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Tag Archive: moe ramirez

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.

Book Review: “Half Man, Half Bike” by William Fotheringham

The Spring Classics are over, and we’re getting close to the Grand Tour season in pro cycling…in this era of “specialists” who train for particular races, what better time than to present a review of a book about a man who could (and just about DID) win everything he entered — stage races, track events, one-day classics, kermises?

As many of you know, I’m a fan of the professional racing scene…and have been since the early 80s, when I dabbled in some racing of my own. Anyone who knows anything about professional cycling knows the name Eddy Merckx — a true legend in pro circles. Merckx’s many records may never be eclipsed and the utter dominance he displayed in his racing career is the stuff of dreams for most other pros.

When our friend Jen at the Independent Publishers Group offered to send me a copy of William Fotheringham’s Half Man, Half Bike: The Life of Eddy Merckx, Cycling’s Greatest Champion (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2012), I eagerly accepted! This is the second Fotheringham book we’ve reviewed, the first being Cyclopedia: It’s All About the Bike, and the third of his books I’ve read (his biography of Fausto Coppi is fantastic).

half_man

Let me just get this out of the way right up front: Fotheringham delivers once again! It is fair to say that he is my favorite cycling author…his combination of painstaking research and his ability to capture some very intimate human elements of his subjects makes his books a joy to read. As you might imagine, there are many dozens of books written about Merckx’s exploits during his racing career. Fotheringham thoughtfully distills much of this information into an easy-to-read and gripping tale.

As much as I love the post-war exploits of Coppi, Bartali and others, Merckx’s years in the peloton are my favorite “golden age” — when he and Van Springel, Anquetil, Gimondi, Godefroot, Ocana, Fuentes, de Vlaeminck, Sercu, Van Looy and many other notables duked it out on the roads and circuits throughout Europe.

Half Man, Half Bike begins as World War II is winding down and as Edouard Merckx is born in war-ravaged Kiezegem, Belgium. The author illustrates the difficult childhood Eddy had — including a stern, somewhat tyrannical father and a gentle mother who didn’t initially appreciate her son’s interest in racing. Merckx began his junior career in 1961, and found success quickly; his mother reluctantly agreeing to let him race rather than finishing his schooling. After winning the Belgian junior champion’s jersey in 1962, it wasn’t long before he made the jump to the pro ranks. And the rest, as they say, is history — with nearly 500 wins as a professional, including five wins each of the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, dozens of spring classics, and three World Roadracing Championships, his career was unparalled.

Fotheringham paints a vivid picture of Merckx’s quick rise to glory. He describes many of Merckx’s innermost thoughts about why he raced the way he did…the catalysts that drove him to dominate his rivals. The entire book is riveting — while I’ve heard many of the stories of Merckx’s wins on fabled Tour stages, the details Fotheringham presents truly capture the essence of the tactics, mindset and spirit of this champion. The author caught up with Merckx in the 90s and describes his post-racing business ventures and activities, but points out that:

What Merckx has given the sport can be seen in the way bike racing on the road has been perceived since his retirement. La course en tête as Merckx forged it remains the benchmark for the entire sport. The way he raced is the gold standard to which all professional cyclists and all their victories are compared.

If you like racing even half as much as I do, I cannot recommend this book enough. You’ll have a hard time putting it down. It’s readily available on the major online book retailers…so what are you waiting for?

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I missed a chance to meet Eddy Merckx at Interbike 2010. I got wrapped up talking to one of our advertisers and missed the “window of opportunity”. Luckily, my pal Moe had me covered — braving a long line to get me an autograph (being signed in the photo below):

moe_eddy

Congratulations to the Mtnbikeriders.com Racing Team!

As some of you might know, Bikecommuters.com is one of the sponsors of the Mtnbikeriders.com Racing Team. The team had an INCREDIBLE year, and we’re all extremely proud of their achievements. Heck, one of the team members came this close to a National Champion jersey in her division…

team

Check out coverage of the Southridge Racing Club’s “Southridge Series” annual awards ceremony, where our team took home a truckload of trophies and accolades by clicking here.

Here’s to a successful racing season in 2010 — all you “go-fasters” do us proud!