RBL Keeps Rollin’

With all the pressure to secure the right physical location for operations, it’s worth noting what a great day was had on a recent Wednesday at Re-Bicycle Lenawee. Here is a short rundown, from Jim Manley, onfthe activity from 12p to 4p. The raindrops, gray sky, and chilly temperature were no match for the enthusiasm and smiles all around!

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The usual suspects all showed up to volunteer. Bill, Dennis, Gary, and Ryan stayed busy the whole time taking care of people and their bicycles. Bob Bale is back from Alabama and anxious to help out at the shop. His enthusiasm is energizing. Speaking of volunteer potential, Kurt came in looking for repairs to his Trek. He was missing his front brakes. As we chatted it, became clear that he had a real love of bicycles and real mechanic experience. He had ridden the DALMAC as a teenager and worked in a Sterling Heights bicycle shop in the 70s. For those of you who know Gary and his love of “vintage” bicycles, he smiled when Kurt mentioned the Raleigh he had stored in the attic. Kurt mades plans to on Saturday. He is living at The Lenawee Mission and is going to work on the bicycles they have for the men.

Myra came in with her approved application to be fitted for her bicycle. She brought Samantha and Zachary with her, so it was a family outing. After explaining style, sizing, and fit, she found the perfect bicycle for her in the back room. We went through the ABC check with her. She learned to inflate tires, to safety check the brakes, and to inspect and lube the drive train. We fitted her helmet and she went for a test ride in the rain. The smile on her face as she rode back to me on Frank Street made it all worthwhile. As we processed Myra, Sam and Zach were watching intently. Before they left, Myra asked if we might be able to help the kids get their bikes ready to ride with their mom — exactly part of our mission! About an hour later they all returned and we were able to put the whole family on two wheels. Samantha and Zach thanked Bill and Dennis several times for all their help.

Ginger came with her mom and her approved application for a new bike. We processed her just like Myra and the children and soon she was riding her red and white Schwinn mountain bike. You can see in the pictures the wonderful job Dennis does shining up these donated bicycles. Ginger shared her plan to get her whole family on bicycles this summer. Ginger wants to volunteer beyond her application commitment and we are looking forward to having her on the roster.

Bo is a young man living in Adrian. He just got hired at Culvers on South Main, but he lives on the other side of town. He heard about Re-Bicycle Lenawee and our bicycles available for donation. He picked out a bicycle Gary got as a donation and it fit him perfectly. Obviously Frank Street is the official “joy” street in Adrian. Ginger and Bo were smiling just like Myra and the kids as they rode back up the street to the shop.

I asked Bo how he intended to get to work from his house. Naturally, was going to take the same route as a car, but he talked about riding on the sidewalk to be “safe.” We got out the city street map and we created a bicycle route for his commute to work. Instead of using the main dense traffic routes, he is going to use the Kiwanis Trail and the neighborhood streets that will get him to his destination without heavy car traffic. We are giving all riders a pamphlet from LMB (the League of Michigan Bicyclists). “What Every Rider Should Know” is a great resource to help teach bicyclists about safe and effective cycling. Every person that has received a bicycle from our organization has been surprised by their right and legal obligation to use the same roads as the motorized traffic. We are teaching people to leave the sidewalks to the pedestrians!

Don and Becky came into the shop with his Giant mountain bike. Don participated in the presentation at the Centre. He took us up on our invitation to check out the shop. He was curious about bicycle fit for safe and comfortable riding, so Gary stated the education process. After helping him make the necessary adjustments to his seat and handlebar height, he could really tell the difference. Education is so important to creating enthusiastic bicyclist.

Just as Dennis and I were closing up, two more guys rode up on bikes. After Kurt left the shop, he went out and told others about the shop. Both guys are coming back on Saturday to learn more about their primary transportation mode, the bicycles they ride. It impressed me how important word of mouth is to our mission. You just never know where the “six degrees of separation” will take us!

Enjoy the pictures. You can see the “mission accomplished” on their faces.

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6 responses to “RBL Keeps Rollin’

  1. Holy crap- two updates in one day? Me thought you fell off the earth or something!

  2. Were you ill? I’m glad you are updating again, I thought something happened and hope everything is alright if it did happen.

    • Thanks for your concern, guys. Really. What a stand up bunch o’ fellas. I wasn’t ill; just crazy busy with work, overwhelmed, and spending far too little time with (or on) by bike, which meant having next to nothing to say on the blog. I’m really looking forward to catching up.