BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: fixing bicycles for the homeless

Mobile Bicycle Repair Unit-Back in Action!

It’s been a few months since we’ve been out fixing bicycles for the homeless community of Santa Ana. It wasn’t until I received an email from our resident Doctor-Biker, Doc Li asking when the next event would be. After some calendar checking and asking our wives which date would work, we headed out to Civic Center and Ross in Santa Ana, Ca.

The weather was a crazy hot, 95 degrees with about 50% humidity. Needless to say it was we were sweating before we even did anything. I loaded up my mini van with all the tools and parts that we received from our various sponsors such as Two Wheels One Planet of Costa Mesa, Planet Bike and Freedom by WTB. We also had received a cash donation from our favorite Cop, Officer Ben, which allowed us to purchase additional hard goods for the event.

mobile bicycle repair by bikecommuters.com

Locked and loaded with parts, tools and water to pass out to the homeless…it was a hot day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our way out!

The Moe and RL. These are the two Original Founders of BikeCommuters.com

The Moe and RL. These are the two Original Founders of BikeCommuters.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upon arrival, we immediately got set up. We had our EZ-UP to shield us from the sun, had our two work stands ready, got the tools out. As soon as we were ready, things got busy. Word quickly spreads in the community that we are providing FREE BICYCLE REPAIR SERVICES.Doc Li is our most loyal volunteer. He's ALWAYS available when set up these events. We're really grateful for his help.Doc Li is our most loyal volunteer. He’s ALWAYS available when set up these events. We’re really grateful for his help. The Moe is a major asset in our efforts because he is our translator. 70% of our “customers” speak Spanish, so he makes it easier to communicate with them. There have been times when I didn’t have a translator with me and that proved to be difficult. Giving back to the community. Giving back to the community is always rewarding. Even though our volunteer count was low this time, we did manage to help out at least 20 bicycles. The most common issues we see and this is where Two Wheels One Planet helped us out with are brake pads.They donated a good amount of pads for the cause. Almost ALL of the bicycles we fixed had some sort of braking issue. Some of them didn’t even have any brakes! With that in mind we replaced cables, housing and brake pads. We also made sure that all the bicycles had a well lubed drive train.

As we’re working away there was a gentleman who was just standing watching us. He started asking questions why we were out there, and if we were affiliated with any religious organization. So I briefly gave him our back story that at one point in time, I was coming out there to help feed the homeless with my church, but once I saw there were so many bicycles, I knew this was a greater need that needed to be addressed. With the help of various corporate sponsors and generous individuals, we’ve managed to keep this initiative going strong for a couple of years now. He was pretty impressed on what we were doing and thanked us for providing this service. I told him it’s the least we can do, we’ve been blessed with the ability to fix bicycles, we’re pretty good at it, so we might as well use our talents to serve others.

If you’re interested in taking part of our next event by either volunteering, donating hard goods or funds, feel free to reach out to us: info@bikecommuters.com

Mobile Bicycle Repair Unit: Helping again

Just this past Sunday we gathered some volunteers to help out with the Mobile Bicycle Repair Unit. We had a mix of mountain bikers and bike commuters.

We had a total of 4 work stations.

From left to right, Andrew C., Seth, and Jon A. Sometimes repairs were a team effort.

Officer Ben was on site to help out. He was our translator for the day.
Officer Ben.

We welcome volunteers of all ages. This is Little Andrew C. He was very helpful in doing whatever we needed him to do. From lubing chains, to pumping tires, he would put in 100% for each task. In fact, he was showing Gabe Thunda how it’s done. This is actually Gabe’s second time coming out; he’s got a great heart in wanting to serve. Much like Andrew C., he puts so much effort into any task given to him.

One of our other young volunteers is Joey H. Though he hasn’t had much experience in working on bicycles, he was out there willing to learn and to serve.

Andrew “Doc” Li (wearing bandana) was there again. We call him Doc for the mere fact that he’s a real life Doctor. I really should ask him about a clicking sound that my jaw makes while I’m eating… Doc is working on a rear wheel that belonged to the gentleman on the left of the photo.
doc li

This is Super Dan, He’s part of the MtnBikeRiders.com Race Team.

One of the services we do provide is wheel truing. The story behind this wheel is the owner said that someone inadvertently locked his bike at a rack. So he kept pulling and yanking on his bike to see if he could break the lock free. He did, but it messed up his rear wheel. When he came to us, the rear wheel was pretty bad. But I was able to true it enough where he could safely use his rear brakes.

Little Andrew showing the tires and tubes we replaced that day.

By the end of the day we had serviced quite a few bicycles. The most common repairs remain to be brake pads, chain lube and cables. I can’t even recall how many bikes we replaced shifter/brake cable and housing. So all those donations we received — from anonymous sources to the ones that were donated by people/companies we know — thank you! Your donations helped tremendously. We’re hoping to get more items like brake pads, tubes, some chemicals and possibly a new work stand.

I know that we have the manpower each time with ample amount of volunteers, but we just need more support via monetary donations and hard goods. There are several ways you can help and I’ve written a guide showing you how to do so: Help Mobile Bicycle Repair.

Mobile Bicycle Repair Unit: Five Guys with Big Hearts

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.

This was at the beginning. Later on a large line had formed. I lost count of how my bicycles we serviced.

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:

One of the more common problems we had: shifter cables and housing that needed to be replaced.

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!”

From left to right: David Peckham, Gabe Preda, Moe Ramirez, RL Policar and Andrew Li.

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.