Friday, October 12, 2012

Do It Yourself #bikedc

I believe in fixing my bike myself.  First, I believe in fixing my bike myself because I am passionate about cycling.  Working on my bike is a redemptive adventure in caring for my bike.

I also believe in fixing my bike because it aint hard, and its a darn good thing to know.  If you are a cyclist - if you are rolling with the miles - you will want to know how to change a flat, how to unjam a chain, and how to adjust a seat or brakes.  10 miles into a 3 hour tour, you dont want to end up shipwrecked on a deserted pacific island without a professor onboard (without knowing how to fix your bike).

Fixing stuff takes tools.  Tools take space.  Grease causes gunk.  Some of us have car garages dedicated to our bikes.  Some of us dont.  One solution is bicycle co-ops - membership organizations that have the tools, supplies, and a community of expertise - where you can spend your afternoon tricking out your wheels, or gabbing about the finer points of sprockets.

Before we get to the list of local co-ops, there's one more great resource:  Youtube is a wealth of DIY information.  You need to know how to do it; Youtube has some generous soul showing you the steps.

The List

The Bicycle House (DC)

"The Bike House is a community-based bicycle repair co-op in Washington, DC. Our mission is to build a place where all people can learn about, work on, and enjoy bikes.We do this by providing free bicycle maintenance services and education through our weekend clinics, mobile bike clinic, and beginner and advanced mechanics classes."

Velocity (Alexandria)

"Our mission is to educate, encourage, and empower a vibrant and inclusive cycling community through learning. We provide a non-profit, volunteer-run, educational do-it-yourself workshop offering training, rides, and events to empower all levels of cyclists in building, maintaining, and embracing the fun of bicycles."

Mt Rainer Bike Coop

"MRBC aims to enable and encourage people to own, maintain, and ride bicycles safely. We reclaim, refurbish, and redistribute used bicycles that would otherwise be heading for the landfill, We teach mechanics to youth and adults, and we partner with local DC area organizations to promote an inclusive and responsible bicycling community. MRBC focuses its services locally but the shop and its programs are open to all members on a donation basis."

And one more

Phoenix Bikes

Phoenix Bikes is not so much a bicycle co-op for you to fix your bike (altho you could probably do that too) as it is a non profit to teach kids how to fix bicycles - and to teach kids how to run a small business.

"Support Local Youth: Through the use of bike repair, mechanics, and sales, we provide local youth with real-world skills and education that will better prepare them for the future. Visit our Youth Programs page for more information.

"Support the Community: Through our storefront, we provide the local DC community with affordable, refurbished bikes and repair services that help the environment, the recipient and local youth. Visit our Community Programs page for a full list of our services."

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