Ben works for Neighborhood Bike Works (NBW), an amazing bike project in Philly that helps kids and adults learn to work on their bikes, as well as offering programs giving kids opportunities to earn bikes and parts in exchange for working hours. The year before we had set up and had a very busy day, so we anticipated a number of kids coming out. We parked the bus out front, brought out our tools and stands, and immediately kids are rolling up, bikes in hand. The neighbors played the radio on their porch, and the setting was immediately energetic and welcoming. Ben’s neighbor Mike brought out some bikes to work on and donated us some wheels from his basement, and seeing that we were quite busy, helped work on bikes as well. At one point, Mike spies a chain breaker in use, and he says excitedly, “They make a tool for that? Thank God!” Mike has been breaking chains and putting them back together with a hammer and a nail up until this moment of revelation.
Other people were helping out a quite a bit, amongst them kids that had “graduated” from the NBW program. It is amazing how many people are willing to help out given the means to do so like tools and parts, or new tubes. All afternoon there were kids in and out of the bus, gathering needed parts, or just checking out how we set up the bus for travel. After working for the better part of the day, we were pretty beat. We got rid of a ton of books, mostly through summer school teachers stopping by and taking boxes of books for their students. We packed up and headed back to the house to relax before our next event in the morning.
Philadelphia, Haddington Bike Shop
On Wednesday morning we got up early and made our way over to the NBW Haddington Bike Shop where we would be setting up for the day. Before getting off the bus, I noticed that Ward had not taken off his sandals and expressed my concern for his toes, but he said he was much