I've been hooked on bike mechanics since my first intensive bike building mission in summer 2004 at the volunteer bike shop set up & facilitated by New York City bike advocacy organization Time's Up around the massive protests of the Republican National Convention in New York City. I worked with friends from all over the country in the basement of an eclectic collector's shop on Houston Street (how romantic!) for almost a month. Freecycle in Missoula, MT, Plan B in New Orleans and The Cog in Oakland were some of the community bike programs represented by our crew.
We built over 70 loaner and fleet bikes in that basement, in the midst of all the workshops, organizing and just plain chAos going on around us. We helped a steady stream of fellow citizens with their bikes. At another volunteered space in Flatbush, we welded trailers from junk bikes, angle iron, and shopping carts. We also took time to enjoy New York's beautifully manic riding, plentiful and varied foods, and fine folks of all stripes. What fun!
Following that awesome experience, my first bike tour started at the end of the subway line in the Bronx and ended in the cozy college town of Poughkeepsie. My two travel mates and i were happily embraced by the Hudson Valley's open air and rolling hills after our completed mission in The Big Apple.
The sweet smell of bike grease permeated my dreams during my time at Recycle Ithaca’s Bicycles, a community bike program in Ithaca NY. During 2004and5 I coordinated big sorting projects and assisted with Earn-A-Bike classes and my favorite times where when i staffed the shop 'after hours' to facilitate and work on special projects. Kids and other neighbors often stopped by for one-on-one help. On a few occasions, i shared my very basic MIG-welding know-how. While living in Ithaca i also worked in the service department at The Outdoor Store. I also got really into solo touring and did some bike camping around central New York.
In late summer 2005 i did a beautiful meandering/visiting solo tour through Portland OR to Eugene, coastward to Yachats, and down the beautiful Pacific coast through redwoods to Eureka CA. I ended my tour earlier due to an intense ACL strain (lesson: stretch, stretch, stretch!) and had a wonderful time hitchinghiking down the 101 to Ukiah, loaded bike and all. Though memories of that trip have sustained me for quite a while, i can feel another long tour coming on!
Since 2005, Peoples Bike Repair Oakland has provided quality, affordable repairs, used bikes, custom builds and informal, accessible mechanics instruction to East Bay bicyclists. I love the quality interactions i have with folks around bikes. People are often pleasantly surprised how easy it is to learn to care for their bike, and i cherish the opportunity to share tips for healthier riding. Bikes and People just make so much sense together, don't they ?!
During the 2006-7 school year, i was co-program leader for Cycles of Change's Berkeley Job Training Program at Tinker's Workshop. This fun, challenging work included program development & evaluation and i led the program’s mechanics workshops. we had a couple great field trips including the Sea Otter Classic in Monterrey. I also worked at Cycles’ Roosevelt Middle School after school Bike Club, where I helped improve the utility of the space by building modular storage for around 40 bikes.
In 2008, Besides my local PBR wrenching & classes, I can often be found working in the service dept at Recycles of Berkeley in the East Bay and I look forward to establishing more of a presence in the North Bay and MendoLake area.
PBR and its initiatives represent one East Bay bike educator and social enterprise entreprenuer's ongoing efforts to interface, interact, network, and build programming with the community and in the marketplace.