Rookie Commuter: I’m back, baby…or babies.

Someone commented on my previous column— about crashing my bike– and said “Tim! Swing by Community Cycles and we’ll get you rolling again.” Without any other options, since funds to replace my bike were nonexistent, I had my girlfriend give me, and my broken baby, a ride to Community Cycles.

There she is, back again. Notice the front fork is a different color.

There she is, back again. Notice the front fork is a different color.

The Boulder Community Cycles provides a unique experience when compared to the offerings of a normal bike shop. When your bike is broken, a trip to the repair shop includes spending a lot of money on parts and labor for someone else to fix your transportation machine. Community Cycles, however, is set up to give you all the tools you need to fix your own bike with enough practiced staff and volunteers around to give you help before you lose your temper and take a baseball bat to your spokes.

When I arrived at the shop, I wasn’t prepared. There is a level of professionalism that I’m at, which is not much professionalism. A more practiced adult would have taken note of the name of the person who emailed him, gone into the shop and asked to speak with that person, and so on and so forth. Instead, I got to Community Cycles, wandered up to someone and said “I write a column, and someone who works here commented on it, so, uh, here I am.”

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Let me get a little closer here so you can see it’s really a new fork. The rest of the bike is white, the fork is black. New fork.

The woman I had spoken to looked at me and said, “Well, do you know who commented?”

“Uh…No. Maybe his name started with a D? Drew? Don? Derek?”

“That’s Dax right over there, why don’t you talk to him and maybe he can help you.”

The Dax fellow was helping someone at the time, so I looked to my girlfriend to tell her she should go home, as this would probably take awhile. On her face was a goofy smile, the one I get when I’ve been an idiot publically. We’ve been dating for some time now, but my stupidity in front of others never gets old for her.

“You’re ice cream guy! You’re f**ked-up-fork guy!” This Dax gentleman said to me as he walked my way. He was an athletic looking man with black hair and white rimmed glasses, running the front of the store with incredible efficiency. “Say excuse me. It’s a wonderful phrase, and perfect for this exact situation,” he said to someone as they tried, unsuccessfully, to maneuver a bike through a crowd of people.

Dax walked over to a wall of parts and pulled off a piece of metal that looked to be the same as the piece shattered on my bike.

“Here, this should work.”

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What’s this? A new angle? A new fork?

Instead of asking for money, Dax had me fill out a piece of paper. Turns out, Community Cycles will work with members of the public who can’t afford bikes or parts in order to help them have a means of transportation. They even have an “Earn-A-Bike program” for low-income civilians–a demographic I am most certainly in.

I thought this was the end of my time at the store. Now I would take this fork to another shop to have someone else put it on my bike for me. Instead,Dax ushered me through the back, as I tried to think of a way to thank him, and brought me into a workshop room with tools I couldn’t name, because I know nothing about fixing bikes. There were also people I couldn’t name, but only because I hadn’t been introduced. Unlike tools, you can’t guess people’s names by their shape and function. Unless it’s your plumber with his crack showing, his name is always Chuck, or Bruce. Anyway, Dax pointed to an older bearded man and said, “That’s Dan, he’ll help you out.”

Dan, a soft-spoken man, helped me attach the new fork to my bike, expertly dealing with my repetitive questions regarding what he was doing, how I could help, and was I doing this wrong? Are you sure this goes there? That doesn’t look right. Oh, I see. Okay, what are you doing now?

The process involved taking the brakes off my previous fork, inserting the new one, and also truing up my wheel. Dan was convinced that since my fork snapped off, my wheel was, as he put it, “f–ked”. But somehow the wheel had stayed intact and just took a moment to straighten out. We also tested if my frame had been compromised in the crash. I looked fine, but keeping with the mentality of Community Cycles, I was the one that checked it. So it might disintegrate underneath me while riding since, and I know I’ve said this before, I’m a moron.

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A beautiful fork, ugly feet.

The entire process only took a couple hours, and soon I was knocking on my girlfriend’s door, proudly showing off my fixed bike that I thought was lost in the crash.

Of course, I owe an enormous thank you to Community Cycles and Dax Burgos. In the shockwave of my crash, I didn’t know how I would afford the ticket, let alone if the woman’s insurance would come after me. So having to also worry about my bike nearly put me in a psych ward. While my frame is still warped, I am grateful to have something to get me around. Something to ride on without a shirt and in shorts that are almost unacceptably short. Community Cycles is a wonderful shop, looking out for the town that it is a part of, and I recommend anyone stop by and take a peek inside.

Thank you, guys. It’s good to be back.

Becca Heaton

Becca Heaton is the program coordinator and editor for BikeLife Cities' city magazines and website. An avid cyclist, Becca is "embarrassed" to share that she has 5 different bikes... and she rides them all!

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