Thursday, December 18, 2014

Taking the Lane: It's the MOST Wonderful Time of the Year!

Looking for great gifts for friends, family, or charity?
The Holiday Season has always been the MOST wonderful time of the year for me, so once I started working retail 30 (gulp) years ago I wondered if it would hold the same wonderfulness it always had. All of a sudden the busiest time of the year became even busier, but I found I loved it! I have made a game of "shopping local" for all my Holiday gifts, this has kept the wonderfulness there, and made it actually more fun! Whether it's "Lincoln Local" or "Toronto Local", I get it done!

Warm clothes to commute in.
The fun part about the Holidays for me is I am always finding cool stuff for me as I very seldom shop during the year (and if I do it is always small and local....less stress!) So when I head out to do my Holiday shopping, imagine the fun I have! There are so many cool things, I can't help but buy for myself :)

We love supporting local!
I have also trained my family to shop local. They understand how important this is to me and how happy it makes me to open a gift from Tsuru, Monkey Wrench, Patino, Cycle Works, Stella, The Coffee House.....just to name a few :) These are all in my hood so they can get there easily....also cuts down on the stress of the Holidays! I like to think it also cuts down on the stress in their lives, this busy Holiday Season, by sending them to small stores that know me and what I like (you see it really IS all about me!) :)

Local shops are the best
I will never forget the year that Nathan, from Cycle Works, brought me this HUGE bottle of electrolyte. Not for me, you see, but for my dog! He remembered that I swore it was electrolytes that was keeping Annie alive, and gifted me a huge bottle at the Holidays! (I still swear it kept Annie alive for 3 years past her deadline of life!)

I'll take one of these!
If I don't get out shopping during the year, how do I know what is out there? Well, look around and ask questions! Commuters are the best communicators! I see the Bar Mitts, I ask where they got them - or where to get them local. I drop an order off at Screen Ink, I see a print with a bicycle saying on it and drop the hint to my family. I see a cool shirt or sweatshirt of a local shop and know where to send the fam! It's really pretty easy, and as I said!

Snow! We ain't afraid of no snow!
As a small, local retailer I really enjoy the folks that come in this time of year looking for gifts for customers of ours. Knowing what our customers like and being able to show people what it is that would make them happy is priceless! When our customer comes back in LOVING what they received ....well, one more awesome moment for us!

Your helpful bike shop employee. Thank you for supporting our cycling addiction.
If you get out to your local bike shops during the year, they know what you need, want and like and they'll be able to share that with your family and friends. Having local friends in retail is the best....not only at the Holidays but all the year through. You never know when you are going to need these guys to get you through some bike issue and THAT is the true gift, anyway at that moment it is! Holidays are about family and friends really and what I love is that where I do my bike shopping...they ARE my friends!
Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Taking the Lane: It's Always The Season To Support Bicycling

I like visiting my favorite local bike shop to drool over new bikes and bike accessories as much as the next cyclist. They are friendly and knowledgeable and I like supporting them when I can. Maybe you've been dropping hints lately about what would be a great gift, or scoping out gifts you'd like to give your cycling friends and family. If so, stay tuned for next week's post.

Right now though, perhaps what you'd really like is not more accessories, but to learn to work on your own bike and support more bike ridership. Maybe you know someone who's had their bike stolen or needs to have work done on it to be ride-able. If they don't know how to repair it and can't afford to take it to a shop, what then?
B.J. truing a wheel

In this post I'd like to talk about some of the ways you can participate in or support Lincoln's alternative routes to bike ownership and repair. There are several Lincoln bike shops that sell used bicycles, such as Re-cycled, TheUsed Bike Store, Bike Pedalers, Salty Dog Cyclery, and The Bike Rack. There are many on-line resources, such as Lincoln Bike Swap on Facebook, and you'll find more if you do an internet search, and of course, there's Craig's List. There are also a few stolen bike report and recovery databases for those who've had their bike boosted, such as Project 529 and Bike Index, but I'm unsure as to their usefulness in our fair city. Pawn shops sell bicycles too, but in all cases, buyer beware. Some bike shops will look them over for you and tell you what to be aware of. (Monkey Wrench Cycles comes to mind) When it comes to making repairs, if you want to learn to do it yourself, or just be more knowledgeable there are several options. Cycleworks, the Bikerack, and Bike UNL, through Outdoor Adventures, occasionally offer basic maintenance classes for a fee. Mad Dads offers used bikes and repairs at relatively low cost, and gives bikes away in special promotions to kids through the schools.

Gary working on a bike so a kid can ride to school
The Lincoln Bike Kitchen is the newest resource available. It's a bike cooperative that provides refurbished bikes to anyone who volunteers at least 10 hours of their time to the Bike Kitchen. Kids get them for free. Volunteer members learn skills working on bikes and ride away with both transportation and knowledge. Paid memberships are available for supporters as well, and donations are being sought to provide helmets, lights and locks to those riding away with their newly refurbished bikes. The helpful staff of the Bike Kitchen provide advice and adjustments too. If you don't have tools or expertise, you can come during open shop time to work on your own bike. They do not charge for services. The Bike Kitchen will offer special classes on any aspect of maintenance and repair to interested groups(sheclisma's take note.) I'm interested in learning what to do if I'm out on a long ride in the middle of nowhere and have a serious breakdown. There are even women and trans-gender only shop nights. Donations of bikes, parts, accessories, and gear are welcome, and some better items are offered for sale to support the operation. It's a great way to recycle your old bikes, bike parts, and accessories in good shape. I found directions for making a wallet out of inner tubes on their website. How's that for a great DIY idea for that special gift and a good way to reuse inner tubes?

inner tube wallet
Volunteering at the Bike Kitchen is a great way to give back to the cycling community, improve people's lives and grow the next generation of cyclists. See you there!