I Got This Bike for Free. Lessons in Bike Maintenance, Too
Fifteen hours at Community Cycles and I came away not only with a thousand times more knowledge about how a bike works—and how to keep it working and fix it when it's not—but also an awesome new (to me) bike that I fixed up (mostly) myself.
I enjoyed my hours as a volunteer so much that I did a few extra before going to pick out the bike I would call my own. It was a tough choice, they happened to have a few tempting bikes on hand, but this one just called out to me. It also happened to fit.
I applied my newly learned skills: replaced and realigned the brakes, replaced the tires and inner tubes, adjusted some loose spokes on the wheels, did a few other minor adjustments and I rode my new bike home—complete with a patch kit, lock, rack, and an obnoxiously loud bell. I love it.
Like so many other Community Cycles programs, it's such a great idea—educate people in the community about bikes and help them get into the habit of riding them regularly.
I'm a total cheerleader now for Community Cycles' Earn-A-Bike program, but I got curious to see what else like it exists, outside of Boulder. Turns out there are similar-ish programs around the country. A quick Google search found earn-a-bike programs in San Diego, Pittsburgh, New York, several in the Boston area, and elsewhere—and BikeCollectiveWiki has a pretty extensive list of community bike organizations grouped by state.
Find one near you and let us know how it goes!