Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Quixotic Quest To Connect The Co-Ops

So I haven't posted for a while.

There are very few computers on the market
that you can use while riding a bike. Safely.
I've traveled a long way from D.C. and been on many adventures.

Ive also visited 6 more bike Co-Ops.
I love bike Co-Ops.

Or whatever it is they are, because I've learned they're all completely different

Take for example
Velocity in Arlington, VA

Instead of taking the "anarchistic-bike-collective-community-project" approach
this organization runs more like a non-profit community based bike shop.

This cool video from their website says a lot about them
 (This is another thing  OCBC in CLE can learn from.)

Christian was kind enough to put off his lunch to answer questions about their classes, used parts and bike sales and their community work stands.
For a donation, anyone can come in to use the Velocity work stands to work on their own bike, with advice from Christian and other shop users. Christian by the way, has been managing bike shops for the last 20 years, in addition to volunteering at some of Americas original bike Co-Ops on the west coast.

He also let me put my poor Wheeler up in the stand. It needs some love.


Check out what the C&O canal towpath did to my fender.


I don't even understand how it happened. There C&O was rough, with lots of sticks, tree branches and entire trees fallen on the path. More often than not I had to dismount and portage my bike over them.


Anyway, I opted to run a stick over, and it jumped up and bit me in the buttocks.

It folded my fancy german SKS fenders in half, and they snapped.
I was really resistant to fenders in general for "aesthetic" reasons.
But let me tell you, when the trail is swamped and your wheels are splattering you with slushy snowy mud, fenders will change your life.

They managed to hang on till I got to a bike co-op.
They're all better now.


Not as pretty before, but I'll be dry.
Thanks Christian! Your place was rad.

My last night in DC I got to visit another great organization,
where I got a very warm reception.

They immediately started giving me snacks.

I'm home.

Phoenix is entirely dedicated to being a youth-based community bike project.

This little guy didn't hesitate to munch on some co-op cake while I annoyed (paid) staff members with questions about the structure and programs of Phoenix.

I got to help a young volunteer re-cable a project bike. 
He was really bright, and understood everything I taught him.
Thats the kind of thing that keeps me going.