There was some uncertainty last week whether or not we’d have enough volunteers to run the MRS on Sunday, but we do! Thanks to those who volunteered and we’ll see you there, from 11 -3 !
After a fun Saturday night at the Homegrown Festival, our MRS was full of folks we told to stop by! The stand looked like this for most of the afternoon:
Thanks to everyone (pictured and not) who volunteered!
It’s been a long while since we’ve updated, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been hard at work! Every Sunday we’ve been at the Artisan Market teaching Ann Arbor how to repair bikes. We’ve helped overhaul bottom brackets, true wheels, and replace tons of cables and housing.
Every once and a while, a really unique bike stops by the MRS. This Schwinn Suburban came by needing a new spoke in its rear wheel.
It came from an era when Shimano was pushing their front freewheel system for city bikes; having the freewheel in the front allows you to shift gears while coasting. This wacky set-up never caught on. You can read all about it on Wikipedia.
We also helped replace a chain, but the drive train was so worn out the the new chain skipped so much that it was hardly rideable. Let that be a lesson – Replace you chain before it wrecks your chainrings!
At the end of the day, Bill and Ben loaded up the trailers and hauled the MRS home. See you next week!
Bike to Work Day (Friday May 20, 2011) is sort of a bicycle holiday – it’s a chance for all of us that commute to work by bike to recognize each other as a team. It doesn’t matter if you bike to your job each day, or once a week, or if you’re just starting – Bike to Work Day is a celebration that we’re out there, enjoying the air and our legs and our bicycles. This year, Nancy Shore at getDowntown has organized some amazing events and rewards for cyclists. Here is a list of the events.
Common Cycle will be hosting a bike commuting station Friday morning (7-9am) at Division + Packard, across the street from Blimpy Burger. We’ll be there with our Mobile Repair Stand, some snacks, coffee from the Roos Roast Coffee Trike, and a bunch of smiling faces reminding you that biking to work is possibly the coolest thing in the world. Come say hi.
Oh yes, indeed, we are re-opening the Repair Stand at the Ann Arbor Sunday Artisan Market. In case you missed it last year, every Sunday from April through October, Common Cycle sets up a couple of tents, bike stands, and tools and teaches Ann Arbor how to fix and maintain its bikes. For free. So, at no cost, you get to a) learn stuff, b) fix your bike, c) have fun, and d) meet awesome people. The only catch is that you’re gonna have to get dirty, but that’s half the fun. See you in Kerrytown on Sunday!
When: Sunday April 17th, 11am – 3pm
Where: Kerrytown: Artisan Market
Bring: your bike, your hands
And, if you’d like to volunteer to help out, fill out the form.
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.
Last Friday morning we set up the Mobile Repair Stand at Friday Mornings @ SELMA, Ann Arbor’s “local foods breakfast salon.” It was an unusually quiet day at SELMA, but we still fixed a handful of bikes and met some great new people. There seems to be a lot of local foodie/bicycle enthusiast crossover around, which isn’t surprising.
We had a great time and we’re hoping to continue setting up at SELMA on a monthly basis through the fall.
Halfway, or as my dad likes to tell me, it’s all down hill from here. Let’s pick up speed and blast through the goal.
Thank you to all our backers for funding our Mobile Repair Stand Kickstarter!
Right now, everything on the Mobile Repair Stand is borrowed from volunteers. When we make the Kickstarter goal, we’ll have the money to purchase the tools, tents, and trailers we borrow every week to run the Mobile Repair Stand.
If you are thinking about helping us out, do go to our Kickstarter. It is as easy as buying something on Amazon, and we’ll love you forever. Really!
The mobile repair stand has been hugely successful: we love it, and you’ve been telling us you love it, so we’re raising the funds to make it a permanent fixture in our community. This morning we kicked off our first big fundraiser over at Kickstarter.com. Kickstarter is a super cool, all-or-nothing way to fund creative projects and we’re very excited that our mobile repair fundraiser was accepted. So click here to check out the fundraiser, and thank you so much for your support!