I’ve wanted to volunteer somewhere for a while and decided to give Working Bikes a try. One of their volunteer nights is Tuesday night, and I’m trying to go there every Tuesday. Tonight was my third time. It starts at 5 and I got there at maybe 5:15 or so and was basically the only volunteer for a while. This was great because Andrew (the guy in charge) asked me if I could try working on a bike solo. I think he had some things he wanted to do, so working with me was low on his list. Thus, after giving me a quick refresher on how to put the bike in the stand, I got to work by myself.

They ask everyone volunteering now to work on kids bikes because there’s a big giveaway coming up where they need to have a few hundred bikes fixed up to give away. This is good because I don’t really have the skills to work on adult bikes with gears and fancy brakes yet. When you work on a bike, you grab a checklist and just work through all the items. You have to check and grease the headset, front bracket, rear bracket, front hub, rear hub, brakes, trueness of wheels and chain.

Today, I took apart the rear hub and got to see all the parts of a coaster brake. On my first attempt to reassemble it, I put a couple parts in backwards. Fortunately, Andrew stopped by to show me the correct orientation. My biggest issue was with the headset, which kept slipping. After showing it to Andrew, he told me I needed to get a new quill, which is the big, long screw that holds the handlebars to the fork. After switching it, things seemed to work better.

So here is a picture I took of the bike that I spent a little over two hours working on. I hope that the real mechanics who check it think that I did a good job. And I hope that someday a little kid enjoys riding it.