Category Archives: News

The Link: Spring Session Wrapup

 

Army veteran Randy poses outside of Sopo's back door with a mountain bike he completely rebuilt at Sopo.

Army veteran Randy poses outside of Sopo’s back door with a mountain bike he completely rebuilt at Sopo.

6 weeks. Each Saturday morning for the past 6 weeks, Sopo Bicycle Cooperative has welcomed a group of residents from the Gateway Center for the Homeless into the shop.  As part of the Link, Sopo’s earn-a-bike program with Gateway, over 31 Gateway residents made it to the shop and 17 earned bikes through volunteering.

Navy veteran, Calvin, from the Gateway Center fourth floor shows off the bike he earned at Sopo.

Navy veteran, Calvin, from the Gateway Center fourth floor shows off the bike he earned at Sopo.

Each participant from Gateway either earned a bike or fixed up their own bikes over the six weeks. While a bike might seem like a small thing, the increased mobility, better health, and sense of confidence that two wheels can provide should not be overestimated.

Nathaniel, a veteran of the US Army and Gateway resident, gets ready to ride off on his new Schwinn from Sopo.

Nathaniel, a veteran of the US Army and Gateway resident, gets ready to ride off on his new Schwinn from Sopo.

In exchange for a free bike, each participant had to volunteer at the shop for four hours. In all, over 76 hours of volunteer service were provided to the shop by Gateway residents. For a small, local nonprofit like Sopo with no employees, those volunteer hours make a huge difference.

Sopo volunteer Chris helps Gateway resident Larry fix a flat.

Sopo volunteer Chris helps Gateway resident Larry fix a flat.

In addition to volunteering at the shop to earn a free bike, Gateway residents also attend classes on bike repair at Sopo. This past session had great classes on topics such as, the ABCs of Bike Maintenance, Fix-a-Flat, and Brake Adjustment. Besides getting a free bike, but keeping it in good working order is just as important.

Sopo boardmember, Kartapreet Singh, gives a class on bike safety at Sopo for the Link.

Sopo boardmember, Kartapreet Singh, gives a class on bike safety at Sopo for the Link.

A great group, very eager to hit the streets and get their lives back on track. We also had many veterans (over half of the participants). Certainly an honor to give back to those who have served our country.

Mark, a resident of Gateway's veterans floor, shows off his muscles and his new Royce Union.

Mark, a resident of Gateway’s veterans floor, shows off his muscles and his new Royce Union.

What really makes the Link special are those participants from previous sessions who come back and work on their bikes. Witnessing the transformation from living on the brink of disaster to rebuilding a functioning life is very gratifying. Not saying that a bike can do it all, but I am sure it plays a part.

Troy, a veteran of the US Navy and previously a employee during the Link employment program at Sopo, comes back to work on his bike.

Troy, a veteran of the US Navy and previously a employee during the Link employment program at Sopo, working on his disc brake.

Bike Train to DLV Pro Race

Join us this Saturday for a bike train to Dick Lane Velodrome!

Sopo will be leading a bike train from the shop to Dick Lane Velodrome in East Point Saturday, May 9, for the pro race series.  Meet at Sopo at 4:45 p.m.; the train will be leaving around 5 p.m.  Don’t worry about bringing a bike lock–bike valet will be there!

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Entry for the race is $5 per person and $10 per family.  Food trucks will be available on site.

Click here for more information about this event and Dick Lane Velodrome. 

Sopo Tries Enduro

Imagine launching yourself down a trail as fast as you can while not having to worry about anybody yelling “on your left” and looking to pass you.  You and your bike are taking everything the trail throws at you, one rock, root, and berm at a time.  The trail is intense, but it only lasts for a few minutes.  Then, when it’s all done, you meet up with your friends, tell the stories of your triumphs (or wipe-outs), then you take your time getting up to the next hill to do it all over again.  This is enduro.

This past Saturday, members of the Sopo race team and their friends decided to try their hands at enduro mountain bike racing in the second annual Big Creek Quick Six Enduro.  Roswell-Alpharetta Mountain Bike Organization (RAMBO) put on the event and worked hard in the rainy weeks leading up the race by preparing fresh new trails just for the event.  A little over 100 racers from the Greater Atlanta area as well as Tennessee, Florida, and Alabama came out for the race.  Many had never tried enduro racing before and several had only just participated in last year’s Quick Six race.

The race consisted of six stages, three on the freeride/downhill section of Big Creek, and three near the entrance close to Old Alabama Road.  Most stages were only about a mile long, lasting 1-2 minutes.

Enduro has taken the mountain biking world by storm recently and it’s easy to understand why.  There’s less pressure to “compete” and the main focus is having fun and trying new things.  All in all, Sopo race team members remained unscathed (for the most part) and had a blast meeting new people and sharing the thrills of the hills.

 

Racers hanging out after the six stages are complete.

Racers hanging out after the six stages are complete.

che hops

Mad hops by Jeffrey Che. Photo courtesy of Dean Thornton.

 

Clayton Marcotte gears up for the first stage. Photo courtesy of Dean Thornton.

Bobby Brown in a blaze of glory on stage 6.

Bobby Brown in a blaze of glory on stage 6.

Kat Volzer takes the trail.  Photo courtesy of Stephanie Aylworth.

Kat Volzer takes the trail. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Aylworth.

The Link 2015 Spring Session – In Full BLOOM

Another round of our program The Link  in partnership with The Gateway Center has started up again. It will run until Memorial Day Weekend. Gateway residents are taking bike classes from 11:00-1:30, before Saturday open hours (2:00-6:00). It’s a great program for both organizations and we are glad to continue it. Volunteer participation welcome. Contact: Pat@Sopobikes.org for more info. 

Thank you to Stone Soup Kitchen for donating coffee to our program.

The Link – offering Atlanta’s homeless access to bicycle transportation since 2013.

 

Tips for Biking in the Rain (What a Glorious Feeling)

April Showers bring May flowers…and wet cyclists.  It’s been pretty rainy this week and doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon.  Here’s some tips to help keep you safe and dry.

  1. Fenders are super helpful in keeping water from your tires splashing in your face and up your backside.  Don’t have any?  Make you own with old milk jugs, shampoo bottles, etc.  Check out one of our older posts here.milk jug fenders
  2. Try a poncho over a rain jacket. On days where it’s humid and rainy, (What? Atlanta is humid? No way…) try using a poncho instead of a rain jacket.  You’ll enjoy the cool breeze and airflow.  Be sure to cover your handlebars with the poncho to keep your hands and your thighs dry.  If you’re riding with a backpack, they also tend to fit better under ponchos than jackets.
  3. Hats with bills. Eye protection while you’re riding is always a good idea, but unless you have tiny windshield wipers for your glasses, it can be a nuisance while riding in the rain.  Throw a hat with a bill on it under your helmet and the bill will help keep rain out of your eyes.
  4. Slow down! Remember that wet conditions increase your stopping distance.  It will take you longer to slow down when that traffic light turns yellow, so be alert and start breaking sooner than you usually would.
  5. Blinkies, blinkies, blinkies…oh, and reflectors. You should always carry blinky lights with you anyway in case you end up riding past dark, but make sure you turn those on during the day if it’s raining.  Motorists have limited visibility in the rain and might not see you, even if it’s daytime. (Both Sopo and ABC have free blinky lights to those in need)wpid-imag4093_1.jpg

Stay safe and dry this week friends!

Bike! Bike! Southeast Wrap-up (A variation of the upcoming April 2015 Atlanta VeloCity Magazine Article)

breakfast whole foods

Pancakes, granola, fruit and yogurt courtesy of Whole Foods on Ponce. All photos courtesy of Pat Davis

brunch at jays

Sunday brunch at Jay’s house.

gold sprints awards

Awards at gold sprints

gold sprints

Preparing for Pain: gold sprints at Elmyrachi

eating

From March 26-29, Sopo Bike Co-op hosted friends and partners from Atlanta and the southeast for Bike! Bike! Southeast, a regional conference for bicycle cooperatives and nonprofits.  Friends from Philadelphia, Richmond, Tallahassee, New Orleans and Atlanta gathered to discuss best practices, common problems, tips and wisdom when it comes to running a bicycle nonprofit.  Sessions were as diverse as cycling, from kids programming to website building, to how to grow the Atlanta Cycling Festival as a profitable business.

The conference started off with a welcome party and Gold Sprints on Thursday night at Elmyrachi in Kirkwood.  The patio was crawling with Sopo volunteers, conference guests and Atlanta cyclists as the local beer and tacos kept bellies full.  Excitement ensued as local Gold Sprints legend and champion Will Bradley was dethroned by youngster David Baker.  Baker won a $50 gift certificate to The Spindle.  On the women’s side, Sopo volunteer Kat Volzer claimed the win and a $100 gift certificate to Haute Bicycle.  Local brewers Eventide provided sponsorship to bring the Gold Sprints from Dick Lane Velodrome.

Conference sessions began with breakfast on Friday provided by Stone Soup Kitchen.  Attendees learned how bike co-ops and advocacy groups can work together, how to build an effective website and how to communicate effectively through public relations.  Sopo’s own Pat Davis, volunteer coordinator of The Link, presented on his successful program with the Gateway Center for the Homeless while Nedra Deadwyler of Civil Bikes presented on strategies for building positive alliances.  Lunch was provided by Grant Central Pizza and Oz Pizza.  Sessions concluded for the day with a snack time and leftover pizza before the 25 mile Critical Mass through Buckhead.

Saturday was a big day full of sessions, fun and food.  Saturday kicked off with a pancake breakfast and sessions from Shawn Walton of WeCycle and Rachel Krause of Velo Vixen Zine.  Before the group enjoyed a delicious taco bar provided by Elmyrachi, Jeffrey Wisard presented on The Atlanta Cycling Festival while others learned how to use Loomio to make collaborative group decisions.  Sessions concluded with a key note discussion on safe spaces.

Saturday night’s festivities were again attended by the greater Atlanta cycling community with a chili cook-off at Wonderroot.  The chili was just as diverse as the cyclists who enjoyed them.  Cyclists tasted white chili, traditional chili with local farm raised meat, spicy vegan chili and a quinoa sweet potato chili.  The meat category and overall winner was Tyler Williams and Emily Harris with an Indian style lamb chili and the vegan winner was John and Ethan Jewitt with their “Biking Buddha” Vegan Chili.  Both winners took home bikes from Sopo’s front space as prizes.  Saturday night concluded with an after party at Sopo while DJ Rasadon from Arrested Development spun some tunes.

Bike! Bike! Southeast and Sopo was not only host to fun festivities throughout the weekend, but also a forum for multiple bicycle community discussions.  The shared reasons why conference attendees and party-goers ride bikes was as wide ranging as their abilities and what Atlanta has to offer as a cycling community.  No matter how diverse the reasons or the cycling community may be, the outpouring of love and support for a common goal was both undeniable and amazing.  One thing is obvious from the businesses that donated to the conference and cyclists who just showed up for a good time.  The bicycle community in Atlanta is supportive, inclusive, caring and downright fun.  But most of all, we are strong.

Special Thanks to:

Elmyriachi

Eventide

Haute Bicycle

The Spindle

Wonderroot

Wilderness Works

Stone Soup Kitchen

Whole Foods

Binders

Fallen Arrows

DJ Ras

Oz Pizza

Grant Central Pizza

Chattahoochee Coffee

Hodge Podge

Atlanta Bicycle Coalition

New Belgium

Atlanta Velocity magazine

Jenny Park for the fabulous artwork

All of our conference presenters

Everyone who participated and hung out with us for gold sprints and the chili cook-off.

Bike!Bike! Southeast

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Sopo is hosting the 2015 Southeast regional Bike!Bike! conference, and it’s only a month away.

Like the annual international conference in the fall, the spring regional conferences serve as an opportunity for community bike shops and co-ops to come together and share ideas and information. We’re still hammering out the details and the itinerary, but mark your calendar and stay tuned to the Bike!Bike! SE Facebook page for info, and head to bikebikese.org to register and propose a workshop session. We’ll also be needing plenty of volunteer help and home share hosts. Head to the Facebook page to sign up for either.

La Vuelta Puerto Rico 2015

Sopo volunteer Pat Davis went down to Puerto Rico last week for La Vuelta (www.vueltapr.com), a 3-day ride around la isla bonita with about 1200 other people. A super-cool event. Not crazy difficult, but definitely some good riding. Check it out next year if you are looking for a cycling trip!

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Dorado

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Fajardo

Colon Plaza

Cabo Rojo

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VSJ

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Mustard Seed Communities Kingston Visit

Link founder and Sopo volunteer, Pat Davis, just returned from a quick sojourn in Jamaica to visit Mustard Seed Communities, the orphanage to which we shipped appx. 30 kids bikes fixed up by the Gateway Center daytime hours program. Unfortunately the bikes had yet to arrive, but Pat might have spotted a ship in Kingston harbor carrying the Sopo shipping container. Pat used his modest mechanic skills to fix up some wheelchairs, and was even interviewed by a local radio station about the Link program.

Mural Chairs1 Chairs2 Container_Ship Max Roots Roots2 Roots3 Roots4 Wheels