This post is a good one for anyone who likes the idea of getting more people on bikes. It is an even better post for people living in Seattle looking for a way to learn about bike repair and ultimately get more people on bikes. And if neither of those things tickle your proverbial fancy (Did you know that proverbiality is the noun form? Yeah, six syllables), don’t worry, I got you covered.
The place is called Bike Works and every Thursday night and Sunday morning they host Volunteer Repair Parties. Here’s the premise of said parties: anybody with (or without) repair/maintenance experience can go to the shop and learn/practice how to fix donated bikes while drinking beer and eating snacks. *Side note: listening to music with a beer in hand and tinkering with just about any kind of mechanical apparatus can be wonderful therapy.
Rest assured, I’m not going to dive into some unprompted diatribe about the organization or provide some promotional plug (kudos on the alliteration) but I am going to briefly outline why I like it.
A Brief Outline: Why I Like It
I. For some reason, there exists this irrational notion in Bike Culture that by riding a bike you should by extension already possess some kind of deep body of knowledge about the inner workings therein. Bike Works’ response to this idea: FALSE. It’s not intimidating, questions are asked openly and honestly, but most of all, I’m definitely going to learn in this environment – it’s a point of emphasis for them.
II. Although they tend to fix smaller children’s bikes, there are also plenty of opportunities to work on adult bikes as well. Regardless, at the end of the night they get put in the “To Be Shipped to People Who Need Them” pile. Cool, I get to learn AND ensure that someone is getting a well-tuned ride.
III. Me and my friend had been talking about building our own wheels. Turns out they offer a bunch of useful classes, one of which is the eponymous Build That! (Bicycle Wheel) where we can learn how to do just that. We sign up, we log volunteer hours, and as a result we get a discount on that class. They make it easy and practical to support them. Smart.
I just want to reiterate that in no way do I represent the organization, aside from being a freshly converted fan. I’m excited to explore new territories.
If you want to come with, I’m planning on going every Thursday and hopefully occasional Sundays. What organizations are you in to right now? What are you learning about? Holler if you wanna share, that’s what this is about.
Oh, and as promised, for those who don’t care about any of this I have the quote of the repair party (when asked what for him represents the silver lining of the dark winter Seattle clouds and why we shouldn’t be too depressed about their arrival):
Um, there’s like hella Imax movies. I went to one last winter.