Last night was my first night volunteering at The Bike Kitchen. For those who have never heard of it, the Bike Kitchen is a non-profit DIY bicycle repair center. For $50/year you can become a member and get access to their workspace and tools. They accept donations of spare parts from individuals and bike shops all over the city and sell these parts to members for very low prices. For a flat $30, you can even get “digging rights” – the right to dig through their piles of bike parts for everything you need to build or finish one complete bike.
Don’t know the first thing about bikes? It’s okay, the staff are all current or former mechanics, with varying levels of experience. They often get focused working on their own projects, so you have to be proactive and ask for help – but they will be happy to TELL you how to do anything on your bike (but you still have to DO the actual work).
Can’t afford the $80 for membership and digging rights? Also okay! They accept work-trade for membership and parts – 6 hours volunteer work will get you a membership, 6 more hours will get you digging rights. I might be able to afford their fees, but since I’m living off savings at the moment, I figured I should take the volunteer offer. So this week – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday I will be volunteering at the Bike Kitchen to earn my place.