Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bike Culture in Carrboro

Back Alley Bikes: Best Bike Shop. They sell only used bikes, with no ridiculous Lexus-Bike showroom, they've got affordable repairs, awesome music choice and a gnarly old couch to lounge upon. The shop is manned by Jason (in the top picture), Rob, and Ben (in the second picture). With honest opinions, friendly faces, bikes with character, militant bike stickers, and down-to-earth people, the place feels like a bike shop should.

Then there is the Recyclery. It only took me so long to put this post up because I kept forgetting to take pictures of this place. I would go each week and get caught up with the bikes and forget to shoot. Every Sunday from noon to five, as long as it's not raining and it's above 55 degrees, the barn (shown in the last image) opens up. Inside and out is some sort of bike graveyard, full of bikes and bike parts waiting for the right owner to come by and bring them back to life. A lot of community children come by, volunteer 10 hours (or are supposed to), we help them repair or pull a bike together, and they take a bike home in exchange. Other people can do that, too.
Inside the barn are all the tools you'll really need to work on a bike, and between all the people there is all the knowledge and experience you'll need to work on a bike. From what I can tell, there are two "head guys", but the whole thing is free form, who organize it, Rich and Chris, whose last names I don't know. Chris's mom works the sign in desk when you walk in (shown above).

If you've the inclination, you can work on your own bike project, the Blue Urban Bikes Project, help a kid fix up their new bike, or you can do general volunteer work. The first time I went I took apart supposedly recalled bikes with frames sawed in half, but all new components. Strange, but it was great. I wasn't attached to the bikes, so I could just focus on taking things apart! Take it apart and you'll learn how it works.We've got wide bike lanes! (It's Carrboro!)

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