14 March 2009

Le Projet du Vélo Jaune

After something catastrophic happened to my commuter bike two weeks ago, I've been looking for a solution to its replacement or repair. It's a bike so old and worn that it's barely worth fixing, and I couldn't justify retail price for any replacement components; chiefly the rear derailleur and the rear wheel, which had the rim bent so badly that it can't be trued.

When the most economical replacement to be had was found to be about a $125 used bike, I decided to investigate Yellow Bike, as I mentioned earlier in the week. This ended up being a wonderful experience, as the people there are truly helpful and honestly willing to assist a person with a bicycle in need in whatever way they can. With their assistance, I managed to replace my wheel with a used wheel (after overhauling the hub) and, with a new chain, get the bike running single speed with a few hours of work over the past few days. The derailleur will require a bit more work, as it was all an integrated piece with the old derailleur hanger (which fit into the sliding dropouts of the frame), and I've had to acquire a new hanger. I will return on Monday to attempt to repair the shifting system with another derailleur.

Anyway, I know this entire entry reads like a plug for Yellow Bike (and they have definitely earned that sidebar link), but they are a seriously great group of people who just want to help everyone with bikes. Even though I'm almost done there with my bike, I think I'll be back several times to volunteer and refine my mechanic skills. I highly recommend stopping by if you want to learn a lot about bikes, or keep your beater bike running. They are currently working on a new location, so let's hope that their transition goes off without a hitch so that this valuable resource for cycling in Austin grows and becomes available to even more people.

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