We had an enormously successful 6 months, more than ever was anticipated.
We’ll start at the start of the season…
Fender Bender offered it’s first mechanic training experience (now called “Rags to Wrenches”) in April 2012 – there were 5 people that completed the 6 week training !!
We engaged with a variety of in depth repair skills and bike maintenance techniques – from bike anatomy and proper tool use, to patching flat tires, over-hauling wheel hubs, derailleur adjustments, getting our own “bearings” together, changing cables and housing, and even silk screening our own Fender Bender t-shirts, and more.
The “Rags to Wrenches” mechanic training is more than building bike repair skills – it is community building – where the bike is used as a vehicle of transportation and transformation in our own lives and our communities. The class applies bicycle metaphors to hands on activities that allow us to explore our imaginations and experiences, then guide us to new possibilities of healing, growth, and adventure.
These are pics from the April class, a few open shops – the lovely faces of folks who made magic happen all summer at the shop!
In addition we were able to….
- Coordinate 8 hours of open-shop each week
- Facilitate a 7wk mechanic training at Detroit Community High School http://www.detcomschools.org/
- Tuesday eve bike maintenance classes at Wheelhouse Detroit !! http://www.wheelhousedetroit.com/
- Operate the first ever Allied Media Conference bike lending library http://alliedmedia.org/news-tags/bikes
- Organize and clean the space!
- Led youth and adult group rides on the regular
Young Educators Alliance to name one http://www.facebook.com/YoungEducatorsAlliance
- Hosted the Full Moon night-time ride every month
- Offered bike rentals, and re-furbished bike sales all summer….
BEST of all…there’s a collective now!! Eight peoples deep
How we came together…
Organically and from the ground-up. Each person had a different reason they were there: love of bicycles, to hang out, learn bike repair skills, seeking a gender non-conforming, women, and/or queer positive space, to build community, to bike ride with a group, to ride a bike for the first time – wow! empowerment, curiosity, self-exploration, etc. Whatever the reason was, or as different as each initial interest may have been – we quickly found common passions and deep currents that fussed us in our various walks of life and diversity. This dynamic is the backbone to building strong relationships, understanding, and perspectives in the shop – ones that reflect in the principles and practices we are developing together to guide our work at Fender Bender.
Our goal continues to be more than a bike shop – we want a space where women, queer, and gender non-conforming people can comfortably access bike repair skills, a bicycle, lead workshops and be leaders, host group bike rides, connect to our bodies in a healthy and healing way, build relationships, share stories, and shine in our own unique contribution to our communities, AND the cycling culture of Detroit. We seek to organize in a way to undo harmful stereotypes and damaging expectations, and create space to foster and encourage a new narrative and ways of living for women, queer, and gender non-conforming folks to thrive and share in a rich culture all it’s own right here in Detroit.
As the season turns toward cold weather and winter we will host events, bike rides, and conversations to connect people and keep the ball rolling. We initially planned to continue programming and open shop throughout the fall and winter – but we’re going to take a break for the next few months (perhaps to open for winter hours in January, but we’ll be in touch). We’ll take this time to reflect and apply what we’ve learned from this season, and physically build into the shop – so we can emerge more cohesive, organized, and clear in our work; what we can offer and how we plan to collaborate in the space.
We will continue to sell refurbished bicycles, bike rentals for multi-day use with groups-events-conferences-etc., light repair work and tune-ups by request. Fender Bender Detroit is a 100% volunteer-run project. All bicycle sales, rentals, and tune-ups help us to financially fuel open shop, workshops, tool and equipment purchases, rent, and material costs. Bicycle donations allow us to provide bikes to people for no or low cost in our “Rags to Wrenches” mechanic training, and also our “Build-a-Bike, Build Community” youth workshops. If you have a bike donation, contact us via this blog, email, or facebook – we are very flexible and can arrange a time for you to drop off, or we are happy to come to you!
As alwayz, if you have ideas or imagine how we can work together – holler !! And if you’re interested in helping with workdays during the next few months, email email@example.com, leave a comment here, or message us on the facebook. Thank you!
Bike Love, Fender Bender Detroit