The Velorution Bike Workshop is run and operated by volunteers to help people fix up their bicycles. In Paris, the workshop is open Tuesdays and Thursday from 16h-21h, and Sundays from 14h-19h.
This place is just. awesome.
I recently bought a bike off Craigslist for an upcoming bike trip in the Netherlands. It was a great find but the bike definitely needed some tuning.
A friend had told me about the Velorution Bike Workshop, so I decided to check out the atelier located at the Maison de Velo, 37 boulevard Bourdon (the workshop entrance is at 6 rue Jacques Coeur).
In order to participate in the workshop, you must first become a member and pay 10EUR (or more as you like) for an annual subscription. You then have access to an enormous set of tools, spare parts, and most of all, really kind and knowledgeable people to help and give advice to fix up your bike.
Once I arrived at the workshop, I signed in and then they just let me loose. I felt lost for about 2 minutes - just the amount of time to run into Ingi, and Icelandic-French volunteer who warmly helped me get started with my repairs.
In a matter of an hour, with the help of Ingi and other volunteers, I managed to
1/ pump my tires
2/ cut off an old bike lock that was stuck to the bike (yep, learning how to steal bikes too now!)
3/ add a rack to the back of the bike to be able to attach bags (a rack which was available in their stock of parts)
4/ add a kickstand
5/ do an all-round check of the gears, breaks, pedals, and tires.
All this, while listening to good music and talking to interesting people. I'm inspired to go back and learn more and be part of this bike revolution - the velorution.
This workshop combines so many awesome principles - first, bicycles. Let's face it, bicycles are genius engineering and - everyone should ride bikes. They are fun, efficient, a great workout, and good for the environment. Second, community. The aspect of being with others and helping each other and exchanging is so powerful. Third, fixing! We are seeing a a new movement of fixit/DIY among engineers and artists that is inspiring. Where are grandparents had little, and fixed what they had, my generation had a new relationship with objects: buy cheap, buy often, and dispose. I'm terrible at sewing and I don't know how to fix anything! But I want to "return" to the model of our grandparents.
Fixing creates an intimacy between you and your possessions, and not only is better for the environment, but improves the quality of your life.
Now, my main concern as I grow an affection for my new blue bike, is how do I deal with the fact that it might (high chances) get stolen. This is another topic of discussion.
For now, get a bike, fix it, and ride on.