Last night I discovered a true diamond in the rough of bikey goodness - Boston Square Community Bikes.
Boston Square is a program run through Oakdale Neighbors. It's a place that area residents can bring their bikes for repair, learn bike repair skills and recycle old, broken bikes into functional transportation. It's run by a guy who used to be a bike mechanic in a big chain bike shop, but he got tired of the commercial feel of that and wanted to do something to serve the inner city community.
(I didn't have my camera with me, but there are some great photos of the place here.)
A couple weeks ago, I heard about some bike repair classes that BSCB was offering, and I eagerly jumped at the opportunity. So last night I went to the second of three classes (the first was really basic stuff that I already felt comfortable with) and learned all about maintaining derailleurs and cables.
I had no idea what to expect showing up last night. As it turns out, I was the only one there for the class, so it turned into more of a one-on-one, hands-on tutorial. I loved it! I learned a lot of great bike maintenance skills that I had no clue about before and even picked up a trick for getting a dropped chain back on the chainring without even stopping the bike.
Everyone at Boston Square Community Bikes was friendly, helpful, welcoming and a total bike geek like me. While we worked on one of the bikes, conversation flowed delightfully from different types of bikes to triathlon to commuting to vintage folding bikes to Danny McCaskill to the bike repair bug. Yep - I've got it.
We actually covered a lot of the material planned for the next class, so they offered to teach me how to true a wheel next time I come in! And I think I might make a project of fixing up my mom's old Huffy 10-speed this summer. I stayed about an hour past when the class ended. I was having so much fun that I just didn't want to leave!
Boston Square is not a fancy bike shop full of shiny new carbon road bikes and full suspension mountain bikes (though they work with those, too). As far as I could tell, they do not stock top of the line component sets, bar tape in every imaginable color and store logo water bottles. But they do offer affordable transportation, repair, empowerment and a bike loving environment to the community. It's a place that I would love to spend my free time helping fix bikes for people in the neighborhood and connecting with other bike lovers.
If you live in the Grand Rapids area, I'd really recommend checking it out!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Endurance Run - 55 minutes (approx. 6.25 miles), 6x100 strides
Last night I ran over to the apartment complex that my trainer suggested as a good place to work some hills into my run. He was right! There are a couple long, gradual hills and a shorter, steeper one along with a short bike path through a neighborhood park. It was a good challenge - but not at all overwhelming - and a nice overall run.