|'Take a Bike, Leave a Bike' Finds New Home|
If you’re looking for a bike, have no fear! Come spring, Take a Bike, Leave a Bike returns from its new base of operations: the storage garage behind Campus Security. Built by Jess Rinehart and Lucas Kauffman with the assistance of CFO Jack Gochenaur, the new storage shed is also a repair shop for the bikes.
The garage is split in half now, with the front half still for security storage and the back half for bikes. Originally a cow barn for the farm that used to be located just off campus, it has a wide space perfect for fixing bikes and long loft with plenty of room for bike storage. A wall of plywood and 2x4 studs was built to separate the two sides, a task that proved difficult as the beams of the cow barn are solid timber oak. Gochenaur believes them to be over a hundred years old. The loft is accessible by newly built stairs by Peiter Narrigan, and if you’re not too tall, you can stand up. Most of the bikes are already in the loft.
Gochenaur joined the project when he learned of the history of the barn. “I felt that particular location was just the ideal place for a bicycle shop,” he said. Gochenaur loves to build things, not chairs and cabinets, but pole barns and cabins, making him perfect to help out. “We picked a couple Saturdays, and I had a ball,” he said. “We taught them how to measure things, cut things, and I had fun as they learned how to measure out the floor and set the walls.” Gochenaur also thinks the storage shed, with its large white sides would look great with a mural with the Take a Bike logo.
The original storage place for Take a Bike was a lower room in East. The room was originally an old, tiny kitchen, according to Carole Patrick-Miller, Manchester’s director of the Center for Service Opportunities. “It was so tiny, working was terrible,” says Miller, demonstrating by hunching over an imaginary bike with her elbows at awkward angles. Because the storage was in East, the doors were locked, forcing those bringing bikes to be fixed to buzz in. “We were at the end of the hallway, so we’d have to run down to open the doors for students,” says Patrick-Miller with a smile. “It was one of those really horrible buzzers, I had dreams about it, just awful.”
Take a Bike has about 200 bikes, between all the parts and pieces collected, explained Miller, but there are actually only 50 in operation, which is still quite a lot. However, all those bikes used to be kept in the old kitchen along with all the tools needed to repair bikes. “We’d line them all up, but then one would tip and it was just like dominoes,” she said. She brings out her paper clip holder, which has a large messy pile of paper clips inside. “The room looked just like this,” she explained.
Take a Bike, Leave a Bike is also working with North Manchester’s PATH group to help create a bike trail for students to go on about town. If you are interested in helping with Take a Bike or would like to know more about it, contact OVS.manchester.edu.