Bike shop gears up

Artists, volunteers, and bike enthusiasts crowded into Blackstone Bicycle Works for its grand opening Saturday, wheeling bicycles and carrying food. A man in a yellow jersey, black tights, and bike shoes praised the guacamole on his plate, while a woman pushed her chocolate cake on willing guests, saying, "It's so good I made two."

The bike shop is a project of the Experimental Station, housed in an unassuming brick building behind sprawling community gardens at 61st and Blackstone. Founder and director Dan Peterman, MFA'86, calls the nonprofit station "an incubator for small enterprise, a venue and workplace for the arts, [and] a laboratory of urban ecology and alternative education." Reopened after a 2001 fire, Blackstone Bicycle Works offers adult classes and employs local kids who earn bicycles, parts, and accessories by doing bike repair and maintenance for shop customers.

Ready for the kids, workbenches lined the shop's walls, fitted with tools in their outlined spots. Light streaming through colored glass disks in the plywood walls illuminated a mural depicting pre-fire youth-program participants, now in their 20s. Program director Christopher Wallace is still enlisting participants from nearby schools like William H. Ray and Andrew Carnegie elementary schools. Also at the opening was bike shop summer intern Sofia Narvaez-Gete, '07, who said she's excited to see how the program turns out. "I want to work in the shop or at least volunteer during the school year because I love the place and people, and I worked so much on getting the place ready for when the kids come that I want to be able to see the fruit of my labor."

Jenny Fisher, '07

DPetermanEtAl_thumb.jpg MuralCU_thumb.jpg PetermanSon_thumb.jpg

Photos (left to right): Experimental Station founder Dan Peterman (far right) chats with guests; a closeup of the mural depicting pre-fire youth-program participants; a boy examines the tool benches.

October 18, 2006