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.
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!
The Mobile Repair Stand will be taking July 4th off like most everyone else. Have a great weekend and we’ll be back next week.
Yesterday, our first pop-up shelter we can call our own showed up in the mail. It couldn’t have come at a better time, since it poured while we were at the artisan market today. In fact, no sooner had the top been strapped onto the EZ-up did the downpour come, and we huddled underneath it with Ryan and Ed and their coffee trike. By the way, the coffee trike coffee is a life saver on Sundays. You guys are the best. You’ll have to forgive me for not getting photos of the mayhem, but immediately afterwards I got Justin admiring Richard’s rack:
I also didn’t get a photo of critical mass celebrity Chris Carlsson who stopped by to chat for a while. Although, he did get a photo of us, so maybe you can find another picture of the white tent and goofy mechanics on his blog soon. He has some pretty cool stories, and it just goes to show you that you never know who’s going to show up to the mobile repair stand.
While it was a little disappointing to not have the foresight to get me grinning like an idiot with Chris, I did have the wherewithal to snap this bad boy last night:
Oh yeah, that’s a common cycle spoke card on a bike I don’t recognize at German Park. Way to show the love! By the way, reflective clothing and blinky lights are a must-have for the bike ride home from German Park. There is a lot of beer consumed there, and I’m pretty sure nobody spends the night.
In other news of good times to come, the Bike Maintenance 101 workshop we’ve been talking about for a long time is tentatively scheduled for June 13th at Sic Transit. Please contact us so we can gauge interest and focus our attention on the skills you want most.
A few weeks ago, a friendly stranger came by the mobile repair stand with a new chain. As it turned out, her broken but otherwise quite nice chain was perfectly salvageable with the removal of a link. This left the new chain without a destination, so she decided to leave it in our parts bin.
Earlier tonight that chain saved the day (night?). The mobile repair stand, with chain in tow, happened to be in the right place at the right time to get the chain on a bike that needed one badly.
So, thanks friendly stranger! You earned some major bike karma tonight.
Last night I was listening in on a conversation about the dangers of cycling with cars and was kindof surprised by the range of opinions that were expressed about cycling safety. Ideas from hyper-defensive riding (assume all cars are trying to hit you), to reasoning with drivers a their windows, to mandatory transponders that inform drivers a squishy human is near, and every possible solution inbetween surfaced as a way to keep cyclists safe. All this got me thinking about scary things that keep people off their bikes (cars, thunderstorms, fear of bears in the woods), and it reminded me of a great article I’d just read about why people ride. Click here to read it.
One thing that really hit home in the article was the diversity of cyclists it discussed (commuters, racers, just-plain-crazies, etc), and how for every flavor of cyclist the bike was a freedom enabler. Be it geographical exploration, self-expression, or just exercise, bikes let people do what they want, how they want. Anyway, that’s enough analysis from me. Check out the article, or go ride your bike!
Wow. The Bike Fest yesterday (all of the Mayor’s Green Fair, actually) was awesome
If you were able to make it downtown, hopefully you had a chance to swing by our tent near Liberty on Main St. We were between the Washtenaw Biking and Walking Coalition’s bike parking space and Wheel’s in Motion’s demo area. Here’s a picture of Bill during the downtown madness:
Turns out, popping up a bike stand in a random destination and helping people out is what we do best. We had a blast healing handlebars, soothing shifters, and doctoring derailleurs. Sam was a hero, showing a young bike enthusiast how to get a wicked hop out of a well-worn mountain wheel. Below you can see Evan explaining basic maintenance and Ben getting ready to true a wheel.
It was really great to hear everyone’s enthusiasm: from new volunteers signing up to general excitement about stopping by the stand on Sunday. As we continue to grow, we need your feedback! How can Common Cycle help you the most? For new volunteers, how can we showcase your skills best? We welcome all ideas, so send them to email@example.com and tell them to us in person!
A big thanks to everyone who helped us out last night: Piet, Evan, Justin, Sam, Bill, Ben, Anika, Sandy, Jimmy, and Eric for hanging out at the stand, Michael from the Black Pearl for the post-fest libations, Ryan for trailer #2, Vault of Midnight for the tent, and everyone who stopped by for giving us something to tweak, tune, or talk about!
While it is hard to believe that it has already been seven weeks of helping folks with their bikes at the artisan market, it is clear we’ve grown a lot since day one. Kindof like a tandem rolling to the ice cream shop, Common Cycle seems like something people want to hop aboard. The fruits of the tremendous community support we’ve been receiving were evident this week: two popup tents to give us some shade, three work stands, two full sets of tools, and over ten mechanics sharing their time and expertise.
With these great resources, we’ve been able to take the 10-15 bikes that stop by each Sunday and get them back on the road, rolling safely. More importantly, common cyclists like yourselves are telling us that you’re learning a lot, and feel empowered to tinker with your tools and come back to learn more. Some of the fun activities from this week included overhauling the bottom bracket of a vintage Schwinn, parts-swapping to get new builds started, and a lot of wheel truing and derailleur adjusting.
With generous support from local shops Sic Transit Cycles and Two Wheel Tango, our parts bins are growing quickly. If you come early next week you’ll have your pick of wheels, pedals, water bottles, and of course the attention of our fantastic mechanics. We look forward to seeing you next Sunday, getting your feedback, and helping you out.