Way back in June, I posted about the first R - reducing. A week later, our garage was broken into and my very nice Norco Vermont was stolen. The kicker was, we had made the momentous decision to take our car off the road only 6 weeks earlier. I was now totally without wheels.
I had a good cry, called the police to report the theft, and then started surfing around on Kijiji and Craigslist to see if anyone might be dumb enough to try and sell my bike there. No luck.
So what's a girl to do?
In my case, get incredibly nostalgic and buy a 1970s Sekine 10-speed that is the exact same bike I had as a teenager. I need the bike for commuting, not for racing, so I immediately headed over to the Orioles Bike Cage and with the help of the lovely volunteers I swapped our the handlebars and brakes. Then I headed to my friendly local bike shop for some new tires, rack and handle grips, and my sweet new ride was ready to hit the streets.
Orioles Bike Cage is the most amazing place. It is all about the second R - reuse. It is located behind the community centre in a building that was formerly the shop / office at the wading pool. The wading pool is now the velodrome (20 laps = 1 km) and the building is full of assorted parts and tools. On the afternoon that I was there, there was also an assortment of people hard at work on an assortment of bikes.
I live in the inner city and the bike cage is my neighbourhood encapsulated. Wayne is an older guy of indeterminate age with a grey handlebar moustache. We chatted amiably about the gang house next to his house, and how glad he is that they've finally moved on. Tim, the young guy helping me, doesn't live in the area, but he is a bike enthusiast and is there to share his skills and spread the love. Jacob is a 10-ish First Nations kid who clearly lives at the Bike Cage, since he's been there every time I have been. He's fearless and independent and totally into his BMX (though he's saving up for a skateboard). There is a pixie-faced hippy chick who clearly knows her way around a bike and is restoring a gorgeous red cruiser from the '40s or '50s. There is a Filipino guy with his two little kids building a bike from the frame up. A big dude who looks like he rocked out in the '80s (and is still rockin') is doing the same thing. An older woman who didn't speak English very well is waiting for help with her flat tire.
I'm sure everyone is there for different reasons, but lack of money is definitely one of them. The Bike Cage takes money out of the equation. There, with a little work, anyone can have a bike.
Just in case you couldn't tell, let me say it: I LOVE the Bike Cage. And I love my new old bike as well.