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RUBARB teaches kids teamwork while helping them refurbish used bikes
sdc11282The Upper Ninth Ward community bike shop called Rusted Up Beyond All Recognition Bikes, or RUBARB, teaches kids basic bicycle maintenance and helps them rebuild donated bikes to take home. “We’re taking something that is rusted and junky looking, and we’re making it work,” said Carl Prey, one of the core volunteers. “That’s the whole idea behind RUBARB’s mission.” Prey talked to New Orleans Living about the origins of the shop and how kids can go there to earn a bike.
How did RUBARB begin?
It started out of Common Ground. There were a ton of bicycles after the storm just lying on the streets. Originally it was about putting them together for the people that were returning and needed to be mobile. Nothing organized.
How did it evolve into a community bike shop?
It was an open shop for anyone, but it wasn’t really kidoriented. As families started coming back to the community, people became aware that there were a lot of children in the neighborhood riding bikes. A small group of volunteers were really into working with the kids. Over the years, RUBARB evolved to focus more on the neighborhood children.
Can adults still use the shop?
Definitely. The name is “community bike shop,” and we try to emphasize that it’s for the community. People come from all over town to either work on their own bikes or donate bikes.
Do the volunteers have a background in biking?
I’ve always ridden a bike, but I never knew how to fix a bike. I know this is true for a lot of the volunteers. We always emphasize that none of us are real bike mechanics. The focus is not necessarily to make amazing bikes, but just to get people moving on bikes.
How do kids earn a bike?
The very first stage is learning to fix a flat. The second stage is taking apart an axle, cleaning out the bearings, regreasing it and putting it pack together. The third stage is choosing a bike. We have a lot of bikes that are in half repair. We look at the bike, see what it needs, and then we work on what needs to be done. That generally includes putting on new chains and working on the brakes. In the fourth stage, we try to instill the idea that at a community shop you need to give something back to the community. Since money is not involved, the fourth step is to help The Upper Ninth Ward community bike shop called Rusted Up Beyond All Recognition Bikes, or RUBARB, teaches kids basic bicycle maintenance and helps them rebuild donated bikes to take home. “We’re taking something that is rusted and junky looking, and we’re making it work,” said Carl Prey, one of the core volunteers. “That’s the whole idea behind RUBARB’s mission.” Prey talked to New Orleans Living about the origins of the shop and how kids can go there to earn a bike.
How did RUBARB begin?
It started out of Common Ground. There were a ton of bicycles after the storm just lying on the streets. Originally it was about putting them together for the people that were returning and needed to be mobile. Nothing organized.
How did it evolve into a community bike shop?
It was an open shop for anyone, but it wasn’t really kidoriented. As families started coming back to the community, people became aware that there were a lot of children in the neighborhood riding bikes. A small group of volunteers were really into working with the kids. Over the years, RUBARB evolved to focus more on the neighborhood children.
Can adults still use the shop?
Definitely. The name is “community bike shop,” and we try to emphasize that it’s for the community. People come from all over town to either work on their own bikes or donate bikes.
Do the volunteers have a background in biking?
I’ve always ridden a bike, but I never knew how to fix a bike. I know this is true for a lot of the volunteers. We always emphasize that none of us are real bike mechanics. The focus is not necessarily to make amazing bikes, but just to get people moving on bikes.
How do kids earn a bike?
The very first stage is learning to fix a flat. The second stage is taking apart an axle, cleaning out the bearings, regreasing it and putting it pack together. The third stage is choosing a bike. We have a lot of bikes that are in half repair. We look at the bike, see what it needs, and then we work on what needs to be done. That generally includes putting on new chains and working on the brakes. In the fourth stage, we try to instill the idea that at a community shop you need to give something back to the community. Since money is not involved, the fourth step is to help