Over the winter break, we will be receiving bikes back from the schools that run our Basics of Bicycling program. Trailers full of 20″-wheeled, coaster-braked BMX bikes have already started piling up and the work to maintain them during the “off-season” has started in earnest. Each trailer has 30 bikes inside, most in need of basic maintenance. Some in need of something a little more intensive.
Through November I’ve had the pleasure of leading teams of volunteers on Wednesday nights to come in and get these little bikes back in rolling condition. We’ve changed countless tubes and tires, tightened a mind-boggling number of bolts and lubed over 100 chains. Some bikes have needed to have seats replaced, hubs repacked and bottom brackets cleaned and tightened.
They’re a dedicated bunch, these Bike Maintenance Party Heroes. They come in on blustery nights to enjoy pizza and work on bikes they’ll never get to ride themselves. Some are members of Cascade, some are employees and some live as far south as Tacoma. Some are even members of elementary schools in the area (our tire-pump champions!). All are committed to the cause, though. Every night, and it never fails, at least one or two of the ladies or gentleman attending tell me they “want to help get kids excited about bikes.” And if this is how you can help, by keeping their little cycles in good working order, that’s awesome. Your help doesn’t go unnoticed.
Last Wednesday I had to delicately respond to some volunteers why I postponed the prior week’s maintenance party. When I told them I went home for Thanksgiving and that I assumed people would want the holiday off they simply said, “I would’ve come in, no problem.”
We have more bikes to get through – five more sets of 30, to be exact. Bike maintenance parties will be happening on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 8:30 through December (except the 28th) and also on the first three Wednesdays in January.
Until the next party, though, I’m giving a shout out to all of our awesome volunteers so far: Sue, Ralph, Andrew, Rebecca, Chris, Jenny, Bent, Robin, Xavier, Peter, Saul and Erica: you are all rock stars!
If you’d like to get on the bike maintenance volunteer list to receive party notifications, please drop me an email. We’d love to have you join us.