Most Tuesdays and Thursdays you’ll find a lot of activity in and around the Patchwork Central Bike Shop. People stop by to see if there might be a newly repaired bike available for them. Others already have a bike, but the breaks stopped working or a tire is bent or the seat is missing.
Many of the people seeking the Bike Shop’s services need transportation in order to get a job. For instance, they report that they work at a factory located north of Evansville on HWY 41 and several miles past the end of the northernmost bus route. With a bike, they can load that bike onto the front bike rack of a bus, take the bus as far north as possible, then ride the bike the rest of the way.
Other people walk to the Bike Shop from the Civic Center immediately after their first meeting with their parole officer. In these cases, one stipulation from the parole officer is that the individual find work immediately, and transportation by bike is key to that work search.
Even when someone has a job, the Bike Shop is key during the first few weeks of that job when reliable transportation means that the new employee can get to work on time for scheduled shifts. But, the two- to three-week wait for the first paycheck means that the new employee has no extra money available to pay for any bike parts or repairs needed to keep their ride reliable.
It is difficult when someone is in need of a bike but there is no bike to give out. To continue to meet the neighborhood’s needs, the Bike Shop depends on donations of used bikes that are in good shape and can be easily rebuilt. The most useful donations are adult (24″ wheels and larger) mountain bikes in need of a minor tune up.
Pete is also looking for an additional volunteer to help organize parts on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from about 9-noon when the shop is open. This person would sort through and organize the parts available in order to streamline the bike repair process. Organizational skills and an interest in bikes would be ideal, but the person would not need to be a bike repair expert.
If you have a bike to donate or if you are interested in volunteering, call Patchwork (812-424-2735) or stop by the Bike Shop on a Tuesday or Thursday morning and ask for Pete.
We are also grateful for continued financial support for the Patchwork Bike Shop from the Evansville Bicycle Club. This support helps with items like bike tubes that must be purchased new.