Saturday, October 27, 2012

A First Timer's Experience at the San Diego Bike Kitchen-Bikes del Pueblo

By Maria Olivas - SDCBC Volunteer and former Education Coordinator
I've known about the San Diego Bike Kitchen - Bikes de Pueblo for years. I know most of the volunteers and have worked with a few of them regarding developing programs. However, I've never actually been there, any repairs on my bike were usually done by my husband. With the exception of a flat, I've never really bothered to work on my own bike. I figure it's an even exchange; I cook and he is the house mechanic. 

At least once a month, I see Chris from bikes del pueblo. Every time I see him I ask him about maintenance and every time he suggest I stop by the shop. I never did, at least not until this past weekend. A friend of mine suggested we stop by; she's seen my bike tube jewelry and suggested I pick up parts from the Bike Kitchen. She is working on up-cycling bike parts for furniture and thought she may do the same. So here we go, concerned about being intimidated by the excessive bike knowledge of all the volunteers I figured it was a quick in and out situation.
Upon arrival I seen Chris, a kind familiar face welcoming us in, introducing us to everyone in the shop made it comfortable to stay. We wonder around and discover their excess parts from donated bikes. Most have been broken down and categorized into old milk crates. It's an organized system of every part imaginable ready to be placed on a bike. It's a bike builders dream and building bikes they were. Upon our arrival four people where building bikes from nothing but the extra parts lying around the shop. Eric went into the shop on Sunday morning with nothing and said the only way he is getting home is by riding a bike out. Leon worked on four bikes, three were his own projects and one belonged to someone who rolled in needing some help.

With so many extra parts and an upcoming move at the end of the month, Bikes del Pueblo is looking to consolidate to make the move easier. Assembled bikes ready to roll out the door would make the move easier. Since my own bike didn't need any work, Chris suggested we make our own bikes. I though, no way, I have no idea what I am doing. After being reassured by all the volunteer mechanics that they would help (there were four on Sunday), I went for it.  

Chris helped me choose a frame, set it up on the stand and build it. Of course, he was doing most of the work, guiding me and educating me regarding every step and part. There sure are a lot of steps. Since top quality parts are not available, we "made it work." Dustin took over after Chris left and helped me put the brakes together, or at least started to. The brakes were a challenge and the shop was about to close up, so we set it aside for another day.

Cleanup keeps it organized and also made them realize how tough the move would be. Bikes del Pueblo is at the snowdrop location in city heights for the rest of the month. They must be out by November 1, but they are still looking for a new location. If you know of a free location please contact them at Bikes del Pueblo is a free service and volunteer run, your donation of a facility or quality parts are greatly needed.  

Transportation and Grant News From Around San Diego County

This transportation grant and news update is brought to you by Jim Voss.

Transportation grants are one of the main ways to add biking infrastructure. The City of Carlsbad received an $880K grant to install a roundabout at the tricky angled intersection at Coast Highway and State Street. This common bike corridor ends the bike lane just before the intersection, which squeezes cyclists into the traffic lane before merging into another traffic line and then finally a bike lane. Other improvements are planned along the section of Coast Highway that crosses the lagoon. Additional grant money will cover bike corrals and racks and an active transportation program. The San Diego Foundation has granted $650K to a variety of organizations throughout the county to build bike paths and hiking trails. The grants will also be used to improve air quality and get more kids outdoors. The City of Escondido approved a new bike plan that would triple the number of bike lanes to 150 miles. The plan would cost $4.7 million dollars, spread out over several years. The San Diego Police Department received 18 patrol bicycles from ACE Parking.

Some may call this time of political election campaigns the "silly season", but it is great to see all the attention that bicycling is receiving from candidates. In addition to the San Diego mayoral debate hosted at USD and co-sponsored by SDCBC last month, bikes have gotten mention in other forums: a County Supervisor debate where a candidate wants to make San Diego County the bike capital of the world, and another San Diego mayoral debate at UCSD where both candidates agreed on something - bike lanes,  
This Associated Press article, while not mentioning San Diego, reviews how more people are utility cycling in cities throughout California: As gas prices soar, city cycling more attractive

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Featured SDCBC Bicycle Ambassador - Joe Garcia

What Neighborhood do You live in? - I just moved to North Park
What is the Make, Model, Color or your Favorite Bike - My favorite bike is a Metallic Green Mercian (1978 frame) that is my touring/commuting bike - I own 5 bikes one is a tandem
Where did you get it from? - I bought the Mercian at Bikecology in Santa Monica back in the day and built it up from existing components then bought new ones along the way and as stuff wore out.
Why do you ride? – I ride for a variety of reasons: for recreation, I have toured and plan to again, I commute and now that I live in the city I run errands.
What is a typical Bike ride for you? - back and forth to work or on the weekends moderate ride.
While riding you......I like to listen to music world, jazz, rock and I do like talk to whoever will ever talk back
How can your city improve bike infrastructure or make your city more bike friendly? – more bike parking, fix the roads, some dedicated roadways and road closures when possible (Cicliovia style events on weekends).
Any tips or comments for other riders? - As Grant Petersen says "Just Ride" and ride all the time, I spent a little time in Portland and was amazed at the cyclists up there, they ride all the time in the worst of weather.
Shameless Plug? I work for the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency