Stories from Mechanics Camp – the instructors tell all (Part 2 of 2)
Part 2: Andrea’s story
Bike Camp 2013 – Mechanics Camp: Ten teens gather with two instructors to learn about bike mechanics, ride around the city, and have fun. We didn’t expect that the group would flow as easily as it did.
The camp began by meeting, setting the ground rules, and tearing down a bike. It’s one of the favorite activities to learn about bikes because you don’t have to know how to put it back together; you just need to pull it all apart.
We gathered each morning at our bike shop, sleepy from the summer heat. On a morning when we were headed to a field trip right after check-in, one of the students didn’t show up. We waited an extra 15 minutes and decided we had to head off.
In our single-file line, Theo lead us south and west, weaving through the streets, practicing individual and group stops. It was suggested by a friend of the absentee student that we were so close to his house that we could just swing by and get him. With extra time on our side, the sun on our backs, and a positive group of campers, we made a few turns and ended up right outside of his house in our neat, single-file line. After a short time, he sleepily came to the door and, with quiet swiftness, brought his bike down and fell in line. We hooted and laughed, our posse complete, and biked onward to our field trip.
The day seemed to keep getting better because we took our long line of bicycles to an ally that led to the garage of local frame builder, Ira Ryan. We gathered around while he gave us a brazing demo and talked us through frame building, all while his cat, Peanut Butter, looked on.
The heat of the day was rising and we left Ira’s shop in search of Two Plum Park, a place to rest in the shade and eat our lunches. In a tiny, quiet park filled with plum trees and a small playground, we sat quietly in dappled shade, ate our lunches, chatted and goofed around.
Our lined meandered back north and east and found our way to our original meeting place, the bike shop, and we taught a lesson on patching flats. This activity was not new to a lot of students, but an in-depth discussion of Dunlop tire construction was!
What I took away from Mechanics Camp 2013 was a sense of excitement, a sun tan, and an uplifted spirit.
Photos by Lori Rodriguez, Theo Roffe, and Melinda Musser