aka Mike Briscoe!

So, after the roaring success of the first Bring and Fix event, it was decided that we needed to stage a second one, and this time, use the lessons we had learned in the first!

So what did we learn from the first time? Well, for a start, getting pople to book in, not just randomly rock up. What we did this time, is ensure that on our promotion of the event, we got people to register that they would be coming along, just so we knew what to expect. This worked really well, as we developed a little checklist, with a diagram of the bike on the back of it, that participants had to complete prior to us even looking at their bike. This time we wanted them to tell us what they thought was wrong, so that we could also hazard a guess at the spares we would need.

The list included tyres, brakes, handle bars, saddle, pedals, gear and brake cables, and what was wrong with them. To avoid having to rebuild bikes, or possibly turn people away at the event we also advised on this form that if there was anything more serious than these basics wrong with their bikes, they would need to take the bike to a bike mechanic. To make this a little easier for them, we even included the name, location, and phone numbers of the bike shops in Charles Sturt.

We also put together a ten point safety check for the volunteers, so that when they were given their bike to work on, apart from the issues identified by the bike owner, they also had a guide with every bike of what key things to look for. This included checking the tyres, bell, pedals, lights, reflectors, brakes, chains, handlebars, saddle, helmet, and the size of the bike. There was an eleventh point as well for the volunteers, that if the riders attitude was happy and friendly, they deserve a bike, if they were grumpy and rude, forget about the safety checks!

We also set up two large marquees for the work tables, so that we could all be under shade, and not get too much sun! Given the success of the smoothie bike, we set up another one of those too, which was a raging success again, with some of the kids from Youth Central “racing” on the bike to make the fastest smoothie!

We ended up with over 25 bikes coming through for repairs, which was another awesome success, especially since we had less volunteers this time too. Last bring and fix we ran out of 26” tubes, so this time, I stocked up with more of them, swapping some of our left over tyres from the last event, for the tubes for this one. As luck would have it, we ended up with plenty of 26” tubes, but ran out of 24”!!! Close!!

Our amazing team of volunteers this time were again led by Mike, and Mel, Phoebe, and Reb from the ABK did amazing work, and thankfully, Sarah and Sonya came along too, otherwise we would not have got through all of those bikes in time! The kids from Youth Central did a great job, some of them also pitching in to help with fixing the bikes, and others manning the desks, and assigning service numbers to the bikes. Congratulations to Sarah and Sonya on agreeing to sign up as volunteers for future events!

Was it a success? Most definitely, we had some very happy cyclists who dragged some very sad bikes in, that they were able to ride away from the event! Will we do it again? Well, we are all certainly keen to from the volunteer bike mechanics, as are Youth Central and OPAL, but to do another one will require us to replenish our stock of spares. Whilst StandishWestLakes looked after our needs amazingly well, it was still over $1,000 worth of bicycle parts we have given away in two events.

So, if you hear of any grant opportunities for a community based program that is both helping to provide some young people with new skills, as all of our volunteers were given free bicycle maintenance training, and also helping to get kids and community members active and healthy by making unrideable bikes rideable again, get in touch. We would love to hear from you!