro to hubs

9/28: Hubs, Bottom Brackets, and Headsets

10/5: Brakes and Derailleurs

10/12: Cranks/chainrings, Handlebars, stems, shifters, levers

There is a fee: $5 per class, or $20 for the whole shebang, but that money will go towards snacks and beverages for an optional post-or-mid-series bike ride (or other activity, depending on weather and folks’ preferences).

Whether you’ve been working on bikes for a while and want to freshen up, or if you’re just starting to get your hands greasy, or if you think (rightly so) that Eric, Sam, Sandy, Ben, and Molly are super cool and you want to learn everything they know…come on out!

Hope to see you next wednesday!

16 hands to seat a tire OR Cub Scout Bike Maintenance

Last week, Eric, Piet, and I got a chance to travel down to Saline to help teach some cub scouts bike maintenance.  I don’t think any of us really knew what to expect; I thought maybe we would be standing in front of a group of kids inside, trying to keep their interest as we explained some simple things about bikes.  Luckily, it turned out to be a much more fun time than that, and I think that Eric, Piet, and I learned as much about the power of the bicycle as the cub scouts learned about bike maintenance.

We arrived slightly late, and we pulled up to lots of young folks tearing around a parking lot while other kids waited for their bikes to be unloaded from parents’ cars.  We had three stands, so the plan was to work one-on-one with the kids.  We set up next to the building under an overhang, and got to work teaching the scouts about bike maintenance, one at a time.  We would be working with kids in the 8-10 age range.  Let the fun begin…

My first scout had a singlespeed bmx coaster brake-equipped bike (for some reason I got to work on all the singlespeeds (thumbs up)), and we set to work safety checking the bike.  I had scout #1 start pumping up his own tires, and watched as he used all of his weight and all his strength to bring the tires up to a high pressure of 20psi!  I finished the inflation for him, and we moved on.  His main concerns about his bike were the rust on the chain and chainrings and his seat height.  I made him wait until we checked some other bolts until moving onto his main concerns.  I applied some lube to his rusty chain, and saw his eyes light up.  As I spun the chain with the bike in the stand, he said, “my bike is so much faster now!”  Then, I took the bike down from the stand and we adjusted the seat up up a few inches.  I put the bike back in the stand just to double check some things and to try to get more rust off the chain, and he began to shake, as if he had to pee.  While bouncing up and down, he was saying, “I caaann’t waaiittt to ride my biiikkke” over and over again.  It was awesome.  As soon as the bike was put back on the ground, he was off, racing around the parking lot.

The rest of the night was very similar.  We all worked one-on-one with varieties of kids.  Some kids were all about the tools and pulling every tool out of my bag and playing with it.  Some kids just wanted their bikes to be faster.  One scout, whose brakes were barely operable and whose saddle was way too low, told me that his bike was fine and in perfect working order.  How did he know?  He can ride fast, so it has to be working well!  Other kids just wanted to climb on the brick pillars as we worked on their bikes.  Piet had the opportunity of working with a girl (a daughter of one of the leaders) who wanted to know everything there was to know about bikes.  At the young age of 13, she was already able to explain to Piet how a freewheel works!

The cool thing was that no one cared what types of bikes they had…what mattered was that they were having fun.  They don’t know or care what a singlespeed is, what a fixed-gear is, or what brands are cool.  All they cared about was riding fast and tearing around the parking lot, free to do as they pleased.  As I rode later that week, I thought back to those kids and the joy that biking brings them; it made me smile and enjoy the ride that much more.

At the end of the evening, Eric gathered the scouts to learn how to fix a flat tire.  He deflated the tube, a couple of the scouts used some tire levers to get the tire off.  He showed the scouts the tube, and that you would have thought that they were looking at the coolest toy in the world.  They squeezed it and pulled it until one of them shouted, “lets try to pop it!”  The kid whose tube it was got worried, and Eric quickly then showed them how to put it back in.  Sometimes, getting the tire bead back on the rim can be a real struggle…no so with 8 or more cub scouts!  It was awesome to see as many kids as could get their hands on the tire working together to seat the tire.  Then, it came time to pump up the tire.  Every scout had to get a chance to pump.  Once it was inflated, the game became seeing how much pressure each of them could generate with the pump while I held my thumb over the nozzle.  It was just like a carnival game, but for kids.

On the ride back to Ann Arbor, we talked about how cool it was to work with these kids and to observe their love of bikes…not too different from our own.

Our first bike repair workshop was great!

Last week Common Cycle pulled together our first bike repair workshop. Many thanks to Sic Transit Cycles for letting us use their space for this event. While we march forward on the path to finding a shop of our own help like this is invaluable.

You may not have heard about this workshop in advance: It came together in a hurry and was a test of sorts for us. Thankfully the workshop was a great success and we plan to have more in the future. Next time we’ll get the word out and you can participate.

All told we had about a dozen people and four stands with bikes. Our design was to have the group decide what they wanted to learn. There was an instant consensus: Derailluers!

I learned about derailleurs with Molly and Anika from Eric. We put my bike up on the stand it is as shifty as ever now. One nagging problem I’d had in the middle of my cassette was massaged away by our combined tinkering.

In addition to the help from Sic Transit, a special thanks to Commoners Steve Cain, Sam McDermott, Jimmy Ragget, and Eric Jankowski for teaching the rest of us about how our shifty bits work, and how to adjust them.