Last night my wife took me to happy hour with some of her spinning friends. You know, those insane people that drive to a gym to ride a stationary bike while some “instructor” yells at them. I was nice and didn’t make too much fun of them.
Spouse was very anxious to introduce me to one of her friend’s sister who had expressed interest in doing the earn-a-bike program at Yellow Bike. They wanted me to explain the program and see if she wanted to get involved. When they walked up to the table I almost broke out in laughter. Turns out this person has been to the last two Monday morning shops and is already signed up for earn-a-bike. Last Monday she took on the thankless task of trying to repair a Murray bike-shaped object (BSO).
She struggled with adjusting the front hub after disassembly and cleaning. Couldn’t find the sweet spot with the cones. After at least 30 minutes we discovered that the axle was slightly bent. Found her a replacement and things went much smoother. I’ve had this happen so many times I’m going to include it in my instruction on hub overhaul. When the axle is out of the hub check it for straightness.
Then she proceeded to work on the seat post and saddle. She couldn’t get the seat post clamp tight enough to hold the post. I gave it my best shot but had the same problem. Introduced the calipers and seat tube measuring tool to the issue. The seat tube had a rare size and the post we were trying to install was 0.2 mm smaller. At that point we had run out of time so I left a note on the bike to either shim it or try to find the right size post. She took it well and didn’t seem to be too discouraged. Talking to her last night I got the sense that she’s going to stick it out.
This is one of the major challenges of the earn-a-bike program. Some of the repairs on donated bikes can be challenging. What volunteers learn in these situations really helps when they start building their bike. As many people learn very rapidly the “earn-a-bike” is not free. It takes a minimum of 24 hours of volunteer time and completing a repair list (each component on the bike). Conservatively, that’s easily $500 worth of labor that we get. What they get is a bike, that they built and now know how to maintain. Win-win.