Last night marked the first 21Ambassador Service training night. The 21 Ambassador’s have the opportunity to attend these nights in order to learn more on how to repair bicycles, its also a great way for us to get together and have a discussion about how the program is working. It was great to hear the feedback from their first couple months of Ambassadors work and to talk about future plans and opportunities. Geana #1, Eric #9, Nick#15, Brian#5, and I #Kyle spent the better part of two hours going over some triage bicycle techniques and tips, repairs to help put you back on the road after a unforeseen breakdown. We also reviewed in-depth service skills and shared repair experience’s from the road. It is important the Ambassadors have a functional understanding about bicycle fit, in particular saddle height, and we went over some general guidelines and rules of thumb that could benefit the riders that they help. If you see these gals and guys on the road say hey and don’t hesitate to ask them for some bicycle advice.
I assisted a gentleman on a new light blue kona single speed today. I saw him and a gentleman in a team oregon kit posted up on 20/NE Sandy. It looked like they were hard at work on a simple flat fix but I pulled over and asked if they needed any assistance. Seems that the rear brake pad was adjusted into the sidewall of the (3 day old!) tire and it blew out. I popped the provided boot in there and asked how much time he had, as there’s a bike shop like 10 blocks away. Guy said he was in a hurry to Broadway and I watched him pump up the tire, reassembled the bike and headed on his way. I handed him a card, told him the website, maybe 21st’ll get a call.
This morning I also asked a lady fixing her tire (flat?) if she needed any help, but to a negative response. I find people are more willing to let you help them if you actually stop.
Whenever I see a cyclist stopped on the side of the road, or walking their bike, or bending down around some imperceptible thing on their chain, or really doing anything at all that seems like it might portend something bad for the rest of their commute, I always stop and ask if they’re okay.
Usually, it’ll turn out to be someone at the tail end of fixing a flat tire, or maybe someone who was just checking something out. Usually, the response I get is “I’m fine, but thanks!” Even though it turns out that most people I ask don’t need anything, they generally seem pleased that I stopped to make sure, and I usually get some form of “thanks for asking.”
Tonight, I was thinking about that after I passed a guy on the Hawthorne bridge–he was one of those bent-over-his-bike kind of fellows, and I thought I’d make sure all was well. “I’m fine,” he said. “Thanks!”
I biked off thinking about how smiley people get when you make time to check in on them. I was thinking about how happy it makes me for people to look up and say “thanks!” like I totally made their day. And then I ran into another guy stopped on the side of the road as I was turning off onto Division Street.
Just to be clear, two people in the span of 5 minutes is not a normal ratio of people who may potentially need roadside assistance. But regardless, I slowed down, and when he looked up at me, asked if he needed any help.
“No,” he said. “But want some gum?”
It wasn’t a thank you, nor did I really feel like I’d helped on the ambassador front, but it totally made my day:)
First was a lady with a cruiser and a flat. I couldn’t get the front wheel off because it wasn’t a quick release but was able to pull the tube out, find the hole and patch it up to get her back on the road. She was just out for a pleasure ride on the Springwater near the 205 path.
The second person was working on his bike at a bench along the Springwater along Johnson Creek Road. He had a ton of tools with him but just needed some extra hands to get his front brake cable adjusted properly. It took us a few tries but eventually we got it to hold with the right amount of clearance for his brake to work and he was on his way.
So far I have gotten to use the 3 Wrencho but needed to also use the tire levers I had as I needed more to work the tire off the rim. Used the patch kit but not the Shiny Object to inflate the tire, I am just a little leery of it but perhaps it will be demonstrated at the upcoming training.
Was glad to be able to help get these two folks back on the road!
No bike tools were called for, but glad I had my first-aid kit. Bike-on-bike crash, hit-n-run, injuries…
During the evening rush on N Williams, a crowd was gathered around a cyclist sprawled on the sidewalk, his gear distributed in yard-sale fashion in the bike lane, bystanders asking if he was alright. After five minutes the crowd cleared, and the rider got up. We had him do basic self-check…vision, limbs, etc. Some rough road rash and super painful shoulder. He took my offer of a clean wet cloth to wipe his road rash, Neosporin, and Ibuprofin. After ten more minutes of getting his bearings, he called his wife, who met us where we walked him, 1 block over to the door of Emanuel hospital.
His story (as I recall it): he was riding in the Williams bike lane, and the other rider ran the stop-sign at Stanton and cut him off causing him to swerve left. Other rider then button-hooked right and cut him off again, causing him to swerve right, and when both his wheels hit the curb and flipped him sideways onto the pavement.
Following week status update:
“[right side] torn rotator cuff and probably a fractured scapula. Neither are terribly treatable other than with rest and painkillers, so I’m in a sling and theoretically taking it easy”…”decent health coverage, thankfully”
Its great to see this idea being picked up by the media, we are excited to have the 21 Ambassador’s program up and running and we look forward to a great year helping out our community.
This is a first year project and it is important to note that we still developing the language and feel of our team. We appreciate Bike Portland‘s coverage of our program and value the community feedback outlined in the comments section. Have a look at the article and let us know your questions and concerns.
Here are some photos of the Tool Rolls that the 21 Ambassadors will be using. They look real nice!
Each roll is numbered and will be packed full of tools.