This is one of the greatest places on earth. The bicycle kitchen in Los Angeles is an incredible non-profit bike shop that adheres to a DIY, DIT mentality. Do it yourself, do it together. With numerous resources and expertise, ‘cooks’ help assist clients in repairing their bicycles while simultaneously teaching them how to make the repair themselves, should they encounter the same problem in the future. Everything is done on a volunteer basis and the Kitchen suggests donations based on the time spent utilizing the space and used parts needed for the repair. I was enveloped with patience, consideration, and knowledge upon entering the Bicycle Kitchen. There is a seemingly religious-like atmosphere permeating throughout the shop. Everyone there loves bicycles in their own unique way. What they love even more is sharing that passion with anyone willing to receive it. I learned so much about bicycle maintenance during the time I spent there. I was not anticipating learning so much about cooperation and communication.
I had the privilege of shadowing a board meeting one night at the kitchen. Finances, building repairs, and things of the like were all discussed. While topics like that can render opposition in ideas, everyone had a voice in a matter and conversations took place in a civilized democratic manner. No one’s opinion was omitted or disregarded. While there was conflict, that conflict was resolved through open communication and concluded free of umbrage. I found it refreshing being reminded that this is the way issues are to be dealt with. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that the board meeting took place right in the repair area of the Kitchen. Anytime tensions mounted, you could just look around remind yourself why people we’re so passionate. Everyone cares about this space and wants the best for it. So to have that constant reminder in the background was helpful.
It’s so much simpler to display such democracy on a diminutive scale like the Bicycle Kitchen , but i fear democracy’s ability to maintain integrity on a national level. There are many more variables to consider. I’m in over my head here. What am I doing? The purpose of this post was to highlight all the positive aspects of the Bicycle Kitchen and express my admiration for it. Why and I comparing it to national governments? Sorry.
Anyway, the Kitchen is open to any person who would like to help out and people can even build their own bike and customize it to their taste. These are a few of the programs they have to offer: http://www.bicyclekitchen.com/index.php?/projects/programs/ I would have loved to build a bike from scratch and give it to someone who could have used it. Unfortunately, the Kitchen has been closed for remodeling for the past few weeks. However these bicycle havens exist in nearly every city so I plan to build one for someone at the Bike Church in Philadelphia. Working on bikes and having greasy, dirty hands at the end of a night is so satisfying, I wish I could bottle up that feeling and sell it at a roadside stand along with peaches and shoofly pie. I just like bicycles a whole lot. I am forever grateful to the Bicycle Kitchen for giving me an outlet to share my knowledge and appreciation of the two wheeled chariot. I think it’s imperative for people to donate a bit of free time to help out an organization of any kind. Plant a tree. Shovel your neighbor’s driveway. Help coach a little league team. Trust me it will feel good. Is any of this hippie bullshit being received?