Every day the shop is open numerous people come in with a bike that is need of repairs. Often times the person who brings their bike in will end up dropping it off, driving home, and eagerly awaiting the call that in the coming days will let them know their bike is once again ready to ride.
But as it turns out many who bring in bikes for repair either rode their bike to the shop, or else pushed it because of a flat tire or some other mechanical issue prevented them from riding it. They didn’t bring their bike in a car because they don’t have a car, and the only way they are getting anywhere any time soon is if we fix their bike while they wait.
For many of our patrons a bicycle is their only means of transportation, and in recognition of that fact we do our absolute best to get them back up and rolling and on their way in as little time as possible. This could be as little as 5 minutes to fix a flat tire, or as much as an hour or more replacing the rear tire and tube, both wheels, the front brake caliper, cable and housing, and installing a new chain and freewheel.
Such an extensive repair can cost $100 or more, but for many who frequent Redemptive Cycles that is a repair bill they simply can not afford to pay. Yet these bicycle commuters come to us day in and day out because word on the street has spread: come down to the shop where they will fix your bike, ask questions later.
Although not all bicycle commuters in Birmingham are poor, most are, and they ride their bike not because it’s great exercise or because it’s fun, but rather because they have no better alternative. Without a car or even a bike a Birmingham citizen is forced to choose between walking, which is time consuming and for many quite painful, or the bus, which can’t always be depended on to get somewhere reliably or in a reasonable amount of time, and for many is a luxury they can’t often afford.
For a surprisingly large number of people in our community, bicycles are their primary form of transportation, without which they would be virtually stranded. That is why at Redemptive Cycles anyone who is bicycle dependent will get their bike fixed as soon as possible, and will be asked to pay only what they can afford.
Although the bicycle is not yet frequently considered a viable means of transportation here in Birmingham, every day we have the pleasure of serving cyclists who know intimately just how essential a bicycle can be.