“I’ve done basic things before, like patch and change a tire, grease parts, but what I’m learning right now about truing a rim, that’s the most difficult part of the bicycle,” says Marlon, a day laborer at the Downtown Community Job Center, as he trued his first rim at Bici Digna’s Bike Mechanic Training class this past Saturday.
“It’s important to know, because one of the basic principles of the bicycle is for it to be trued correctly, because when you’re riding and your bike is trued correctly, your body rides correctly,” Marlon says. “If it isn’t, you put more force into your pedaling. Everything about the bike is important, you know, but this is the part most difficult to fix.”
“I’m learning more, like what side I can true, because this truing thing, it’s a little complicated,” says Gil, another day laborer and Bike Mechanic Training participant. This wasn’t Gil’s first time truing a bicycle rim, but it was his first time doing it on a truing stand. “I’ve never trued on this device before, I’ve done it on the bike itself.”
“The Bicycle Kitchen lent us four truing stands, so we were able to get everyone on a truing stand and everyone had spoke wrenches and things they needed to true a wheel,” says Arlen Jones, Bici Digna program coordinator.
This past Saturday was Bici Digna’s 10th Bike Mechanic Training class. “The classes are going good, but they’re going different than we expected,” says Arlen, as workers have had to make sacrifices in order to participate in the courses. “We found it’s really difficult to predict work. People would get work on Friday, but the guy at the job site would tell them it’s a two-day job, so to commit going [to class] on Saturday would require turning down work on Friday, and we found that was kind of a big problem.
“We have had some people who, even though they’re really good and handy, have decided to stick around and commit to not working on Saturdays and come [to the classes.] I feel really lucky and really privileged to be able to work with them.”