I'm a little late posting this, but these go on until November
The 2010 season has begun, fresh food meets freshly-tuned bikes -- right in your neighborhood! Four District farmers' markets are hosting free bike repair clinics. Get your squishy tires inflated, flat
ones fixed, squeaky chain lubed, sketchy brakes adjusted, and more! Don't
bike yet? Get advice on what to buy, where to shop, and then, where to ride.
Come out to one of the markets listed for delicious shopping and
service, all in one shot.
Think this is the best idea since sliced seasonal fruit? Well, after
you get tuned up, you can help out, too! No repair skills? No problem. (A
few basic repair skills - or more, even better.) Email the contact below at
the market nearest your house. Not sure which one to pick, or just want
more info? Contact Kristin (Mt. Pleasant) at email@example.com
Kids from the neighborhood, most of them low-income, many of them
from immigrant families, volunteer to work in the shop's "earn-a-bike"
program. After 25 hours of learning how to fix flats, true wheels and
answer phones, each 12- to 17-year-old is given a free bike, a prize
that some of them might never have been able to afford.
Then, if they want, the teens help plan the group's rides and off they
go, on trips such as the 90-mile riding and camping event along the
Chesapeake and Ohio canal path that some of them took with volunteer
leaders last summer. Others are entering mountain bike races. There are
shorter rides every Saturday.
I've met some of the kids and they have so much enthusiasm. I'd love to see a similar program set up at the old Boys and Girls club on the Hill (in my neighborhood).
It turns out that some of the kids like to hang out around the bike
shop, so they are given larger projects: build a bike from scratch,
construct an equipment shelf, color-code the tools. Stick to it, and
they can earn another bike, and another, and trick them out as much as
The kids are learning riding and safety techniques, basic bike repair,
business, planning and leadership skills, a lifelong fitness habit,
proper nutrition, environmental awareness and confidence in themselves.
They seem to do better in school. They go places and see things they
might never have dreamed of if those two wheels and their own two legs
hadn't taken them out of the Barcroft Park area.
"Bikes are just sort of the vehicle we use to teach them all these
skills," Fox says.
And there is more in the comments
I had the pleasure of working with a few "graduates" from Phoenix who
had moved into the retail cycling industry - all top notch kids, who are
now blessed with a true passion for cycling and a respect for the
culture that surrounds it. The bicycle industry is a small but tightly
woven family, and having young kids entering it through Phoenix not only
helps the kids learn something they won't necessarily get in school,
but also seeds the industry with smart, caring, and highly functional
Phoenix Bikes is located near both the W&OD trail and Four Mile Run Trail. It's located inside Barcroft Park. The park's street address is 4200 S. Four
Mile Run Drive. Park in the main lot of Barcroft Park, walk to the
street, turn right on the Four Mile Run sidewalk, and walk several
hundred feet. The shop is located on your right, behind yet another
park building and next to the tennis courts. If you pass the tennis
courts and see Woofs Doggy Daycare Center, you've walked too far.
Hours for bike repairs (and sales) are Friday 3-7:30pm and Saturday 10am
Alexandria has a new bicycle coop, Velocity Bicycle Cooperative, along the lines of the Bike House. It's a community-based cooperative that will soon provide a place for DIY bike maintenance, bike clinics, and bike youth programs in Old Town.
This is a place to hang out and enjoy bicycling.
They're going to be opening the doors for the first time on May 1, so check them out.