South Perry — Free Bike Tune-Up

(photos by BikeDevil)

It was 103F today for our South Perry Free Bike Tune-up. I was dripping, as was Charlie, the whole time. We tuned up 15 bikes. It was good. It was damn hot.

Here’s Charlie.

The careful observer will notice a drip of sweat on the tip of his nose. This is the second event Charlie has volunteered for us. He rules. He’s one of these guys that can fix anything. It doesn’t matter if we have the “right” tools or not. Charlie gets all the weird and hard fixes. And the owners always ride away on the bikes.

We were in the parking lot of The Shop. On black top. Mark, one of the owners of The Shop, set up some umbrellas for us, which helped a lot. But it was still hot.

I love that we’re getting a crew going here; we’ve got this basic set of volunteers that just do stuff — in addition to Charlie, we have:


Ken spends a bunch of time dialing in the bikes. There’s no “good enough” for Ken. It’s got to work and it’s got to work right. The Roadmaster he’s working on there ended up getting a full bottom bracket overhaul. I think that smirk there is his realization that he’s going to have to dig into the bottom bracket and take care of it. It’s one of those “oh f’ing hell” smirks.


Mike is the guy that just does stuff. He wants to learn a bunch more, but he knows more than he thinks. If there’s no one to tell him what to do, he’ll just start cleaning up the chain or changing a flat. Today, his sister showed up and they worked on a cantilever brake on a walmart bike for a while. The classic crap-bike brake/rim issue: how do you adjust a brake on a steel rim that’s got a wobble so that it brakes effectively, but not rubbing too much? They kept at it and took care of it.


She’s all about turning and burning. Get the bike safe and ridable and get to the next person in the queue. Liza wants to make sure we’re getting as many folks as possible on the road and riding.


Traffic control and telling our story. Beth is just a big ball of energy that needs a target. She ran all over tarnation this week making sure we had recycled T-shirts with our logo ready to sell for this event. Then she sold $80 worth of shirts today, while keeping the queue of folks waiting happily and even recruiting a new mechanic,Nick — who ran home,changed into grubbies, and came with a stand and tools. Nick ended up fixing a kid’s Giant with a disassembled rear derailleur. I hope he comes back. Lest we forget, this paragraph is about Beth, and she rules.

Joe: had to work today. But he’s another mechanic that just does stuff and is reliable and steadfast as a swiss watch.

Ben and Kathleen — both gone for the weekend, but must be mentioned as they are both very into the growth and vision of P2P.


Sweaty bastard trying to keep up. My challenge today was finding a replacement crankset for a guy with a walmart bmx where the pedal threads on the cranks were stripped. These two guys showed up in a cab and had to ride home, so we had to get this bike going. I tried a one-piece crank from an old Schwinn Varsity but it was too narrow. Turns out, Ken’s clients had two Roadmasters — one for parts and one to ride. They left one there and the cranks fit. It was very satisfying to see that kid do his BMX hopping/tricking on the fixed up bike that came out of the trunk of cab an hour or so previous.

We’re building something here and I’m excited about it. It’s great to fix up bikes for folks. People are so grateful. I read somewhere recently that some researchers somewhere have shown that there is some kind of receptor/neurological chemical thing that happens when you do something selfless for people. The resulting feeling is similar to sex or good drugs. It sounded like hooey to me when I read it, but I think I’m becoming a convert. There have been a couple moments over the last month or so where I was able to give to folks for no reason other than because I had something to give. There was a strong and lasting something there that happened — and it was good. I say this only to inform, not to sound my own drum or whatever. If you are bummin, go do something nice for someone. Do it because you can. I bet you’ll be surprised.

Lastly, I’m psyched about our next goal: fixing up 22 bikes for the folks that are waiting in our queue. Our goal is to do this by the end of August. We really really need little kid bikes. We have adult bikes and we’re set there, but we need kid bikes: think 12″, 16″, and 20″ wheels. If you have one to donate, let us know and we’ll come and get it.

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