This month I traveled to Poplar Ridge Meeting (about half an hour northeast of Ithaca) not knowing what to expect. What I found was a vibrant welcoming meeting that had about a dozen bikes for us to work on together. One person gave me a chocolate bar, another brought bowls of soup, and my host Andrew Simkin gave me expert assistance and great conversation as we worked together. What a joy!
We held our final downtown bike repair clinic for the season on August 20th and our final meetinghouse clinic on August 25th. However, there is still work to be done! Over the season we’ve accumulated lots of bike parts and we haven’t had time to sort through them. If you’d like to help us do that, come to the meetinghouse at our regularly scheduled time of 1pm to 3pm on September 1st and 8th.
As the summer draws to a close we’ll be ramping down the number of clinics we offer. In particular, we are ending our downtown Press Bay Alley clinics a few weeks early due to construction in the alley. Our final clinics for 2013 will be on the following dates:
- August 25th 1pm to 3pm at the Quaker Meetinghouse (led by Morgan)
- September 15th 1pm to 3pm at Poplar Ridge Meeting
- Cornell campus (date and time to be determined)
- Ithaca College campus (date and time to be determined)
A big thanks to our spring interns Rosie Altucher (above) and Andrew Lem. You guys fearlessly and relentlessly helped dozens of people fix their bikes. And a big welcome to our summer interns: Morgan Michel-Schottman and (returning for a second term) Andrew Lem.
Friends Bike Clinic joined the Ithaca Festival Parade this year, first by doing a security sweep by bike and then by marching with the Ithaca Generator makerspace. Thanks to Xanthe Matychak for most of these photos. More photos here.
Our latest bike clinics have been well attended, with several people coming to the downtown clinic last week and half a dozen people attending the meetinghouse clinic yesterday. We’ve also been holding clinics at various events. Last week I traveled to the Ovid Library where my friend Shannon O’Connor was managing their annual plant sale. I enjoyed their hospitality and I helped several people fix their bikes. And last Thursday Friends Bike Clinic hosted a breakfast station at the meetinghouse for 40 people or so who biked to work for national Bike to Work Day.
A side note: I am starting an electric bike cooperative at Ecovillage with my friend and fellow electric bike enthusiast David McCobb. We held an informal gathering at Ecovillage yesterday that was well-attended. David and I combined our fleets of electric bikes so that we had almost a dozen bikes of various sizes and capacities for people to try.
Friends Bike Clinic is off to a good start this season. We’ve hired two interns, Rosie Altucher and Andrew Lem, to staff two weekly clinics. We’ve forged a good relationship with Ithaca Generator, a makerspace that recently opened in downtown Ithaca. Ithaca Generator welding students have constructed several projects for Friends Bike Clinic, including a cart, a tall bike, and a chopper bike. In April we helped a troop of boy scouts prepare for an extended bike tour, and we’ve held several mobile clinics, including one at Ithaca College at the request of Bomber Bikes and most recently at the Streets Alive! festival in Ithaca. Stay tuned for more friendly bike clinic action!
Friends Bike Clinic manned a booth at the Streets Alive Festival last Sunday, and bicyclists were lined up several deep to get help fixing their bikes. In spite of six tireless mechanics (thank you Larry, Lauren, Jeremy, Mark, Scott, and Steve) there was a 10-minute wait for people to get help during most of the three-hour festival. Meanwhile hundreds of happy pedestrians and bicyclists roamed a 10-block stretch of Cayuga Street which had been blocked off to car traffic. Our booth also had a collection of electric bikes for people to try, and Steve Austin wowed the crowd with his fancy electric bike. And the next day Mark and Larry were lauded in the Ithaca Journal by a reporter who had learned about their noble car-freeness.
We’ve only got two more bike clinics planned this season: Saturday October 6th 10am to noon at the Farmer’s Market gazebo, and Sunday October 28th at the Quaker Meetinghouse 1 to 3pm. This fall and winter on Tuesdays from 2pm to 4pm we’ll be warm and cozy inside the meetinghouse basement painting the workshop, stripping junk bikes for parts, and fixing up bikes to sell or give away. If you’d like to help out with that please stop by.
Our recent clinics at the AIDs ride and Porchfest were of course great successes as these photos show. Our Porchfest presence included the largest collection of electric cargo bikes on the East coast (as far as I know) and a bicycle powered lawn mower created by FBC directors Scott McCasland and Larry Clarkberg.
Friends Bike Clinic “project hours” are changing from Wednesdays to Tuesdays 2 to 4pm. Project hours are when the shop is open for FBC members who are working on long-term projects. Members are expected to put in time helping out around the shop and staffing clinics. To become a member simply show up on a Wednesday and start working on a project and helping out.
Friends Bike Clinic will be lending our mobile tool collection to the Cornell Bike Collective on Tuesdays after our project hours. The CBC shop will be open Tuesdays from 4:30 pm to 6 pm. So fix your bike on a Tuesday: if you miss us at the meetinghouse 2pm to 4pm you can catch us at the CBC shop on the Dilmun student farm from 4:30 to 6pm.
If you are interested in electric bikes, note that FBC director Larry Clarkberg’s electric bicycle company (Boxy Bikes) is creating a “Maker Biker Club” for people who want to tinker with ebike technology. On Wednesday afternoons Boxy Bikes will open its shop to people who want help with their ebike projects. Boxy Bikes’ shop has tools for welding and electronics. Contact Larry for details.
Lastly, note a couple of upcoming clinics:
- Friday 9/21 all day: occupy a parking space in College Town. Exact location to be determined.
- Sunday 9/23 from 1 to 4pm : the Street’s Alive event. I’ll have my mobile bike clinic set up in the Ithaca High School parking lot. Also some electric bikes for people to try.
Welcome back! How was your summer? What’s happening? Lots!
Friends Bike Clinic is currently doing a bike repair workshop in partnership with Ithaca College’s Bomber Bike Initiative. All are welcome to join us. It’s on campus at Ithaca College at the entrance of Peggy Ryan Williams Building that faces the Business School (weather permitting, otherwise the rain location will be Job Hall 161). Times are from 4pm to 5pm Tuesday 8/21, Wednesday 8/22, and Thursday 8/23. See here for details.
We’ll also be doing our regular fourth Sunday (8/26) clinic at the Quaker meetinghouse 1pm to 3pm and our regular first Saturday (9/1) clinic at the Farmer’s Market gazebo 10am o noon.
Lastly, we’ll be doing a couple of extra special clinics in September: will be supporting the AIDS Ride on Saturday 9/15 (location to be determined) and we’ll be frolicking with our bikes in some way at Porchfest on Sunday 9/16 from 1 to 5pm at the Quaker meetinghouse. Please let me know if you can help out at the clinic in either of these events. Your support will determine whether the Friends Bike Clinic is able to continue having a presence at these events.