I want to learn everything I can about how they work. I built my own, rode it across the country, and have since worked in a small shop and at the local co-op to offer to others the potential to experience a similar vitality.
I'm enrolled at the Barnett Bicycle Institute in Colorado Springs to take two classes that begin on April 27 and extend until mid-May. One class is called BAM (bike assembly and maintenance), the other is BRO (bike repair and overhaul), and if funds exceed the $3,500 mark, I will also enroll in the SST (suspension service and tuning). These classes cover in depth the basic and specific methods, mathematics, and measurements for superior bicycle set-up. For the last two weeks of May and into June, I'm hoping to embark on a small tour of central Colorado, and put to work the skills I will have just acquired at school. The $3,500 donations will cover the cost of tuition, as well as the cost of transportation to and from BBI, and support any extra touring costs (like food, spare bike tubes, band-aids, a beer at the occasional brewery, and other essentials).
As a previously employed soil farmer and bike-powered compost hauler, a volunteer vegetable farmer, and a community bike builder at the bike co-op, I hope to put the tuition money to good use by bringing my skills back to the Durham bike community and putting them toward novel sustainable endeavors with everyone, and most particularly with young folks and women. I am looking forward to making connections with the Hub Farm and its potential for bike-powered operations, to continue supporting bike-powered operations like Tilthy Rich Compost. I also hope to help develop the opportunity for bicycle mechanic classes at Durham School of the Arts, as well as serving as a newly educated hand in bike shops and at the Durham bike co-op. I work at Fullsteam Brewery as a bartender and barback, office assistant, and housekeeper, and am looking forward to bring back with me ways to make the brewery and bar more bikeable. I will be stopping at various breweries across Colorado to learn how they work with the voracious and extensive cycling community in that part of the country, and hopefully bring some ideas back with me for even more compatability between bikes and beer!
Despite the fact that the bike maintenance and mechanic fields are quite male-dominated, I am excited about my valuable position to represent, like many folks before me, that a woman (and anyone not male) can shine as a mechanic. I recently ran into a prior customer from the bike shop where I used to work, and he wanted to thank me. He said that when he came into the shop with his two young sons, he appreciated so much the way I brought them to the repair stand, showed them the current bike I was working on and the parts that weren't working, and helped them see that women can be mechanics too. "They had never seen a woman working on a bike before," he said.
Thanks for your time, and your support... I can't wait to fix your bike, and build a bike-powered community with you!