A good deed: a city bike for Kathy

 

When Dan and I heard about the ONE Good Deed fund, we knew what we had to do.

The ONE Good Deed fund rewards small grants of $100 or less to people who want to do a good deed for an Old North End resident. It's a simple and smart way to spread love and kindness and build community connections in our amazing neighborhood.

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For a long time, Dan has wished he could build a series of bomb-proof "city bikes" for Get A Bike clients who really can't afford a nicer bike but truly rely on their bike and love riding. These bikes would have steel frames, light aluminum wheels, be single speed or internally geared, and would have the trappings of a solid commuter bike: fenders, racks, good quality lights, and a bell. These parts and accessories make bike commuting more hassle free -- fenders keep you dry, baskets and racks allow you to carry groceries and other things, and lights keep you visible and safer at night. 

With Bike Recycle Vermont's limited staff and limited amount of quality parts, and with our clients' limited financial resources (one must qualify for public assistance to get a bike or repairs through our Get A Bike program), it's difficult to get good quality commuter bikes to the people who could benefit from a reliable and utilitarian bike the most.

So we couldn't resist the opportunity to work with the ONE Good Deed and build one of these bikes for Kathy. Kathy lives down the street from the shop and is one of our longest and most dedicated customers.  She relies on her bike year-round to get out to a job in the New North End, to run errands, to do just about everything.

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For the past three years she's ridden an electric blue Free Spirit 3-speed -- a cute bike, but pretty heavy for Kathy to be carrying in and out of her house each day, and very prone to breaking down. That's how we got to know Kathy -- she's been a frequent visitor to Bike Recycle Vermont ever since the shop opened in 2006. Even though we only see Kathy when she's dealing with frustrating problems like a blown out tire or broken chain, she is always upbeat and quick to say how much she loves her Free Spirit and loves riding her bike around town.

We were rewarded a $100 grant from the ONE Good Deed fund to build Kathy a city bike that would be lighter, safer, higher quality (and therefore less hassle), and could carry lots of stuff. Kathy preferred a single speed with an upright position and a comfortable seat, similar to her old bike.  Dan decided to go with 700c wheels so that Kathy could finally enjoy studded tires in the winter which were not available for the wheels on Kathy's old bike. 

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Dan picked this Giant Quasar from the stock of donated bikes in the shop's backroom. Kathy wanted a step-through frame for ease of getting on and off the bike. This one was just her size.

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Dan stripped the bike down to the frame...

And after building the bike up, this was the result:

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A single speed. Kathy didn't like to shift on her old bike, so why complicate things with shifters and dreaillieurs?

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Some nice brakes...

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Swept back handlebars to give Kathy an upright position while riding. A new, large Wald basket, new Planet Bike front light, and a bell...

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A brand new Planet Bike eco-rack with "grocery-getters" attached, and new Planet Bike rear light, rear fender, and our sticker of course.

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And a really happy Kathy!

Kathy was psyched to get her new bike. She was impressed by the size of the basket, the bright lights, and the large seat. As she lifted it up the stairs out of the shop, she exclaimed, "Oh my God, it's so much lighter!!!" We were so happy do something nice for one of the Old North End's most dedicated bikers and wonderful humans, and so grateful for the ONE Good Deed fund giving us the resources to make it happen.

Want to see more bike builds like this one? Made a donation to our organization here.

 

 

by Christine Hill, Outreach Director