Tuesday, April 9, 2019

refugee bikes UPDATE

So I began doing this project I think about 3 1/5 years ago. In that time, I've taken in dozens of seemingly dead bikes. Most of the whole bikes I've taken in were repairable, some with additional labor and parts, and today those bikes are out on the road somewhere.

Some of the bikes I've taken in were either way too fancy and lightweight to withstand the rigors of rainy-climate commuting; or they were inappropriate for Portland's hilly topography; or they were beyond repair and/or completely unsafe. These bikes were either sold off to raise funds for additional parts and accessories; or they were stripped down and the parts used on other bikes being tunedup for distribution.
To date I have tuned up or overhauled nearly 70 bikes, 65 of which are documented and numbered over on my Flickr page.

The latest one, numbered 65 (there are two or three that didn't get counted or photographed), is shown here, a gift from a member of my synagogue. It was a department store bike with a badly bent fork and front wheel. After bruising myself badly trying to straighten the fork, I gave up and accepted a fork from Kai at Upcycles, which fit beautifully without requiring any cutting down. Today, the bike is complete and ready to ride, and it rides just fine.

I continue to need some accessories to complete the bikes:

-- headlights and tailights, battery-operated, with mounting brackets;
-- locks, preferably U-locks with keys (cables are useless against bike thieves and combo locks are easier to hack and/or break)
-- patch kits and tire levers
-- 26" (559) x 1.5-1.95 Schrader inner tubes (even when in need of patching, this is the most needed size and valve type and the hardest to find affordably)

If you or someone you know has any of these sitting around unused, please consider sharing them with me so I can put them to work. I'd be grateful!


In other news, I'm continuing to enjoy #30daysofbiking, even with arthritic knees and hands. A hot bath with Epsom salts tonight really helped loosen things up. The last few rides have been filled with sights and sounds of Spring here in Oregon; unfolding buds and flowers, birdsong and the barking of new puppies out on their first walks in the neighborhood. I love this time of year, when it warms up just enough to wear only a sweater and rain shell; and it will be like this probably through May or even June. Our real summer won't show up until sometime in July, which is why we harvest tomatoes as late as October here. Right now, while friends in the midwest are showing off their first harvest of peas and lettuce, we haven't put anything in the ground here yet because it's still much too cold. But there's plenty of color to enjoy.

Wherever your bike takes you this week, happy riding!

Image may contain: plant, tree, grass, sky, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: one or more people, bicycle, tree and outdoor

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