Sunday, November 8, 2009

Do it yourself!

A piece of art on the wall of the bike flea market in Aurinkotehdas

I don't know much about mechanics. Actually I'm quite hopeless when it comes to fixing anything, especially anything as complex as bikes. That is why bike kitchens are awesome!

There is a multipurpose center called Aurinkotehdas ("Sun Factory") in Turku. The headquarters of the Uusi tuuli ry non-governmental organization is located there, and that's also where some of its activities take place. Its probably most famous project was to build the ship Estelle that nowadays sails around the world buying fair trade products and bringing them back to Finland. They also have a bicycle flea market that has a do-it-yourself day every Thursday. They teach people how to fix their bikes free of charge.


In the past, when my bike needed to be fixed, I took her into a bike shop. (You know, fathers don't usually teach these things to their daughters...) Well, not anymore. I've been to the bike kitchen a few times this fall bugging the mechanicians with stupid questions and they have tought me loads of new things: I barely even knew how to change a tire until they told me how it is properly done. Among other things, they tought me how to fix and adjust a handbrake and straighten wheels. Last week a mechanician showed me how to make a makeshift spare part to fix the broken seat. A few weeks back an exchange intern fixed the brakes of my bike and thought me new things about bike anatomy. The next time winter tires need to be changed because black ice is beginning to appear on the roads.

A mechanician working on a bike after the rush hour on the do-it-yourself day

Here's a link to the Vienna bike kitchen and a video about Hobart bike kitchen (BTW: I love her shirt!). Care to share your experiences about similar projects?


Anna said...

Hi Sonja!

I don't know if we have such things in Spain. Probably, regular cyclists owners here could tell you different places, but as far as I know none for free!

When I look up to the north in Europe (I live in the South of Europe so I don't have much choice...) , I realise how much needs to be done. Maybe one good iniative to promote cycling (now that it seems that it's beginning to be promoted) would be a thing like the flea bike market and bike kitchen.

Well, maybe I should research a bit further!

Thanks for sharing!

anna said...

Yeah, we have that concept of bike kitchen too as you mentioned. Love the first picture, so cool!

ibikelondon said...

What a superb concept - I think consensus-based organisations are really starting to come into the mainstream recently. Your bike kitchen looks cosy, too. And it's great if it is not so expensive as going to the bike shop (here in the UK the big chain-store bike shops charge a FORTUNE for their servicing work, and it's not always very good)

I've added your blog to my links on i b i k e l o n d o n

Keep peddlin!


sara said...

Check out Kerri and her Bike Church:

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