Rob Wetterholt Jr.
Western Michigan University freshman Dan Giancaspro, majoring in art education from Da-Nang, Vietnam, walked his blue bicycle into the Office for Sustainability’s Open Shop Night seeking help and advice about his bike’s braking system following a recent crash.
“Ninety percent of your stopping power comes from the front brake,” Kevin Martini, the non-motorized transportation coordinator at the Office for Sustainability, said. “When you use that brake you have to shift your weight back.”
Open Shop Night at the Office for Sustainability, held every Friday from 1-6 p.m., has grown increasingly popular as it offers cyclists a hands-on way to gain experience repairing their own bicycle and encouraging people to ride their bikes all of the time.
Popularity increases for Open Shop Night
Open Shop Night began in 2010 at the John Gibbs House until the shop moved to their current location at the Office for Sustainability in 2012, Martini said.
“We moved from the Gibbs House to our current location using all bikes,” Martini said. “Tools and stands were moved in trailers behind bikes.”
In their current location at the Office for Sustainability, Open Shop Night has set records for attendance in October, Martini said.
“Last week we had 19 people come in,” Martini said. “The week before that we had 17. We’re way more accessible.”
With four regular staff mechanics, Open Shop Night has dealt with every type of bicycle and any type of modification that people come in with.
“We specialize in less than orthodox methods of repair that are more affordable,” Martini said.
Working on bicycles
David Bere, a sophomore majoring in political science, leaned over a white Trek mountain bike and shifted through the gears, watching the rusty chain slide from one gear to the next.
“The drive train’s skipping gears,” Bere said. “The cables need to be replaced.”
Bere bought his first bike in May 2013 and started working at Open Shop Night in June 2013.
“I wanted to learn how to take care of it,” Bere said.
Juan Cunningham, a junior studying mechanical engineering, was at his first Open Shop Night learning about his bicycle and attended because of the signs he had seen around WMU’s campus.
“I saw signs about it and wanted to come in,” Cunningham said. “I came here and met scholars about bicycles so I’m getting everything fixed. Pretty much anyone can come in and get first hand experience on repairing their own bike.”
Gabriel Fifelski, a junior double-majoring in Spanish and human resources management, owns two bicycles and maintains them using tools provided at Open Shop Night.
“All the tools that are necessary for weekly upkeep are available as well as being to ask questions and get answers,” Fifelski said.