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This past Sunday afternoon I assembled another team of guys to join me in Santa Ana, Ca. to help fix bicycles for the homeless. This was my third outing fixing bicycles and it seems like the word is spreading in the local community. Every time I do show up, more and more people are bringing their bikes to be serviced. I was privileged to be joined by some great guys. You may recognize the name Moe Ramirez (The Moe); he was one of the original co-founders of BikeCommuters.com, along with our friend Gabe Preda and two of our fine readers, David Peckham and Andrew Li.
We met up at 3:30pm and set up shop. Once the locals found out that we were there, they all started showing up. We tried to work as fast as we could to address all the issues, but honestly, at a certain point, it got overwhelming. Most of these bikes are in so much disrepair that most of us here would either replace the whole bike or donate it to Goodwill. But for the folks there, this was their livelihood. Notice Dave on the left side of the photo. He put in some great effort on this beach cruiser that belonged to “Girl-Tony.” Though this bike looks pretty, it came to us with a loose bottom bracket, brakes not working, bent derailleur hanger and it wasn’t shifting. Girl-Tony got her name because there are 3 other people named Tony, but she was the only girl named Tony.
The repairs ranged from basic derailleur adjustments to full over-hauls. The most common problem we saw were non-working brakes. Either their pads were so worn out they couldn’t stop or their cables were frayed and broken. One of the guys we helped was telling us the that he was doored by a car which damaged his shifter and brakes. Due to the fact he didn’t have brakes, he got a ticket for it. So I made sure I installed a new shifter cable since it was damaged from the crash as well as adjusted his brakes.
Here’s Moe dealing with and old shifter housing problem:
Gabe and Andrew working together to replace cables. Notice Andrew’s DIY workstand. We’re hoping he can do a small write up on how he made it. That stand worked like a charm!
The team ended up working on so many bikes that when it was time to go, we couldn’t leave because there was still a long line of folks waiting for help. We cranked out a few more repairs and had to call it a day. Once again the locals appreciated it and we kept getting compliments, hand shakes and even “God bless you!”
It certainly a service that is much needed and we’re very grateful to be able to provide it. Our next scheduled event is on July 7th. We could sure use more help. All we ask is you bring a work stand, basic tools and a desire to help. We could also use some donations in the form of hard goods. From brake pads to brake/shifter cable/housing, tubes, tires, lubes, degreasers and any old bicycle parts you may not be using. You can either ship them to the BikeCommuters.com World HQ or if you’re local to Orange County, Ca., I can pick it up from you.
I do want to thank the guys that came to help. I really appreciate the heart and willingness to help out. One thing I do believe is that God has blessed me with the skill to fix bicycles and it’s my way of giving back to those who need the help. I hope our team of Mechanics can grow in the future and if you’re a Jr. High/High School student that needs community service hours, come out and help — I’ll sign off on your forms.