Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Free Cycles by Myles Riley

In the beginning of January the Wilderness and Civilization Program began its Spring semester, as did everyone else.  Bu t this was a different start; ours encompassed various community-oriented internships, one of which was my internship at Free Cycles, a  local bicycle shop that generously donates bicycles and parts to the public.  The shop consists of numerous employees and interns, including myself.

Together this group of very mechanically savvy individuals work together from noon to six in the evening helping people fix up old bikes, make repairs, organize the shop and make it fun to be there.

Above: there are literally hundreds of bicycles in the warehouse.

<-- Bob Girodano, the proud owner of Free Cycles.

The Free Cycles shop is located on 1st street, at the very end, in the back of a secluded neighborhood.  At first glance it may seem to be nothing out of the ordinary, but the music may engulf you when you open the door.  My first day there and many days after were accompanied by genres including (but not limited to) punk rock, opera, classic rock, and some types I cannot describe.  Some people like to come in and just wanderer around searching for bike parts and others come in to get serious work done.  I have to admit it is comical to observe the different types of people who step foot into Free Cycles.
Below: People working on children's bikes.

There are literally hundreds of bicycles in the warehouse. It is common to see people helping each other out at Free Cycles, partly because the employees feel no need to play dress up; they are very personable and down-to-earth individuals.

(Above: A typical tool line up in the shop)

The internship consists of just a simple six-hour work week and the work schedule is more than flexible.  I loved most that I was allowed to show up any time to complete my weekly hours.  It was truly a relaxed internship.  I gained experience with maintaining bicycles and talking with locals about various ideas relating to bicycle designs and bettering Free Cycles' involvement with Missoula.  Free Cycles is committed to helping the Missoula community, as are its employees.

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