Ithaca Generator has been hosting a basic bike repair class in the new Press Bay Alley space. Students are volunteering to help out at bike clinics this spring and summer. The schedule is here; feel free to add yourself to this list as well.
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FBC is proud to announce that we won a $350 Sustainable Tompkins Neighborhood Mini-grant. The grant will mainly go towards providing people with free brake shoes and brake cables. If you bike in hilly Ithaca, you know that it’s very important to have your brakes in good working order!
Friends Bike Clinic, in collaboration with Ithaca Generator, is offering a beginning bike repair class. John Guttridge of Urban Core LLC has generously allowed the class to take place in his Press Bay Alley retail space, affectionately know as the “Crystal Palace”. Students who take the class will informally serve as bike mechanics for bike clinics this summer. Details about the class are here. You are welcome to sign up late.
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.
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.