Donate, borrow or fix up
A former library and one-time bicycle rehab shop will once again echo to the sound of spinning wheels and clicking gears.
The 4,000-square-foot building at 5600 Esperanza Dr. NW ceased being the Esperanza Branch library more than 10 years ago. It took on a new life when community activist Richard Rivas leased it for his Community Bike Recycling Program, which rehabilitated bicycles and donated them to needy children.
Rivas died in 2011, but the bicycle legacy will live on when the building reopens March 8 as the Esperanza Community Bike Shop with bike repair workstations, a bicycle education center and a bicycle lending program modeled on a library loan system.
“It’s been my long term goal to have a community bike shop in Albuquerque,” said Chuck Malagodi, the city’s community recreation coordinator, who specializes in bicycle education.
The new center will provide a home for classes on safe cycling in traffic and bicycle mechanics that the city’s Parks and Recreation Department has offered for many years through its Bike Safety Education Program.
Funding for the shop came from a blend of city resources and federal grant money, Malagodi said.
It also will be a resource for kids, teens and adults, said shop manager James Bailey. He plans to run a six-week program for 10- to 17-year-olds where they will learn to overhaul or build a bicycle, and have an opportunity to “earn” their own bike. The program will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays during the school year.
Bailey also has arranged to have a work study program teaching high school students to be bicycle mechanics.
The shop will be open from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from noon to 7 p.m. on Sundays, when local residents can drop in to work on their own bicycles. Each of the six workstations is equipped with a bicycle stand and an extensive range of tools.
Malagodi said the bicycle education program already has a small fleet of bicycles that will be the nucleus for a bicycle library. People will be able to borrow one of the bicycles for a month, similar to a library loan, he said.
The shop is seeking donations of usable bicycle parts, bike frames and all types of bikes, he said. Anyone interested in donating should call Malagodi’s office at 768-BIKE to arrange to bring in the items, or to have them picked up.
His office also is running an art contest in advance of the Community Shop opening. Artists can submit a photo, drawing or painting on the theme, “the joy of biking,” by March 1. Submission forms are available from Malagodi by calling 768-BIKE.