On the 802-BIKEGUY moniker…

As I was taking the aforementioned Bike Saviours 8 week maintenance class, I was quite lucky to happen upon an ad on Craigslist for a bike work stand and toolset listed at less than 1/2 of retail price. I jumped at the opportunity to buy it and have been offering basic repair services ever since. I’ve mostly tuned friends bikes, and done some occasional bartering.

I’m fairly hesitant about giving out my cellphone number, especially on Craigslist, so the receipt of a Google Voice invite was timed pretty well with this decision to begin offering repairs and advice. After searching on various bike related terms I hit upon the monkier “bikeguy” and found an available Google Voice number in the Vermont 802 area code. Hence the name of this blog. I’ve been using this Google Voice number for any bike related activities I’m involved with.

While on the topic of Google Voice, I’ve also hooked up TBAG with a vanity number as well, 214-444-TBAG. Google Voice is an incredible service and I hope Google takes its time in deciding whether or not to begin charging for the service.

Bike Saviours Bicycle Maintenance Course

If you’re into bikes and you’re not familiar with Bike Saviours, you should be. They’re a non profit bike co-op in Tempe doing great work for the community. Going on a year now they’ve been holding 8 week bicycle maintenance courses that are free and open to the public. The course is pretty comprehensive and full of valuable bike maintenance knowledge.

Bike Maintenance, when you get down to it, is actually fairly simple in most cases. With a small bike specific toolset and knowledge it’s quite easy to maintain and repair your own bicycle. There are certainly some things better left to a bike shop mechanic, but with a little time and effort you can start doing those $40 tune-ups on your own. Check out Bike Saviours’ website for information or get in touch with me and I can provide more details.

On becoming LCI certified…

Being part of TBAG has increased my interest in bikes many times over since I was elected to the board. In March of 2009, TBAG sponsored me to become a certified League of American Bicyclists League Cycling Instructor. I traveled down to Tucson where the course was being held and thanks to a discount from http://arizonacasita.com, I stayed a two minute walk from the classroom. The course is pretty intensive, 5 hours on Friday, 9 on Saturday and 6 on Sunday. I learned quite a bit, a lot of the course focused on “how to teach” rather than learning the curriculum.

Three Tucson bike cops took the course, a lady from Indiana, a local Tucson woman, and a guy from Prescott that’s heavily involved in the bike scene there. I had no idea Prescott was so “bikey”.

I’m working on getting bike education up and running in Tempe on a regular basis, once I have a class scheduled I’ll post it here as well as on the TBAG blog.

How I became 802-BIKEGUY, Part 2

Shortly before I was elected to the board of Tempe Bicycle Action Group (aka TBAG) I began working on Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe after a 3 year absence. I started to commute to work 3 days per week at 6.7 miles each way. The building I was working in had showers so it was very convenient. Wake up, throw on biking clothes, bike, shower, work, ride home.

My motivations for joining TBAG were simple at first, get more people on bikes, as I interacted with the new board members my goals became more refined. I orchestrated Tempe’s first known Bike Valet for the METRO light rail grand opening. With the help of board members we built 25+ wooden bike racks (elevated saw horses, essentially) to make bike valet a permanent fixture at large events in Tempe. The METRO bike valet was a flop, but we went on to succeed with several large Tempe Beach Park events including the Great Arizona Beer Festival and Oktoberfest. In 2009 we parked close to 1,000 bikes.

Come October 2009, I had my first experience on the “other” side of the fence for Tour de Fat. I was the main point of contact for volunteer coordination for the entire event. Along with months of pre-planning and volunteer recruitment, I worked closely with the Tour crew from New Belgium Brewing (great folks, by the way!) and while there were some hiccups early in the day we pulled off what I thought was a great Tour de Fat. In fact, Tempe set a new record for the most money raised in the 10 year history, just over $75,000 gross. Tempe is also 2nd in attendance coming in at about 10,000 in 2009 compared to Fort Collins, CO (New Belgium’s hometown show at the brewery) which racked up 14,000 attendees. I don’t think I stood still for more than 15 minutes the entire event, and were it not for the kegs of beer backstage, I would’ve passed the entire event completely sober (which would have been quite a contrast to the 3 years prior). I was so busy that this is one of the few pictures I had a chance to take (or have taken, I should say), click the little icon that follows for a shot of Stan (from MBAA), Crafty (from New Belgium) and I (dressed as “Summer Santa”) backstage after the event (Stan, Crafty and I (grew that beard for 4 months!)).

And that brings us almost current, I’ll pepper in some additional details with individual posts in a few days…

How I became 802-BIKEGUY, Part 1

My interest with biking as an adult was rekindled in the late 90′s when I purchased a 6 Speed Huffy Causeway beach cruiser from Walmart. I spent many hours on that bike riding around the greenbelt paths of NW Chandler, AZ. Mileage racked up on that bike was just under 3,000 miles. It was purely recreational riding, for the simple pleasure of riding a bike.

Aside from recreational riding, in early 2004 I adopted a 1 year old Husky from the pound. Shortly thereafter I began biking her as she really seemed to enjoy running. A year later I adopted another Husky and I’ve been running them attached to my bicycle (one at a time) ever since.

Fast forward to 2006. New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat festival came to Tempe for the first time that October. I attended, on the Huffy (sans costume except for a straw hat that looked like a lampshade), and had an incredible time! Shortly after Tempe’s inaugural Tour de Fat I purchased a gently used Marin AXC Northside Trail mountain bike. I began riding much more on the mtn bike than I ever had on the Huffy, and enjoying it much more as well.

Come Tempe’s 2007 Tour de Fat festival, I volunteered to help a local bike group (Tempe Bicycle Action Group) do setup for the event. Again, I had an incredible time and successfully orchestrated getting 9 folks dressed up as DEVO (We are DEVO). I was riding my bike pretty regularly, though I had not made an attempt to commute to work as it was 10.5 miles and for some reason I thought biking along Van Buren Street sans bike lane was too much for me (which I now regret thinking, as it would have been quite easy).

Another year down and this brings us to Tempe’s Tour de Fat festival in October 2008. Again I volunteered to help with setup and with some help pulled off getting 27 people dressed up as Waldo from Where’s Waldo (Not all 27 in this photo...). The biking thing was sticking, unlike other hobbies I had taken up as an adult. By this time I knew I had found something I was passionate about. So when Tempe Bicycle Action Group announced they were electing new board members later that month I nominated myself for a board position. I was elected with 6 other individuals in November of 2008. What followed was a whirlwind of all things bike and for which I shall begin a new post…