Eight weeks ago I left from Reno for a week long bicycle tour down the California coast. It was pretty cool. After that, I worked as the sole bicycle mechanic at a summer camp for seven weeks. It was a camp for Boy Scouts, ages ten to seventeen. I learned a couple of things.
1) Kids bikes are serious business: No matter what you’ve seen, the general condition of a child’s bicycle will never cease to amaze you. I eventually learned to stop asking how something could happen, and just started to work and fix whatever was wrong. Occasionally there was stuff that just couldn’t be fixed with the tools at hand (how do you split crank arm like that? Right down the middle). There was stuff that just didn’t make sense (why does this bmx bike have a Dura-Ace seat post?). All in all, it was a good experience of learning how to repair bikes with close to nothing.
2) Mountain biking is fun: I usually ride my bicycle to get places. So riding down a hill just to ride back up a hill, or riding a single track just to ride back down, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. It may not make sense to me, but it is really fun.
3) Cities without non-profit bike shops or bike co-ops are seriously missing out. Going without this resource makes it seriously difficult for both youth and adults to maintain their bikes at a reasonable cost, and discourages further growth of a cycling community. It relegates bicycles to the realm of hobbyists, people with too much money and not enough sense. They also miss out on a social and political element that leads to improvement of cycling infrastructure in their cities. Seriously. There needs to be more bicycle co-ops. The cycling situation in Reno has been improved due to cycling advocacy groups like the Nevada Cycling Coalition, Kiwanis, Reno Bike Project and all the other groups. I was pretty surprised to find out that San Diego didn’t have something like that, or if they do, nobody seems to know about it. What good is a public service if nobody knows about it? Los Angeles has their Bike Kitchen, but LA is also stupidly big, so I never got to visit it.
4) It is possible to miss Reno: What a concept. Stoked to be back. Look forward to blogulating things and covering the development of cycling culture in Reno.