From A to B, now featuring violet splatter-paint
Life in Sydney is about to get a whole lot more mobile.
Tonight I visited the Cycle Re-Cycle Club, a volunteer run bike collective, held Monday and Wednesday evenings in Redfern. I was pointed to the workshop by someone who responded to my wanted post on Freecycle (which, if you aren’t familiar with it, is kind of like Craigslist, but everything is free).
Non-profit workshops like this exist all over the world. Toronto’s version, Bike Pirates, taught me how to fix my brakes and hooked me up with new brake pads for a $4 donation at PS Kensington. And in Iceland, one of Reykjavik’s most colourful abandoned lots hosts a group called Keðjuverkun – Chain Reaction (pictured below).
They don’t sell bikes, but if one happens to come in, the volunteers will help you fix it up and you can ride it home. Hugh, the coordinator whom I spoke to on the phone said it’s hit or miss, but if I come back a few times, I’m likely to find something. I got there tonight and found a friendly community and lots of bits and pieces, but nothing workable.
Just as I was about to give up and meet a friend for dinner, someone pulled up with a couple of donated bikes – one ladies road bike with a gorgeous violet and white splatter-painted frame. The tires were wrecked and she had a bit of rust here and there, but she fit and she’d get me from A to B. A knowledgeable and totally charming mechanic named Cam helped me (well…he did most of the work) change her tires, grease her up, and adjust the brake cables, and he even threw her on the roof rack and gave me a ride to my friend’s place.
Cam works at a bike shop but comes to Cycle Re-Cycle in his spare time because he is just that passionate about bikes. And he sure knows his stuff – an hour and $30 later (for two brand new Michelin tires and a lock) and she rides as good as she looks. I got really lucky. Cam told me on average, a person will come by three weeks in a row working on a project before all the components come together.
Now I just have to get used to a) riding a road bike and b) Sydney’s hills. I left her overnight locked up by the subway station because I don’t want to risk riding home without a helmet or lights. I’m looking forward to picking her up and taking her for a spin tomorrow.
Oh…and she needs a name. Suggestions welcome.