On Sunday, June 22nd, several people gathered in a small space on Logan Street to learn about bike repair and maintenance. Andy Dyson, a well-experience local bike mechanic, pulled the back wheel off his bike to demonstrate how different kinds of wheel bearings work, and the group leaned in for a closer look. In their hands were packets, several pages long, of detailed information about the surprisingly complicated workings of the average bicycle, and they planned to explore all this in the next few hours. The reason: these students of the bicycle were training as volunteers at the new Falls City Community Bikeworks.
The idea took root when co-founder John Krueger was living in Lexington. He found a group called Broke Spoke - a community bike shop. Members had (for a fee) access to tools, parts, expert knowledge and the like - but when John moved to Louisville, he found no such place. Then last year a chance meeting at a co-op bike workshop introduced him to Isabella Christensen, a fellow bike enthusiast with a desire for communal space. With the lack of any such group in Louisville and a desire to rectify that lack, they decided to get their own shop off the ground--and so Falls City Bikeworks was born. Krueger and Christensen have been working together since last year to find a space, acquire tools, and recruit volunteers, and starting next month they’ll be ready to go.
The shop is already impressive, with a huge space devoted to wheels and other parts, and a massive collection of bike frames. Krueger told me that a member could more than likely build a bike from the ground up using parts in the shop for under $200 dollars. They also boast an impressive selection of tools and six workstations, all available to members to use whenever the workshop is open. Falls City Bikeworks has already garnered a lot of interest in the biking community - all of the volunteers who attended Sunday’s workshop seemed to have heard of Falls City from different sources, and it haven’t even been opened to the public yet.
With the growing and passionate biking community in Louisville, it’s about time a place like Falls City Bikeworks showed up. For a $60 annual membership fee, you can get in on the action. If you can’t afford the dues, Christensen tells me they gladly accept payment in the form of volunteer hours, or what she calls “sweat equity.” They’re opening the first weekend of July, with planned standard hours of Monday and Wednesday nights and Sunday afternoons. One of those days will be devoted to open shop, and another to teaching specific repair skills. The third will flex between classes and open shop, so keep an eye out on their site or their Facebook page for more updates.
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