RAB Ladies Repair
Continuing with our NYC bike month coverage, last week I had the chance to shoot at Recycle-A-Bicycle in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Recycle-A-Bicycle takes donated bicycles, repairs them and reintroduces them to the community through earn-a-bike programs in schools and sales from their non-profit retail locations. Although their work mainly focuses on environmental education and job training programs for New York City youth, they also host repair classes for people of all ages. Every Tuesday evening after the shop closes, Susan Lindell teaches bike mechanics 101 to women. Check out this video on Ladies Repair Night.
Susan Lindell: [00:05] We were doing a women’s bike repair night. It happens every Tuesday from 7 to 9 at Recycle-A-Bicycle, 35 Pearl Street.
Susan Lindell: [00:18] The cool thing about it is that almost all the people who come to these classes are beginners. They’ve never worked on bikes before.
Lisa Stein: [00:26] Volunteer nights are a chance for folks to come in and work on our parts and bicycles and help with our mission of recycling. We found that we had more men than women coming to Volunteers night and that women didn’t feel they got as much space.
Susan Lindell: [00:40] Some women are definitely intimidated to work in an environment where… if there’s men there…
Karyn Rodus: [00:44] Yeah, I thought that it was cool that it was specifically for women. You know I guess men seem to think they’re, you know, more knowledgeable sometimes about mechanics, but I was impressed.
Lisa Stein: [00:52] Susan, who teaches Ladies Night learned via Ladies Night, and I think that there is a tremendous cycle of people learning and teaching and passing along what they learn.
Susan Lindell: [01:02] I had moved to New York and someone gave me a bike. I rode it even though it was way too big for me. And then it broke. I decided that I would try and fix it myself, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. So I went to a workshop to try and learn how to fix my bike. I kind of got really interested in fixing bikes and I was coming to the workshops here, Recycle-A-Bike.
Susan Lindell: [01:27] People want to just see like the bike, sort of how it works and have the mystery of it taken away. Tonight we were working on this bicycle and nothing had been done on the bike, so when we start out what we do is just start to take things apart and rebuild them. And so we took apart a bottom bracket, we took the cranks off, pulled the bottom bracket out, reassembled all of that and the same with the headset, took it all apart, reassembled it.
Lindsay Reinhardt: [01:58] I’ve never done this before. Actually I need to do it to my bike and I was afraid to do it cos I didn’t want to mess it up, but maybe I’ll try now.
Susan Lindell: [02:05] Then we had someone else truing up the wheels.
Lindsay Reinhardt: [02:08] I think that the wheel is true. It is even on either side of the callipers.
Susan Lindell: [02:15] Tonight we had a lot of new people for Bike Month.
Lindsay Reinhardt: [02:18] I came here tonight cos I’ve ridden bikes for years and I don’t know very much about how to work on them, so I just took them to shops. So I thought free lesson in bike maintenance, why not? It’s been really great so far. I would’ve never done any of this on my own.
Karyn Rodus: [02:32] I cycle all the time but I just have very little knowledge of what makes a bicycle work or fixing anything. Even like filling my tyres up with air is like a struggle, so I have to always bring it to the bike shops. So I just want to learn more about my bike and be able to take care of it myself a little bit. So it was definitely very useful to see what they do here. Some of it was definitely way over my head, but just the part about the tyres was helpful and I’ll practice on my own bike and hopefully learn more.
Susan Lindell: [02:58] If you come to these workshops and learn about bikes, there’s a good chance you’re going to be able to work on your own bike then.
Gary Fisher bike, I got it recycled by… I was here on another recycling
project Downtown Brooklyn and I walked by this place, I thought I’m
looking for a bicycle, saw this. I’ve been looking for a bike
that fits, it’s got flat tyres.