New immigrant, new experience in North end
New life in the North end
I am a newcomer to Halifax and currently living in the North end near the lovely Q Lofts building. What I did as soon as I got to Halifax last summer was to buy a used bike. I think summer is the best time to ride a bicycle because the weather is so nice and it is easy to become more familiar with the local area.
Things may not be what they seem…
I do not know anything about bikes, especially used ones and I thought the speed was too slow for some reason, the low seat hurt my knee, and moreover, I found out that it had cracked tires. To fix them before spring came, I searched some bike shops for information. I thought it might be better to buy a new one. I also searched YouTube to see if I could fix it if I buy a tire. Nope, I wouldn’t dare fix it without the basic knowledge and the tools of the bike repair.
Seek and ye shall find
During this time, a fellow POLYPEEP let me know about Ecology Action Centre. Bike Again! is a volunteer-run, do-it-yourself bike shop with women and Trans* bike repair night every Tuesday evening. On Wednesday evenings, everyone is welcome. I visited the centre, equally curious and concerned. However, there was a wide range of various bike parts and tools and two volunteers welcomed me with a big smile.
You can do it because even I can do it
As soon as they listened to the problems with my bike, they taught me how to disassemble. They gave me the proper tools to use and guided me step by step on how to take apart the bike to fix it. Although the bike terminology was unfamiliar to me, as English is my second language, I could comfortably follow their instructions.
For the first time in my life, I cleaned up the chain by my own hand and took the parts apart one by one. Some parts were very firmly stuck so used chemicals and power tools and even joined forces with three other women to free them. Finally, I could change the tire and put air in it. They adjusted the seat to my height and kindly write down the name of the missing part to help me when I go buy it.
Phew! Three hours passed quickly; I worked hard enough on the bike to get my hands black. We wrapped it up and will continue the rest of the work next week. If it wasn’t for this opportunity, I would never have fixed the bike. My old bicycle might have been abandoned somewhere and a possible cause of environmental pollution.
Love North end
Although it has been less than a year since I have lived in Halifax, I feel that generally local people are friendly and likely to help someone. And what’s more, in the North end where I live, there are many convenient facilities including Bike Again! within walking distance. I am looking forward to the more exciting experience!
Visit Bike Again! on Facebook