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    Wednesday
    Jan062016

    Grrrease Time at POP Allston

    For the past few months, we've been partnering with the rad people of Femmechanics, a group of femme and/or trans* and/or women cyclists in Boston. On the first Sunday of every month (1-3pm at POP Allston, 89 Brighton Ave), we host them for Grrrease Time, an Open Shop for people to teach and be taught about bikes in an inclusive space. 

    If you identify with that community and haven't checked out any Femmechanics events yet, do yourself a favor and get on it. Not only do they host Grrrease Time (also found at Bikes Not Bombs and Hub Bicycle), but they also host a huge variety of social events, rides, bike camping, workshops, and a yearly alley cat, Babes Bike Boston.

    This past Grrrease Time session, we made DIY studded tires! Because it's January, and winter hasn't even started yet and the T is already failing. We followed this guy's advice and process, and they turned out really well. 

    Want one of your own? We've got old tires for sale for cheap during our Open Shops. Then you get yourself a couple packs of screws, a drill, put on Netflix for a few hours like you're going to do anyway, and before you know it you're riding in Boston winter like you got four-wheel drive. 

    Stay warm out there friends,

    CW

    Sunday
    Jun212015

    Growing Roots & Building Ties in Charlesview Community

    June 14th, 2015 was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and the wheels were turning at the Josephine A. Fiorentino Community Center at Charlesview. Close to 50 folks, most aged ten and younger, came out for CommonWheels’ first “Family Bikes Fiesta” of the season.

    In addition to the crowd-favorite piñata, we provided bicycles to borrow, bike repair and one-on-one teaching of the basics of bicycle maintenance, and hosted a ride to the nearby Charles River pathways. At the end of four hours, kids had the skills to ride safe and fix smart, and eleven bicycles were donated to families who did not have access to bikes

    The beauty of CommonWheels is the broad range of community we’re able to serve through our events, due in large part to the support and outreach of our neighborhood partners. Although four of the bikes donated went to Charlesview residents, seven other bicycles went to families who do not live at Charlesview—but in the nearby housing development of Faneuil Gardens, or to families who reside with state assistance at the Days Inn Hotel less than a mile from the Josephine A. Fiorentino Community Center. The energy and community of the Fiesta attracted these families from outside of Charlesview, and in turn, these children were able to meet and play with local Charlesview residents, and their parents were introduced to the services and staff of the community center.

    Over the past year, working with Charlesview staff and the Community Center, CommonWheels has hosted six different clinics on bicycle repair and riding, and donated roughly thirty bicycles to Charlesview residents. Our regular presence at Charlesview has resulted in a strong community of families who turn out, time and time again, to fix their bikes, to learn bike handling skills and safe riding, and has helped to build relationships and trust amongst the neighborhood.

    We want to grow these relationships over the years. First, we get young kids riding confidently when they’re 7 years-old, and we stay with them as they learn to fix their own flat tires at age 9, and later help them design a safe route to bike to middle school when they turn 11, and we can look forward to hiring them as CommonWheels staff in their teens.

    CommonWheels doesn’t view our work as a charity resource to be given out, but rather as a relationship that grows stronger and deeper with each interaction. It is through these relationships that our own collective organization, and our own sense of community, grows.

    The overarching mission of CommonWheels is to “empower people to use the bicycle to enhance their lives.” We want the bicycle to be part of everyone’s lifestyle, a free way to access transportation, to gain personal freedom, and to foster a sense of community through the simple joy of riding bikes with friends and neighbors. Our work with Charlesview and our involvement with their community allow us to succeed in that mission, year after year, bike ride after bike ride.

    We look forward to our continued partnership, sharing the bicycle as an avenue to enhance the lives of Charlesview residents and the greater community.

    Monday
    Apr222013

    Open Shop Returns!

    You know if must really be spring when Open Shop finally makes its triumphant return!  Free, DIY, guerilla-style bike maintenance is coming back to the streets of Allston this week.   For those of you who don't know what the deal, Open Shop is our flagship program.  We set up shop on the side of the road with our repair stands and tools, and then help you fix whatever might be ailing your bike, all for free.  We aim to demystify the bike so that you can maintain your ride yourself.

    We're expanding our reach into North Allston this year, so Open Shop will alternate between Union Square (same location as last year), and Barry's Corner (corner of N. Harvard and Western Ave).  Here's a map with our two spots for the season.

    What: Free, DIY, guerilla bike maintenance, and a great cycling community. 
    When: Every Wednesday afternoon, from about 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm, weather permitting.
    Where: Union Square Allston, or Barry's Corner Allston on alternating weeks.

    Thursday
    Apr112013

    A,B,Cs of Bike Maintenance! Fri, 4/12 at 4:30pm

    After cleaning your bike last Sunday, I'm sure you've noticed that your tires may be running a bit low or your brakes a bit soft or your chain skips a bit... Well, we've got you covered! On Fri April 12 from 4:30-6:30 we will be hosting an A,B,Cs of Maintenance workshop at the Harvard Ed Portal Annex. We'll have pumps to inflate tires, wrenches to tighten brakes, and we'll cover the basics of derailleur adjustments to keep you shifting smoothly.

    175 N Harvard St
    in Allston, MA
    02134!

    Come by, learn a thing or two about your ride, and hang out with the CommonWheels Open Shop Crew!

     


    Thursday
    Mar072013

    We're Hiring!

    We currently have a Winter Storm Warning in effect here in Boston, but Spring is, in fact, just around the corner.  We'll be starting up our Open Shop program again very soon.  We're expanding the program this year: multiple locations within Allston, two events per week, and a presence at two farmers markets.  In order to make this happen, we're hiring on some passionate, friendly, organized, and hard-working folks for the season.  Hey! You're a biker-lover with a passion for spreading the bike love and helping people get where they need to go by making sure their bike is properly maintained.  Why haven't you applied yet??  It really seems like you should.

    We have two positions we're looking to fill.  The Event Coordinator is in charge of managing Open Shop from set-up to break-down.  The Mechanic takes the lead on repairs and instruction at Open Shop.  An Application consists of a brief cover letter and a resume, emailed to info@commonwheels.org with either "Event Coordinator" or "Mechanic" as the subject line by Friday, March 22nd.

    Want to know more?  Just keep scrolling down!  Job descriptions are below.

    * * * * * * *

    CommonWheels Bicycle Co-Op is a nonprofit based in Allston. Our mission is to empower people to use the bicycle to enhance their lives. We aim to encourage bike riders of all experience levels and backgrounds to learn to maintain and repair their own bikes, to become confident, safe urban cyclists, and to discover new people and experiences on two wheels. We provide free skill-sharing workshops, creative group rides, tools and peer instruction, multilingual resources, and community.


    Our flagship program is Open Shop, which takes place at Farmers’ Markets and on weekday evenings on major bike thoroughfares. We provide free access to tools and peer instruction on bicycle repair and maintenance. We flag people down as they ride by, and offer free air and bike checks; most people who stop to pump up their tires find that they could also use a brake adjustment, chain lube, or other repairs, maintenance, or fit adjustment. In addition to the ride- by participants, people seek us out for help with repair issues, to work on building a bike, or to purchase a discounted helmet or light. We do not keep many parts in stock; we are focused on simple repairs and diagnosis of major issues. Unlike a bike shop, CommonWheels shows people how to repair and maintain their bike themselves.

    Mechanic/Bike Educator:

    CommonWheels is seeking a passionate and self-directed person with demonstrated mechanics experience to staff Open Shop events in conjunction with an Event Coordinator and additional volunteers. This is a part-time, seasonal position.

    Responsibilities:

    • Diagnose bike repair and maintenance issues
    • Walk participants through repair process, instructing them on how to do the repairs themselves, and demystifying bicycle mechanics for the participants
    • Complete bike repairs of minor and moderate intensity (e.g. fix flat tires, adjust/replace brakes and cables, true wheels, adjust/replace chains, repack hubs and bottom brackets, adjust derailleurs, adjust bike fit), particularly related to safety check
    • Diagnose major repair issues and make recommendations (running the gamut from “go buy this part and come back and we’ll fix it together” to “you’re really better off with a new bike”)
    • Keep track of tools and assist Event Coordinator with inventory of materials/parts used
    • Run workshops on bicycle repair topics such as fixing a flat, cleaning and lubing drivetrain, and occasionally more advanced topics

    Requirements:

    • Must have at least 1 year mechanics experience.
    • Must be comfortable working with a wide range of bicycles of all styles, ages, and levels of disrepair.
    • Comfortable working outdoors from April through October (tent provided; events cancelled in cases of severe weather).
    • Conversational Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese or Korean a plus.
    • Must be highly responsible and able to work independently.
    • Must be friendly, patient, and excited to empower others to learn bicycle mechanics.

    Time Commitment:

    Open Shop: One weeknight per week from April through September, usually 5-8pm, - flexible depending on availability of Staff

    Farmers’ Market: one per week from May through October, alternating Fridays 4-7pm and Saturdays 11-3pm

    Location:
    Allston, alternating weeks between Union Square (Jackson Mann Community Center) and Barry’s Corner (intersection of N. Harvard and Western Ave in North Allston)

    Compensation: contract position, equivalent of $20 - $25/hr

    Event Coordinator:


    CommonWheels is seeking a passionate, organized and self-directed person to manage Open Shop events in conjunction with a mechanic and additional volunteers. This is a part-time, seasonal position for someone who wants to make a difference in their bike community. We are looking for someone who will take initiative, engage others, and promote our Open Shops.

    Responsibilities:

    •     Transport equipment to and from storage space to event location via bicycle trailer
    •     Set up/break down events, including farmers’ market-style tent
    •     Be friendly and outgoing, actively reaching out to bikers passing by and visitors to the farmers’ market, and utilize social media to promote events.
    •     Ensure that all participants sign an electronic waiver before their bike is worked on
    •     Provide peer instruction on basic maintenance and repairs, such as pumping tires, fixing a flat, lubing a chain, and tightening brakes (training will be provided)
    •     Provide advice and resources on safe urban riding skills, good bike routes for transportation and/or recreation, where to buy a bike, etc.
    •     Keep track of donations and keep inventory of materials used at each event
    •     Coordinate with volunteers


    Requirements:

    •     Ability to work independently.
    •     Must be reliable, consistent, organized and prompt.
    •     Experienced in cycling in and around Boston.
    •     Able to lift up to 25 lbs and ride a bike with a trailer attached in urban setting.
    •     Comfortable working outdoors from April through October (tent provided; events cancelled in cases of severe weather)
    •     Conversational Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese or Korean a plus.
    •     Must be friendly, patient, and excited to empower others to become their own mechanic.
    •     Skills with basic bicycle maintenance and repair not required but a plus.



    Time Commitment:


    Open Shop: One weeknight per week from April through September, available 4-9pm (event 5-8pm plus setup/breakdown)- flexible depending on availability of Staff
    Farmers’ Market: one per week from May through October, alternating between Fridays 3-8pm (market 4-7 pm) and Saturdays 10am-4pm (market 11am-3pm)

    Location:

     Allston, alternating weeks between Union Square (Jackson Mann Community Center) and Barry’s Corner (intersection of N. Harvard and Western Ave in North Allston)

    Compensation: contract position, $15 - $18/hr

    CommonWheels is an equal employment opporunity employer.  Women, people of color, LGBTQ persons, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.