RBL co-op is abuzz with a flurry of bike wrenching happiness

The Re-Bicycle Lenawee Co-op was open Saturday from 11a to 4p, and the place was totally hopping. Bill, Jim, John, Gary, Dennis, and myself were there working on various projects, and five teen-aged kids from the neighborhood were also hanging out working on bikes that they soon hope to claim as their own.

The way we have things set up allows clients to select whatever bike they’d like from those available. So how cool is this: one of the kids in the shop today opted for a wicked stylish orange tricycle.

While Bill, Gary, and Dennis spent the bulk of their time helping everyone else, John worked on shining up the old Fuji Special Road Racer that he began tearing into last year, which had just been reassembled. It was looking mighty sharp by the time he left.

Meanwhile, when he wasn’t snapping these pictures, Jim was drafting plans and a list of needed supplies for a utility trailer he’s dreaming up. He envisions a dedicated shop bike with a pull-behind trailer and a sign that we can use to promote the shop, pick up donated bikes and other stuff, and so on.

Finally, I made plans to go to the shop to work on one thing, arrived at the shop with something else, and ended up spending my time on yet another thing. But more on that in another post.

A lot of good came out of these five hours. I was in dire need for some bike therapy. The fact that so many kids were hanging out putting in time to earn a bike and learning how to wrench in the process, not to mention benefiting from some positive interaction with adults. But the greatest thing about our time at the shop on Saturday afternoon, I think, is that everyone was just hanging out doing their thing, and bikes were at the heart of it all.

This co-op just keeps getting better and better.


17 responses to “RBL co-op is abuzz with a flurry of bike wrenching happiness

  1. Awesome post. Now if we could just get some more solid consistent hours……..

    • Oh so very true… Can you imagine how many people would show up if we were open every Wednesday evening from 4:00 to 9:00 pm and Saturdays from 11:00 to 5: pm with out fail? I think that is the key to the RBL’s future really, regular predictable weekly hours…

  2. When we reach that point — and we certainly will — we need to figure out some way of keeping the chaos in check. There were a few times today when it felt like we tripping over each other (not to mention bikes and parts and tools).

    This isn’t a gripe. I actually think there’s more than enough room, and I also realize that we’re still in the process of getting things set up and organized.

    But I could see some advantages to setting up, say, half-a-dozen clearly designated work stations, with no more than one job/project going on at each station at any given time. Eventually, we could distinguish between stations designated for the shop and other stations available on an hourly basis for RBL/co-op visitors.

    Anyway, back to the more pressing issue of keeping the doors open: how do we do that? Jim has mentioned recruiting some retirees. I think that’s a brilliant idea. So where do we find them?

  3. Ha ha. Sorry that didn’t work out for you, Bill. I like the idea of networking better than placing an ad, though the latter might still be worth doing It’s gotta’ be the right sort of folks, you know.

  4. Great post Scott. Saturday was the kind of shop day I have been praying for since we got off the ground! Great fellowship and a lot of idea swapping. We will get regular hours, but it looks like we can support Wednesdays and Saturdays for the time being…

  5. Anything happening this upcoming wednesday? I don’t work and would love to stop by again.

  6. I’m off this coming Thursday and Friday. I’d like to set up a time for those days with some company perhaps…

  7. Well keep me posted about this wednesday if you could.

  8. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you regular planed hours that the RBL should be open each week;

    Each Saturday from 12:00 Noon to 4:00 PM and each Wednesday from 12:00 Noon to 4:00 PM.
    Please realize that these hours are not set in stone (yet), but every effort will be made by me and the RBL’s host of volunteers to maintain these hours. Further, if the “open” sign is out front, regardless of what day or time, a volunteer is there and the RBL is open for your use.

    Again, I wish to thank all who have made the RBL possible!

  9. Paul H Downs

    Was looking to see if you could use another volunteer. I live right here in Adrian and I work 3rd shift so usually sleeping 12:00-18:00 (but can vary an hour or so) I have almost 40 years on bikes. Have done most of my maintanance myself. Some of my cycling history- started out at 8 with a stingray, various bikes up until the military. After getting out spent 4 yrs in WA state on a Sears 12 speed avg about 8k miles a year the 4.5 years I lived there ( no car) upgraded to a Miyata hybrid when I moved back to MI. 5 yrs later upgraded to a 97′ Cannondale F900 which I still use and just last year got back into the roadie on a new Trek 1.1 Alpha. I donated an old 84″ Schwinn LeTour I saved form the trash after riding it for a year also pulled a Trek 800 and Giant Gotchya bmx from the trash and refurbished for my son over the last few years. So have a little experience on bikes but always learning. I love bikes and am known as the crazy guy that rides to work in the winter during blizzards. If you could use another person who loves to spend his life behind (handle)bars I’d be more than happy to assist Also be a great way for me to meet other like minded people for some riding company.

    • Hey Paul. Thanks for dropping by the blog, and especially for indicating your interest in the co-op. You sound like the perfect candidate: you’re willing, able, over-qualified, and adrift with more time than you know what to do with! Just the sort of person we’re looking for! OK, so, you’re welcome to drop in any time the shop is open and meet the crew. Or, if those times won’t work with your schedule, email Jim Manley directly to coordinate a time when he can meet you there and give you the nickel tour.

  10. Paul H Downs

    I’d like to Thank Bjll and the guys at the RBL shop for the tour and conversation we had on their program this last Saturday. I had a great time hangin out for the couple hours I was in the shop talkin bikes and seeing how things went ( I believe 2 bikes were given away while I was there) Good atmosphere and good people at the shop and plan to be back as often as my shift allows to start helping out. I’m not the best at names at first so cant remember all I talked to. Bill I remember because of the typo (Bjll), Gary was one of the last ones I talked with, the gentleman that I discussed my background with and filled out my info forms for (sorry fergot your name) and Bob , who I believe had stopped in as I did to see the shop. As I said before a great time hanginout with bike minded people no matter what their interests is always a good time and I’m glad to have found such a group. Thanks again for your time, great job on your program and look forward to seein the group again.

  11. Thanks’ Paul
    Everyone is welcome at the RBL! Come work on your bike, volunteer or just hang out and drink our coffee. I foresee our location becoming a bike social hot spot for Adrian and the surrounding areas.
    Hope to see you soon!

    • Paul H Downs

      Well this last Saturday I helped set up my first customer with a bike, got it outfitted and adjusted to her needs as well as passing on some cycling knowledge to help her on her way. Was a great feeling seeing someone going off on a bike with a smile. Shop was pretty active and just a good all around day. Not seein any rain was also a great big plus! Looking forward to many more days sending out smiling riders.

  12. You may have noticed that we are mentioned in the #12 issue of Bicycle Times in the article Community Bike Shops?
    Yea, that was us…