Thanks, Upcycles!

Field trip to a bike shop!!

Last week, my co-teacher Josh and I took our Bike Club on an expedition to Upcycles, an awesome bike shop right on the Dekum triangle and next door to Woodlawn Park. A bunch of the kiddos live nearby, and we wanted to introduce them to people who can help them keep their bikes in good repair. After Bike Club ends, after all, we still want them to feel empowered to take care of their bicycle needs without us, and opening their eyes to friendly bike shops is one way to do so.

Mark and Kai of Upcycles were gracious enough to host our twelve squirrely and very excited bikers, and Mark gave them a mini tour of what they could find in their shop. Bike Club was very excited by all the merchandise (a surprising amount of necessaries for a little space!), the bikes lined up along the wall (including a rockin’ tricycle), the bike in the stand that Mark had been working on before we arrived, and the various bike pieces that Mark pulled out as he was talking (the crank in particular was a big hit–I imagine it looks crazy if you’ve never seen one not on a bicycle before).

(Mark from Upcycles rocks Bike Club’s world:)

It was pretty clear that many of these kids had never seen a full-on bike shop before. They were astounded by the stand holding a bike in midair, and they were amazed that they could come in and pump up their tires for free. When Mark mentioned that he and Kai also give free advice for the myriad bike problems that people have, you might as well have told them they were getting free candy. Those kiddos were psyched.

When we bike over the the Community Cycling Center next week, our Bike Club will hopefully start to see that there are a whole bunch of resources available to them when they need anything bike-related, that there are big shops as well as itty-bitty neighborhood ones, all full of people who are willing to help. It’s a powerful thing for these kids, I think, the idea that there are grown-ups who work in shops who will actually take them seriously and help them with their bikes.

I’m really thankful that Josh and I can help introduce our Bike Club to the wide world of bike shops, and doubly thankful to Upcycles for hosting us for the afternoon. It’s super awesome that there’s a shop close to where many of these kids live that’s owned by people who I trust to do right by them with their future bike issues. Thanks so much, Mark and Kai! :)


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