Saturday, June 28, 2008

June 26th: Philadelphia, David's House

Thursday morning we woke up and got an early start to drop off books at a Summer Program at a place called Heavenly Hall and then headed over the the Bike Church to restock on supplies for the afternoon. Neighborhood Bike Works runs the Bike Church, which is an amazing bike project that is incredibly well organized and had a ton of spare parts that they let us have, which is so important because we have no other means of getting anything on the road that we need. We arrived to our event at 2 outside of David's house, another employee of NMW that does summer programs teaching kids how to work on bikes. He anticipated a lot of kids showing up, since his house was located out side of a community center where a whole bunch of people hang out. Steve, the cook, was along with us for the afternoon, and not only offer up his cooking skills in preparing a platter of veggie burgers during the event, but worked on bikes the whole time.

Chance showed up again to help out, as well as our buddy Mickey, who jumped right in when noticing that the line for bike repair seemed endless, and more and more people just kept showing up. We had a few first this afternoon- we were not only donated a huge tray of food from a local as a donation, but 32 cold Budweiser beers for our efforts. After a women asked me if we drank beer, and i responded, "Not right now", she came back with a bag of beers, and then later another neighbor handed over a case of bottles, to which we greatly looked forward to enjoying after we were "off the clock".

Another first was that we were learning quickly that we had to know how to say no, and when 6 o'clock hit, after hours of working non-stop, we just couldn't get to everyone, even with the help of David and one of this roommates, making a grand total of 6 bike mechanics for the afternoon, the most we had ever had working at one time. We cleaned up and closed the bus, and headed to the roof of David's house to enjoy our donations as well as to see a amazing view of the entire city of Philadelphia. Chance took the opportunity to run over to the community pool behind the rec center, and upon returning to the house, told us that while in the pool, and woman swam up to him, and asked, "Can you help me out?". He looked at her confused, wondering what she needed help with since she was obviously swimming well enough to seemingly not need assistance, and then she said, "Can I get 90 cents?".

Ward and I have to apologize to those who helped us, and how we didn't prep them for the event and certain aspects of how we work and how working with kids goes. When we got done, Mickey and Steve expressed their confusion over the kids asking for "S's"(derailleurs) or asking for their "S's" to be fixed, or asking if we had any pogo's (pegs) for their bikes, so they didn't know what a lot of the kids were talking about and what they needed help with.

In explaining how his day went, Steve said it would have been much easier except he spent so much time trying to get chains back on after fixing flats when having to work around a chain guard. I felt real bad immediately, because this is something that Ward and I learned early on: When you get a small bike with a chain guard, no matter what you are doing to the bike, explain to the kid why the chain guard is a piece of crap and only makes their bike harder to work on and fix, and how the chain guard can be dangerous when little shitty plastic starts breaking, which it will, because they are cheap and crappy. Remove the chain guard, offer to throw it away for the kid (or if they want it they can keep it) and then start working on the bike. It makes the biggest difference EVER. Sorry Steve.
- Shelley

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