Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday afternoon (at the Nunnery)

Today, Randy and I went to the bike workshop in Newtown at "The Nunnery" in Forbes Street. I had no idea what the set up would be like, but basically its an informal group of people who just fix bikes. They help other people fix their bikes and giving bikes to people who need them. The bikes were collected from Council rubbish nights and have been divided up between those which are currently being worked on by people, those that have been finished and are ready to give away, and those that can be used for parts. One girl who was an exchange student turned up having heard that she could get a bike there. Within 10mins she had a new bike. A couple of young kids from the area turned up to get help fixing their bikes. I worked with one of them and put a new tube in the rear wheel but I also realised that wheels spokes where all loose and I couldn't fix that. I think the whole concept of the community bike workshop is brilliant as it demonstrates how easy it is to rebuilt things from waste and how with a little effort and good will people can be productive in a way that is not contingent on some profit motive. This was real social capital at work. The idea of giving bikes to people is also a covert form of activism as the more people get ridding the harder it will be for the government to ignore the demands for proper bike infrastructure. There is simply no excuse not to have a bike when you can get one for free.

We got to work on Malvern Star and managed to fine a new rear wheel that was almost the same as the one we had. I also found some racing style hand bars to stick on the front of the bike. They look completely wrong but until I get a new headset they'll do. We found lots of bolts, spacers and washers to secure both the wheels to the frame. Unfortunately I left the tubes and chain at home so we couldn’t do any more work on the bike that day.

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