City’s first bicycle co-op brings color, altruism to West Side residents

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David Torres, Davis Middle School 7th-grader, reaches for a screw to bolt a handlebar to his handmade BMX bicycle Sept 2 during open shop night at EarnABike on 2619 Guadalupe St. Since mid-July, Torres has donated more than 24 hours to the co-op and built four bicycles from scratch.  Jennifer M. Ytuarte

David Torres, Davis Middle School seventh grader, reaches for a screw to bolt a handlebar to his handmade BMX bicycle Sept. 2 during open shop night at EarnABike at 2619 Guadalupe. Since mid-July, David has donated more than 24 hours to the co-op and built four bicycles from scratch. Photo by Jennifer M. Ytuarte

EarnABike founder Cristian Sandoval checks a tire for leaks as nursing freshman Daniel Esquivel holds the tire by its spokes Sept. 2 during open shop night at EarnABike on 2619 Guadalupe St. In July, Esquivel pieced together his own bicycle from used donations as part of the co-op's EarnABike program.  Photo by Jennifer M. Ytuarte

EarnABike founder Cristian Sandoval checks a tire for leaks as nursing freshman Daniel Esquivel holds the tire by its spokes. In July, Esquivel pieced together his own bicycle from used donations as part of the EarnABike program. Photo by Jennifer M. Ytuarte

Volunteering “pays” for the opportunity to build a bike.

Jennifer M. Ytuarte

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

A lime-green row house, matching shed and shipping container on Guadalupe Street are home of the city’s first bicycle co-op.

Founder Cristian Sandoval said the co-op’s goal is getting the neighborhood mobile with three key programs: open shop, where participants can use the co-op’s tools to fix or modify their own rides; BScuela, a play on the spanish word for school, a series of classes on bike repairs and maintenance; and EarnABike, its namesake, allowing participants to build their own bicycle if they volunteer at least 24 hours at the shop.

BScuela is 6:30-8 p.m. the fourth Monday of the month. Open shop is weekly from 6-9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 2-6 p.m. Saturdays at 2619 Guadalupe St.

The co-op does not have a strongpower supply, so open shop ends when the sun sets.

Lydia Boudreaux, EarnABike general manager and business sophomore at this college, said her participation in the program started in June. The co-op debuted the same month. “I heard about this program and spent the summer cleaning, tearing down bikes and building my own,” she said.

She said her bike is in a constant state of improvement. She pointed toward her bike, propped against the door of the co-op’s metal shipping container, which stores bikes in progress.

“I added a sticker and some tape to the handlebars but want to work on the seat, too,” she said.

Navarro Academy graduate Clement Ronald inspects his bicycle's handlebar as nursing freshman Daniel Esquivel makes sure it is aligned with the head tube and fork below Sept. 2 during open shop night at EarnABike on 2619 Guadalupe St. San Antonio's premiere bicycle co-op helps participants build their own bicycle by using donated bicycle frames and parts.  Photo by Jennifer M. Ytuarte

Navarro Academy graduate Clement Ronald inspects his bicycle’s handlebar as nursing freshman Daniel Esquivel makes sure it is aligned with the head tube and fork below. San Antonio’s premiere bicycle co-op helps participants build their own bicycle by using donated bicycle frames and parts. Photo by Jennifer M. Ytuarte

As she spoke, 12-year-old David Torres, a seventh grader at Davis Middle School, walked into the shipping container and pointed out his bike, trying to lift it from the pile of unfinished bikes-in-progress.

Over the summer, David assembled four bicycles and is building a BMX bike he plans to use for tricks.

In the backyard, Navarro Academy graduate Clement Ronald lifted a rusty red, 12-inch bike frame and added it to a row of 12-inch and 16-inch frame donations.

Ronald helped over the summer and built from scratch a Japanese-made ’70s road bike.

“I’m repaying the favor,” he said. “They gave me a bike, why not help out?”

Until now, the use of tools has been free, but starting Oct. 1, Sandoval said an annual membership is $25, or $5 per visit to use the shop’s tools.

For more information about EarnABike, call Sandoval at 210-660-8260 or via www.earnabikecoop.org.

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