Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Help The East Bay Innovation Academy Replace Their Bike Shop!

Distressing news last night from NBC Bay Area by reporter Jean Elle: the bike shop at the East Bay Innovation Academy in Oakland was decimated by thieves. Bikes that students had fixed that were meant to go to a women’s shelter - and the tools they used - were stolen out of a locked shipping container. 

I’ve nearly had one of my own bikes stolen and I’ve comforted friends who have lost theirs. It’s upsetting. Not just because of the loss of a machine you love and use to get around, but because it shakes the trust you have in humanity - and that can be harder to replace than the bike itself. 

But I have a theory: most of humanity is better than the few who steal bikes. 

Now 99.9% of the time there is nothing we can do to help those who’ve had their bikes stolen, but this post is about the 0.1%. So what I’m asking you to do is make a contribution at the East Bay Innovation Academy’s donation page to replace their bike shop. 

Cycling brothers and sisters: let’s put a big, Making-A-Difference story big enough to land on the desk of Lester Holt in the next news cycle. Donate here. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Follow me on Twitter: @michaelknorris

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Breaking: Today a Spare the Air Day & Good Karma Bikes is Open Sundays Again!

Fixed Gear Bike for Sale at Good Karma Bikes. Trailer by DIYBIKING.COM 

Yesterday I learned that Good Karma Bikes is open again on Sundays. That means they are open TODAY from 11:00am to 3:00pm at 345 Sunol St. in San Jose.

They still have a lot of inventory they need to sell before they move in November, so even though anytime is a great time to buy a bike if you live in Silicon Valley now is an even greater time. 

I also learned from Kron 4 News that today is a Spare the Air day (the Bay Area is once again at the start of a heat wave that has triggered an air quality alert). So hopefully readers whose recently consumed coffee is starting to kick in will put two and two together and decide not to pay lip service on Spare the Air day.

Remember Good Karma Bikes has a lot of great and ready to ride bikes to choose from as well as a few ‘as-is’ bikes and naked frames/blank canvases available. I’m also pleased to report to readers who have been patiently waiting for another build post that I bought an ‘as-is’ bike from Good Karma Bikes and this week will produce a follow-up to Unleash the Hipster Within and show you how to build a fixie. I have the frame and the fixed gear wheels but understand the beard and vintage clothing are extra.  

So go to 345 Sunol St. today from 11:00 to 3:00 and buy the bike you’ve always wanted…or if you’re me buy a frame and build the bike you’ve always been curious about. And while you're there ask how to become a volunteer at Good Karma Bikes and be absolutely sure that you Like Good Karma Bikes on Facebook. 

Remember the Thirteen Words and stay cool today. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Follow me on Twitter @michaelknorris

Monday, September 14, 2015

DIYBIKING.COM Presents: #BikeWithTheNextPresident

The short version of what I want all U.S. bicycle users to do is this: Tweet an invitation to all or just your preferred presidential candidate to go for a bike ride with you using the hashtag #BikeWithTheNextPresident. If you get to go on a bike ride with the candidate, tweet the image. If you’re a presidential candidate, tweet the image. If you’re media, broadcast the image. If you're Stephen Colbert, I could use your help spreading the word. That is all. Long version below. 

A Stamford mayoral candidate, myself, and a reporter waiting at a stop sign at a Cycling With Candidates ride.

We’re asking smart, educated people who may one day lead the United States about their hair

We’re seeing breathless news stories - news stories that were produced by people with jobs - about how Candidate A is ahead of Candidate B by 5% in the latest poll that has a margin of error...of 7.4%. 

The coverage of the presidential race is so bad that most people probably can’t name more than five presidential candidates. Even more chilling: most have never seen these candidates go biking on the campaign trail. 

That’s going to change. 

Republican Michael Fedele greeting a Stamford voter minutes before the first Cycling with Candidates ride in 2013

When I did Cycling With Candidates a couple of years back I wrote about how cycling, as an activity, knows no political party. We’ll differ on what needs building, where stuff needs to be built and how to pay for it, but sitting on a saddle and pressing down on a pedal is a joyful thing to do - and a good way to get around a city - no matter how you vote. 

So I invited - via Twitter - all sixteen Republicans and all five Democrats to go for a bike ride.I want you to do the same (with all of them or just your favorite) using the hashtag #BikeWithTheNextPresident

My feeling is if enough people ask the candidates to go for a bike ride they are going to do so - and will tweet an image of the activity to all of their followers. And the rules of the original Cycling With Candidates applies: absolutely no mocking anyone’s attire, choice of equipment, or confidence level.  

These are the actual tweets I sent to the candidates in random order. The invites are real and I’d be happy to ride with any of them in Silicon Valley at anytime (preferred meet up spot is at Good Karma Bikes in San Jose so the candidate can help them pack for their move or buy a bike from them). 

If they don’t ride with me I’ll repost responses from their campaigns (if any) and links to pictures and videos of them on bikes if I get them:


Jim Webb 
Twitter: @jimwebbusa 
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @JimWebbUSA I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident.The State of the Union is we need to see more leaders on #bikes  #cycling 

Martin O’Malley 
Twitter: @martinomalley
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @MartinOMalley I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. Urge your opponents to join you without debate. #bikes #cycling 

Hillary Clinton
Twitter: @HillaryClinton
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @HillaryClinton I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. Don't use the email server behind the grassy knoll to respond. #bikes #cycling 

Bernie Sanders
Twitter: @BernieSanders
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @BernieSanders I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. It doesn't have to be a long ride; we can stop when we #FeelTheBern. #bikes #cycling

Lincoln Chafee 
Twitter: @lincolnchafee
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @LincolnChafee I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. We can ride 1 mile. Or 1.6 kilometers if you prefer. #bikes #cycling


Donald Trump
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @realDonaldTrump I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. If you want you can wear a helmet w/ #MakeAmericaGreatAgain on it. #bikes #cycling

Bobby Jindal
Twitter: @BobbyJindal
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @BobbyJindal I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. Knowing how to ride a #bike is a pre-existing condition. #bikes #cycling 

Scott Walker
Twitter: @ScottWalker
Tweet from @michaelknorris 
Hi, @ScottWalker I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. You survived a recall. You can survive #cycling #bikes

John Kasich 
Twitter: @johnkasich
Tweet from @michaelknorris 
Hi, @JohnKasich I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. It's good practice B4 you speak @ UR great #cycling city of #cleveland in 2016. #bikes

George Pataki 
Twitter: @governorPataki
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @GovernorPataki I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. I think you'll enjoy it. That's no long shot. #bikes #cycling 

Rand Pau
Twitter: @randpaul
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @RandPaul I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. 5 out of 5 libertarian-leaning eye doctors agree #cycling is good for your health. 

Ben Carson
Twitter: @realbencarson
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @RealBenCarson I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. It doesn't take a gifted brain surgeon to know how much fun #cycling can be. #bikes

Jeb Bush
Twitter: @jebbush
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @JebBush I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. Borrow some #cycling socks from your dad. I hear he has some sweet socks. #bikes

Chris Christie
Twitter: @chrischristie
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @ChrisChristie I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. Time for some traffic solutions in Fort Lee (and everywhere else) #bikes #cycling

Ted Cruz
Twitter: @tedcruz 
Hi, @tedcruz I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. Good chance to stretch your legs before the next filibuster. #bikes #cycling 

Jim Gilmore
Twitter: @gov_gilmore
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @gov_gilmore I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. We can stop for @pizzahut & beer on the ride if you like. #bikes #cycling 

Rick Santorum
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @RickSantorum I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. Have a supporter knit you some #cycling gloves to match your best sweater vest. #bikes

Marco Rubio
Twitter: @marcorubio
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @marcorubio I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. I suggest you secure the endorsement of @CamelBak before we go. #cycling #bikes

Mike Huckabee
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @GovMikeHuckabee I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. You'll have fun & inspire people to go #cycling. I have faith. #bikes 

Lindsey Graham 
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi @LindseyGrahamSC I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. BTW 'I met her while #cycling' is a great meet-cute 4 UR future first lady. #bikes

Carly Fiorina
Twitter: @CarlyFiorina
Tweet from @michaelknorris
Hi, @CarlyFiorina. I want to #BikeWithTheNextPresident. If you come to #siliconvalley we can #bike by HP & yell something. #bikes #cycling

Cycling brothers and sisters: it’s a new week. Before the media has a chance to talk about the next meaningless poll log onto Twitter and send a quick message to your favorite candidate. Invite them to go biking with you and invite your friends to do the same. 

Let’s give nightly news anchors something non-divisive to report and have images of presidential candidates biking retweeted millions of times over. We had countless people pouring buckets of ice on themselves last year so this seems in reach. Let’s go for it. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Follow me on Twitter @michaelknorris

Friday, September 11, 2015

News on Good Karma Bikes (And How to Help Them Right Now)

The most important email you can send today is to and ask what you can do to help them move. They especially need folks to come in on Sunday to join their Move Team but the move effort will take place on weekdays too.

Good Karma Bikes usually asks volunteers to go through orientation and sign up with GoVoluntr but since this move is a one-time event they’re asking for immediate help. If you’re in the San Jose area please contact them right now. Really. Right now. You can come back to DIYBIKING.COM later. 

Today: Free Parts Friday

During their regular shop hours today (2:00pm - 6:00pm) GKB is offering free parts pulled from bikes that have come into the shop over the years. They’re used, as-is parts like handlebars, rear racks, cassettes, seats and so forth but were kept at their 345 Sunol St. location because they could keep them. 

I can relate since my Stamford, Connecticut workshop held on to every part of every bike that went through the Saved from the Scrapheap challenge just because I had room to store everything - and you know how skilled I am organizing things that no human being needs to keep. When I moved to San Jose the useless stuff finally got thrown away while I gave the useful but not needed stuff to the Bridgeport Bike Co-Op and Domus (my friend at Rippowam Labs, as you know, got the cargo bike I welded from several trashed frames: the BikeDucken).

If you have a project or in-progress bike either at home or in your head now is your chance to sift through some free parts at Good Karma Bikes

Saturday: Shop is open from 10 - 5 pm 

It goes without saying that I want you to actually go into the shop and get a new bike, some new shoes or some accessories while GKB is open today from 2:00pm to 6:00pm and again on Saturday from 10am - 5-pm. As of this writing the shop is not open on Sundays. 

We had a couple of ‘Spare the Air’ days in the Bay Area this week…which doesn’t mean a whole lot to people who don’t own a good bike for everyday commuting. Now is your chance to get some new wheels so you can #choosethebike.

 How you get the bike home is up to you. 

Sunday: Volunteer

What I wrote above bears repeating: email and ask if you can join their move team. I was actually part of last Sunday’s effort and spent a a little time sorting parts and helping them get things organized. Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of (or any) knowledge about bikes. There will be someone from GKB there to talk you through it. 

What I wrote before still stands: if you have a non-totaled/non rusted hulk/non-WalTargetMart bike to donate please wait until they move into their new location on Lincoln St. Also GKB is really planning to move their entire bike inventory on foot to their new location on Lincoln St. (it’ll be a gorgeous series of photographs to be sure) but they’re still ironing out exactly when that will take place, so please like Good Karma Bikes on Facebook in order to get news about the move and new events. 

I’m heading to GKB this morning to volunteer. Look for my bike with the homemade trailer on it. I assure you I’m not raiding the free parts - I need to pick up groceries on the way back. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding.

Follow me on Twitter @michaelknorris

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Four Ways to Help Good Karma Bikes

Update: The day after this post was first published Good Karma Bikes' move date changed to Nov. 1. The text has since been updated. Hope you help them out and like them on Facebook!

The Frame Wall of Good Karma Bikes on 345 Sunol St. in San Jose (as of last Friday)

Good Karma Bikes - the non-profit organization in San Jose that helps keep those less fortunate moving with free bike repairs and other great work - is changing locations November 1. The spot their retail store (great used bikes and gear) and shop occupies right now will soon - like so many other places in the Bay Area - be home to new construction.

The new site on Lincoln Avenue is going to be smaller than what they have now.  After going through my move from Connecticut to California and ending up with a smaller workshop I can appreciate what they’re going through. 

So I’m going to help them and I want you to help them too. Here are four things you can do:

Don’t donate any bikes to them until after they move - if you have an old bike you want them to have just hang on until after they move. And please don’t donate anything that came from a department store unless it is nearly unused (most of them are cheap for a reason and made of lousy components that just can’t be fixed or even replaced). 

Go to their location (345 Sunol Street) and buy some bikes and some accessories. If you want a beater to lock up at the VTA, BART or Caltrain station (or get dinged up on the trains themselves) want to pick up groceries on something other than your carbon fiber Felt, drop on by during their regular store hours. Good Karma Bikes is also selling a lot of great stuff on eBay so check that out too.

Volunteer for Good Karma Bikes They're always looking for folks willing to lend their talents for working on bikes or helping to sell them. They also have new, short term volunteer opportunities for Sundays from 11:00am - 3:00pm to help them pack things up for the big move.

Like Good Karma Bikes on Facebook They are going to be making announcements in the near future about specific move dates and other important things - and you can bet they are going to need volunteers to help with the actual move.  

Good Karma Bikes’ retail store is open this week from 2:00pm to 6:00pm and on Saturday from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Their eBay presence is 24/7. Their Facebook page is here

Please help them out and ask your friends to do the same. Remember: we like riding our bikes and we have the freedom to #choosethebike but some people have to ride bikes in order to go from place to place and they don’t have the money to fix them. They're the ones we're helping. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding.

Follow me on Twitter @michaelknorris