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Beach Cruisers, Repair, and Bikerowave

Feb 14, 2010 by Lindsay Pullin

In college, I had a beach cruiser that I would ride to class. Back then, my bike was parked outside and I literally didn’t lift a finger to maintain it.  It was heavy, and not at all convenient to ride, but it was fun and was faster than walking.

I discarded it immediately after graduation, because I figured my days of biking to class were over because it was time for me to “buckle up.” After all, I was now in the “real world,” where I’m going to be working every day, right?

True, but I made the fatal error of discarding my beloved beach cruiser. Now, I miss the wind in my hair, how I could park close to my destination of choice, and never having to pump gas into my lovable cruiser.

Of course, bicycle riding’s benefits are numerous and are extensive:

It’s good for your health, your wallet, the environment, it’s easy to park, it’s cheap, and you don’t need a “parking spot.”

However, the ever increasing bike movement can seem a little trickier than just buying a bike, as one must learn to maintain their bike as well.

Bikerowave

Sometimes the bicycling community—like most others–can seem like an impossible bunch ("What do you mean, you own a car? I ride 82 miles to work every day!"), but if you’re like many, joining the biking community is fun; and sharing information while learning about how to care for your bike, along with other tips, is helpful and handy—especially when you can get “the scoop” directly from bicycle mechanics.

Bikerowave, a DIY bike fix-it co-op, located at 12255 Venice Blvd. in LA, is a great resource for learning, riding, and fixing all-things-bikes, as their mission statement is indicative of their commitment:

Bikerowave’s primary mission is to empower the cycling public by providing affordable hands-on education about bicycle repair and maintenance. We aim to provide the space and tools necessary to assist cyclists in repairing and maintaining their own bicycles. We also seek to serve as a community center for Westside cyclists by providing a venue for gatherings and events. We are a not-for-profit, all-volunteer organization that strives to be eco-friendly in all aspects of its operation. We believe the success of our mission will lead to a safer, stronger, larger and more vital Westside cycling community.

My friend and I were clueless about how to put new tubes in her tires, and felt embarrassed. We also felt apprehensive about going to a "Do it yourself" bike shop, as we know nothing about how to fix bikes all.  We arrived on a Saturday morning, and checked our egos at the door–ready to learn whatever we could about fixing a flat tire. 

Great folks from Bikerowave

We were told to sign waivers once we entered, basically saying Bikerowave is not liable for any injury we may sustain while using their tools, and then a very (very) patient volunteer named John walked us through the (not so difficult as it turns out) process of putting new tubes on the wheels.  Afterwards, we spent some time aligning the wheels by tightening spokes, something I had never thought about doing before, but it turned out to be fun. 

Bikerowave was filled with good natured volunteers, who chimed out advice when necessary, and went about their own business when their expertise was not required. 

(Whitney, who is featured in this video, is not the author of this article, but she blogs over at Eco-Vegan Gal. Check it out.)

Bikerowave charges a fee of $7 per hour to use their tools (or $150 for an annual membership), and the opportunity to ask volunteers for advice or a “how to session,” as well as the opportunity to go about your business unhampered–with free reign over the tools you need to do your business. 

Bike parts are available at reasonable prices, so be prepared to feel empowered when you learn something new about fixing your own bike, as well as feeling good about saving some money by doing it yourself.  To bring your bike in for a tune up, and learn how to do it yourself with all the necessary tools at your reach, it’s twice the fun and doubles the pleasure.

Justin Adra

A lot of people have owned bikes since childhood, and couldn’t change their own tires.  Gaining this knowledge gives bike owners a sense of pride. 

With all of the potholes in Los Angeles, flat tires are more common than you think, so carrying an extra tube (and the knowledge to use it) should provide confidence.

As John, who has been volunteering for almost 2 years,  put it, "In an age when most people get nervous just opening the hood on their cars, it’s pretty awesome to have a means of transportation that you can take apart and put back together with a minimum of drama."

Here’s a list of upcoming events at Bikerowave:

Feb 16th – Fix a flat 6:45 – 9:30 [Level 1]

Mar 2th – Roadside Bike Mechanics 6:45 – 9:30 PM [Level 2]

Mar 16th – Fix a flat 6:45 – 9:30 [Level 1]

Mar 30th – Roadside Bike Mechanics 6:45 – 9:30 [Level 2]

Apr. 6th – Fix a flat 6:45 – 9:30 [Level 1]

When Travelin’ Local, whether your beach cruising, riding on the streets, trails, or other routes, it’s always good to know the basics of fixing any number of bike problems should they arise.

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