Portland is known as a bike-friendly city–labeled a “Platinum Status Bike-Friendly Community” by the League of American Bicyclists, Portland has the highest percentage of bicycle commuters of any major American city, 350 miles of bikeways, and 188 miles of bike lanes. Bicycles are considered by many to be an integral part of the culture of of Portland.
But as with many other “facts” about Portland, the truth doesn’t necessarily apply to far East Portland. The roads in this part of town are not as bike-friendly as Platinum Status might indicate. Glass and potholes, gravel and unfriendly drivers take a toll on bikes. Out here, bike shops are hard to find–the nearest one is about four miles away. That’s a long way to push a broken bike. And who’s got money to pay for repairs anyway?
So we’re taking matters in our own grease-stained hands. With the generous help of the Rosewood Initiative’s donation of workspace, tool access and discounted/donated parts, we’re using Wednesday afternoons to fix bikes. We have fixed up a mountain bike from Goodwill; we are working to get a donated bmx bike in working order; we helped make Kevin’s bike work a little better; we’ve got a frame and some wheels donated by Rosewood that we are going to turn into a sweet commuter bicycle; at least one of our students is going to bring his own bike in for repairs.
Students have learned about replacing cables and adjusting brakes and derailluers. They have cleaned up dirty parts, banged up their knuckles, and replaced bearings. We’re getting good at using wrenches, cable clippers, and crank pullers. We’re starting to know our way around Rosewood Initiative, a cool neighborhood place that everyone should know. Confidence is growing, skills are being built, and relationships are being strengthened. We will get these bikes out on the road and reclaim our two-wheeled rights to the roads of East Portland.
btw..The Giant mountain bike pictured below may be for sale. Get in touch if you’re interested.