Friday, January 23, 2015

Project Recycle

Project Recycle
The retaining wall along Castle Rock's Plum Creek Trail near the Wolfensberger Road bridge is hand painted with art supporting Project Recycle.  This is a non-profit group that collects used bicycles and reconditions them for free, mostly as gifts for children and families.  These bicycles are given away both locally and they are shipped around the world.  I volunteer here occasionally as a bicycle mechanic.

Wall hand-painted art supporting Project Recycle
When I lived in Castle Rock before, I did this same thing on my own.  I would pick up child's bicycles or bike parts left out with the trash, throw it in my truck and would later recondition them and give them away.  Occasionally, I would purchase parts on sale and donate them to the cause of repairing a bike.  I called it ReBike.  A grown man in tears, accepting a reconditioned bicycle for his child at Christmas is something I will never forget.  I will gladly help an organization to do that same thing over and over.
I am an OK bicycle mechanic, am mostly self-taught and even own a few bicycle tools.  I used to own a bike repair stand until I wore it out.  Just rub me up in lithium grease, put some bike wrenches in my hands and point me toward a bike, adjustment, love...  I'm happy!
Project Recycle has several sets of professional work stations, and many bicycle tools available to use.  Spare and new used parts, lubes, oil and bearings are shelved and stored in cabinets and drawers.  Usable wheels, forks and frames are hung on racks so they can be easily located and reused.

The view of the wall looking north
Most of the 20,000 square feet of donated space at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital is split between repaired bicycles that are ready for shipment and bicycles waiting to be fixed.
The work process works like this:  There is a pile of bicycles is in the middle of the repair area.  You pick a bicycle and test it to see what it needs.  Usually, the headset may be frozen, the chain is rusted, the cables are loose.  You check brakes, pedals and the bottom bracket.  Pull on the wheels and handlebars to make sure they work OK.  There is a checklist to follow, just like at a local bicycle shop.  They even have shop aprons to keep your clothes clean and hand cleaner available to spiff up before you leave.
The people here are really nice.  Kent, the shop manager oversees the volunteers and makes sure we know the rules and sign the paperwork.  Then he helps us locate parts.  Patrick also has much bicycle repair experience, and he helps with the adjustments and the difficult, detailed repairs.  Both are very knowledgeable and are incredibly helpful. They even hold classes to teach students about bicycle repair.
I repaired two bicycles the last time I was there; a child's bike with training wheels and a mid-1980's hybrid bike for an adult.  And yes, I took some parts down to the bearings to get them right.  They weren't new, but they were safe and ride-ready.  Both will bring pleasure again for a long time.
This is a great place to volunteer your time Wednesday nights or Saturday mornings.  You can donate your old bicycles or your money to buy grease, tools and spare parts.  I'll be here routinely, fixing something children can enjoy for free.  And I'll be happy!

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