The Burgess Street Bike Garage
Q&A with Aryn Gaslowitz
The Burgess Street Bike Garage is a new community bike project in the Perry South neighborhood of the North Side. Aryn Gaslowitz, is helping to spearhead this new project with the hope of opening up sometime this spring. Aryn has volunteered at bike co-ops across the continent and she has worked as a mechanic at bike shops here in Pittsburgh, too.
She has volunteered with BikePGH as a bike valet at the MS150 and volunteered her services as a mechanic during our Homewood Bulldawg Bike Rodeo event last summer. This past year she presented at the Women & Biking Forum on bike-packing and bike touring. Back in 2014, Aryn helped the Positive Spin program, as a part of Free Ride, to help youth on the Northside build their own bikes. We had the opportunity to sit down with Aryn, longtime volunteer and instructor at Free Ride, to talk about this new and exciting endeavor.
What is the need you are addressing with this community bike garage?
I am trying to build a space that kids in the neighborhood can come in and learn and just have a place to come in and fix their bike. There are a lot of kids who play nearby in the street and there are adults who try and assist them with their bikes but do not have the tools around. Let’s have more spaces around that people can come to and tinker and play with tools.
Our goal is to build a space where our neighbors can learn tool skills and maintain their bicycles. We hope to create space for young people, especially young women, to explore, tinker, grow, and lead. We hope to open the workshop in the spring and begin holding classes in the summer.
Why did you choose to build this in the Northside?
I live in the Northside and feel like there is not already something like this in that part of town. This space will primarily serve Perry South. We got started because someone was able to offer us a garage space to bring this vision to light.
What types of programs and services will you offer?
We will primarily be an open shop space that folks can come into to use tools and work with a small amount of guidance. I hope to be able to run some classes and workshops, as well as some structured programs. At this point we are collecting building and organizing materials, tools and bike parts.
Favorite bike-packing experience?
I’ve done some really long tours, but some of my favorites have been weekend excursions right here in Western PA.
How did you get involved in cycling?
I biked as a kid a bit and then stopped when I got into college, because I wasn’t going anywhere that was very far away. In my junior year I got a bike and started biking around again and that’s when I started learning how to fix them. Knowing how bikes work made them a lot more interesting to me. Ever since I started learning mechanics, I’ve been committed to biking and learning more about them.
The Burgess Street Bike Garage is located at 311 Burgess Street, in the back. At this point, Aryn’s team is collecting building and organizing materials, tools and bike parts. Want get involved?
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