This was the third in out series of Bring and Fix events held at Youth Central, and easily our best yet! For those of you not aware, Bring and Fix is where members of the community bring their bikes in to us, and we fix them for them. For free.

The event is a partnership between OPAL, Youth Central and Smudge Monkees, and has worked extremely well. OPAL provide us the funding for the parts we require, and also lend us their smoothie bikes. Youth Central coordinate the event, including promoting it, taking bookings, and providing volunteers to man the registration desk and the smoothie bike. Smudge Monkees are there to provide the support, under the guidance of Mike “Bicycle Repairman” Brisco.

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We have learned from our previous events, so this time, we limited the numbers to the first twenty bikes registered, to ensure that we could meet the demand, as well as have the necessary spare parts to hand. We don’t do major repairs, we will only change tyres, tubes, cables, brakes, pedals and saddles if required. To achieve this, part of the registration process is to identify on a form what exactly is wrong with their bike, and what is required to fix it. The form advises them that if the bike requires any additional works, they need to take it to their local bike shop.

We also perform a basic safety check on the bikes. We have a ten point safety check for the bikes, that ensures we check things like the handle bars and saddle are secured firmly, that the pedals spin nicely, the chain moves freely, and the bike is about the right size for the rider.

The team working on the bikes this time was Mike, Sarah, Sonya, Matt and myself, and we got all twenty bikes back on the road. My favourite for the night was the Chinese family who wanted to get number one son’s bike repaired so that Grandfather could ride it! Grandfather could not speak a word of English, but he did not need to, the smile on his face said it all when he got to jump on the bike and take it for a ride. On the downside though, he did have a minor crash in the carpark as he wasn’t used to the crossbar, and did not quite dismount in time.

Sarah got to spend quite a bit of time with a family fixing a bike for a little girl to ride. These small bikes whilst looking cute, are very tricky little bikes to fix. In part it’s because they are so small, although I think she was just having fun with the family! I’m not sure how it was possible, but Matt got to work on one that was even smaller, despite the fact that the guy who brought it in was well over six feet tall! Sonya’s big win for the night was fixing the bottom bracket of a kids bike that we thought at first they would need to take to a bike shop to get repaired.

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Like any of these events, they rely on external funding, and the same core group of volunteers it would seem. We spoke about this on the night, and currently can’t see any other way around it. If you would like to throw some sponsorship money our way, or even supply some new tyres, tubes etc for our next one, feel free to get in touch! At this stage, we think we will stage our fourth one in either late November or early December to coincide with the summer school holidays.

Much love to all of you who help to make these events possible, without your support, there would be some 75 bikes still sitting unloved in peoples garages, and a lot of kids left unhappy!

What an awesome team of volunteers.

What an awesome team of volunteers.