Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Feel Good News

It's Friday, and in my books, that means it's time to feel good. Let's set aside the doom-and-gloom stories for a moment and focus on some good news!


Okay, so maybe the really good news today is that the Progressive Conservative Party was not elected in yesterday's provincial election. But my voter apathy rant from earlier this week (though justified because voter turnout hit an all-time low at 49.2%) kind of filled my quota for political content on my blog for a while, so let's talk about something else!

Recently I heard from two of my readers who live in Boston that their city lags behind in green initiatives. Today I'm happy to tell Sabrina and Lori that they can at least feel good about these cool new bike repair stations located next door in Cambridge! Costing about $1,000 each, the stations provide cyclists with basic tools for making quick-fix repairs while on the go. The number of cyclists in Cambridge more than doubled between 2002 and 2008, so the need is apparent. Stations like this keep existing bike riders happy, and I'd like to think they also encourage more people who typically walk or drive to hop on a bike instead, knowing they won't have to buy a repair kit to carry around with them.

While it's possible that someone may want to steal the tools - all they would need are wire cutters, after all  - I would like to think that this type of vandalism wouldn't happen with a cycling-related initiative, just like it's not happening with the BIXI bikes here in Toronto. I don't always have a lot of faith in humanity, but the folks around here seem to feel a sense of ownership and perhaps a bit of a protective attitude towards communal bike infrastructure... which means I hope we get these bike repair stations, too!

To my Canadian readers, have a great Thanksgiving weekend! To my American readers, happy Columbus Day - hope you get the day off work. :)

Photo of bike repair station used under Creative Commons from Chris Devers (flickr).


  1. Three cheers for NOT having to deal with three tiers of Evil, Selfish Bastards(tm)!

    The bike repair stations are very neat... I wonder if there's an organization that runs lessons on how to use the various tools and equipment? And I wonder how we can get those in Toronto...

  2. Between YouTube and bike-themed websites, there are plenty of ways to learn, for free, how to make minor repairs to bikes. For in-person workshops that may cost a small fee, look up local bike networks!

    Check out this cool blog entry on must-have tools that riders should carry with them... outside of Cambridge, anyway... :)

  3. Boston also set up a bike rental program (hubway bikes- similar to a progam you blogged about in toronto i think, the bikes are parked in a certain place like zipcar, and you pay with your credit card and rent it for a short while or have a yearly subscription) that seems to be getting really popular. I always see people out on them when I am riding to work on my own bike!

    For Boston people, check out bike repair classes from Bikes not Bombs and other local groups/shops. Also if you are at the right place at the right time I believe the boston cyclist union does free tune ups at farmers markets, first come first serve.

    as for tools, since i always ride with a backpack anyway, i try to have a set of allen keys, a small wrench, plastic tire levers and a spare tube in my pack with me whenever I ride. I have learned how to do minor repairs just in case by watching friends and youtube.

  4. I just love the concept of sharing. In our consumer culture everybody needs to own their own, but of course this is destructive to the environment. I hope that as the world economy continues to tumble, more and more societies will set up sharing systems such as this tool share. Perhaps more green organizations will support such programs as well.

  5. Hannah - Thanks for all of those great tips! Yes, Hubway Bikes sounds like BIXI, and I saw a few when I was in Boston last month. So nice to see a great program in use.

  6. Emily - Sharing systems are absolutely key to the long-term sustainability of our society. Why does everyone need to own a full set of tools they rarely use? Even my modest collection of tools for household use collects dust most of the year. There should be tool shares for all sort of tool types... fixing bikes, car repair, home renovation, etc.