On a sunny, mild, early February afternoon, I joined a crowd of excited students, faculty, administrators and Santa Barbra Bicycle Coalition staff at City College for the grand opening of the campus’s first bike shop.
We munched on brownies and oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies and sipped lemonade while touring the new do-it-yourself (DIY) bike repair shop housed inside a blue shed next to the bridge on the east campus. Students, faculty, and staff can now pedal their bikes to the shop from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Thursday for simple affordable DIY repairs or to purchase bicycle parts and accessories. The shop based on SBBike’s Bici Centro model will also host education classes and fun bike-focused events.
SBCC joins forward-thinking universities and colleges that are embracing alternative transportation plans that encourage cycling. Like many urban campuses across the country, SBCC is working to reduce the demand for parking, reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, and create sustainable alternative transportation policies. Encouraging everyone on campus to make cycling a viable option for short trips is one of the best ways to achieve those goals. The list of institutes of higher education that have set up bike shops that encourage cycling is long. In the past five years, for example, the University of Oregon, Carnegie Mellon, Princeton, West Kentucky University, and the University of Maryland, among many others, have all developed various types of DIY bike repair shops or services. In surveys of college students and staff, one of the frequently mentioned barriers to increased cycling has been the simple lack of accessible tools and knowledge about how to fix a bike. These shops answer that need and empower students by giving them the expertise to learn how to fix their bikes themselves.
Photo caption: Sergio Garcia is ready to help you learn how to fix your bike.
Photo credit: Christine B
It’s not just about the repairs. Great DIY bike shops, like Bici Centro’s, create a sense of community for all cyclists. Bici Centro was founded on the belief that you create a community of cyclists by working together and getting your hands dirty.
Two City College students, Kevin McClintock and Sergio Garcia will staff the shop along with volunteers. McClintock is a dedicated Bici Centro volunteer, and Garcia, before attending City College, was the president of Santa Barbara High School’s SBici after school bike shop program jointly sponsored by the Don’s Net Café and SBBike. They are both serious bicycle enthusiasts and super mechanics who will help you learn how to fix your bike. They’ll also give advice about commuting routes and help you find other local cyclists for fun rides or to race, mountain bike, or tour with. McClintock and Garcia will be working with Mike Vergeer, the shop’s adviser.
Vergeer is an SBBike board member as well as an SBCC geography teacher. Together, they’ll be organizing education classes where you can learn to ride safely and become a confident rider or how to lock your bike so it won’t be stolen. Simply put, the SBCC bike shop is a good place to hang out.
While munching on those yummy cookies I thought about one of my old friends, Dan Barnett. Dan was a college roommate. He was also the first person I knew at Carnegie Mellon who rode a bike. I bought a white-and-blue-striped Atala so that we could ride to school and go on adventures together. Imported from Italy, my Atala cost $170 but had Campy hubs and derailleurs. Dan loves to cook and makes incredible oatmeal chip cookies. Here’s Dan’s easy-to-make (except for the mixing) recipe.
Dan’s Cookie Recipe
• 2 sticks of butter (1 cup or ½ lb)
• 1 cup of dark brown sugar
• ½ cup white sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup of whole wheat flour
• 1 cup of white flour
• 1 tsp of baking soda
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 spoon of instant coffee
• Vanilla extract
• 1 orange’s worth of orange zest
• 1-2 tsp of cinnamon (to taste)
• 2 cups of chips (a combo chocolate, mint, caramel, butterscotch, peanut butter)
• 1 cup of walnuts or other nuts of your choice
• 3 cups of oats
Add ingredients in the order listed. First cream the butter and sugar. Then add eggs, flour, baking soda, and salt. With the dry instant coffee in a spoon, pour vanilla extract over it until the instant coffee dissolves and becomes slurry. Add it to the batter followed by the orange zest and cinnamon. Add chips and nuts and stir well before adding the oats. When the oats are added the batter will be very hard to mix. Get a strong person to help you stir or mix with your hands. Pre-heat your oven to 375 F while mixing batter thoroughly. Place rounded spoon-sized blobs on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 11 minutes. Cool and eat.
The SBCC campus shop is the newest in town. The oldest is the UCSB Associated Students Bike Shop. Founded in 1974, the student-funded, nonprofit shop is dedicated to education, service, and safety. Many of our region’s cyclists, mechanics, and dedicated volunteers got their start at the AS Bike Shop. The new SBCC shop has a long legacy to build on.
Enjoy Dan’s cookies while you fix your bike or maybe munch a few after a picnic lunch at Leadbetter or Hendry’s. The weather is perfect for a beach day. You can roll through the SBCC campus on the way, say hi to Mike, Sergio, or Kevin, and take a tour of the new bike shop.