BICAS Build A Bike Class

I took a great class the last 9 weeks, every Monday night, called Build A Bike and taught at BICAS, a local bicycle non-profit that offers a wide selection of bike-related services:  a huge basement full of salvaged bike parts, access to tools and mechanics to help with your own bike repairs, classes, parts and of course, bicycles to buy. It’s a very creative, hip space.

I am a complete klutz with tools or mechanical things, so this class was a challenge for me conceptually, but once I got going and thought about it I was able to complete all the bike tasks.  We split up into pairs, were given an old wreck of a bike, and spent 9 weeks taking it apart and fixing it up.

This is a lovely old Campagnolo road bike, probably 30–40 years old; it’s all Italian, super-light and very classy. This is how it looked today in it’s bike repair stand, waiting for the last minor repair: replacing the tire on the rear wheel.

I think I had the best partner in our class, this is me and 12 year old Preston, the only kid in our class; he was really smart with tools, friendly and not driven by ego, as some adults are when it comes to bikes. Here we are with our finished, rebuilt Campagnolo road bike:

I was wearing my work clogs, but still was able to barely hop on this bike and ride it down the street; it was so light, slim, narrow: compared to my big get-around-town bike, this one was light as a breeze.

On my way out of class tonight, I had a flashback when I saw this pair of 1973 Schwinn 3-speeds propped in a corner and ready for sale; the ladies’ 3-speed looked like the one I rode when I was 7, which was in 1974. My mom had a purple Schwinn 3 speed, it was the first grown-up bike I could ride (I was tall for my age) and the first bike in which I completely crashed and had to get stitches, also when I was 7. These bikes tonight looked kind of small, but I remember the Ladies Schwinn 3-speed as very large and representing the grown-up world.

It was funny to see that bike again. Only somewhere like BICAS!

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