Saturday, July 17, 2010

Asbury Park, New Jersey: Second Life Bikes

K. and I recently went on a vacation to Asbury Park, New Jersey. Asbury Park/Ocean Grove is an eclectic mix of gays/churchgoers and (of course) Jerseyites. I was pleasantly surprised to find this shop as soon as we stepped off NJ Transit at Asbury Park:

We walked in and I was stunned. We were at Second Life Bikes (formerly known as The Bike Church, when they were in a smaller location). Similar to the praiseworthy New York/Brooklyn establishment Recycle-a-Bicycle, Second Life Bikes is a non-profit organization that allows people, especially youth, to learn about bicycle and bicycle repair. In exchange for working hands-on at the bike shop, they are eligible to build their own bicycle using recycled parts. And they have many, many parts to choose from:

The shop also functions as a bicycle repair shop, which is how they generate money in order to keep it open as a non-profit. It was very, very cool. K. looked around for a special teeny frame for her but they only had a few bicycles that were actually for sale. Most of the hundreds of bicycles were built up by the young volunteers who work at Second Life Bicycles.

a. The Bike Church from Brian Johnston on Vimeo.

Later that day, K. and I tried to get cocktails on the boardwalk. We gave them our New York licenses and they asked if we had any other picture IDs on us. What?! Granted, K. looks like a sixteen year old, and despite the gray hair, I don't look that old myself. However, I had only put three cards in my wallet to go to the boardwalk and I didn't have another picture ID on me. Our waitress (in her 40s) looked skeptical and called the manager over. The manager, a funny blond woman (also in her 40s) told us we looked really young and then asked us how we were getting home. "Um..we're walking back to our inn" we replied. "Okay, well..just BE CAREFUL" she warned us and then brought over our cocktails. We had one drink each and I'm pretty sure she still thinks we were underage. Don't they scan IDs in Jersey? Jeez..

It rained most of Saturday but we were determined to ride a surrey. For those of you who don't know, a surrey is one of those touristy 2 (or 4 or 6) person bicycles that is essentially a golf cart you can pedal. And, we learned quickly, it moves incredible slowly. I also learned that I don't know how to press the record button on my video camera, so you can't see us in action, but we got some funny surrey pictures. I think if you put the bicycle on a lower gear, we might not have looked so silly pumping our legs so much and gaining so little speed. It is a nonsensical machine is many ways, including the aesthetic steering wheel for the right-side driver, which has no purpose. It did have a really awesome bell. You should try one.

No comments:

Post a Comment