Mesa bike shop puts people on right path - East Valley Tribune: News

Mesa bike shop puts people on right path

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Posted: Friday, April 30, 2010 3:20 pm | Updated: 3:46 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Robert Chacon spent years working out of his garage, repairing bicycles for down-on-their-luck clients he met through his job in vocational rehabilitation services. For many of these people, their bikes were lifelines to jobs that made the difference between self-sufficiency and dependence, hope and despair. 

Chacon, founder of We-Cycle-USA, Inc., a new nonprofit bicycle shop and service center that provides bikes and repair training to people in need.

The shop will celebrate its grand opening with a free music festival on Saturday.

Robert Chacon spent years working out of his garage, repairing bicycles for down-on-their-luck clients he met through his job in vocational rehabilitation services. For many of these people, their bikes were lifelines to jobs that made the difference between self-sufficiency and dependence, hope and despair.

“We finally just ran out of room. There was no place for a car in the garage,” says Chacon, founder of We-Cycle-USA, Inc., a new nonprofit bicycle shop and service center that provides bikes and repair training to people in need.

The shop will celebrate its grand opening with a free music festival on Saturday. Seven local high school bands will play on an outdoor stage, says Robert Buchanan, owner of Buchanan Music, We-Cycle-USA’s shopping-plaza neighbor.

“There’s also going to be a smaller stage for impromptu solos and duets, softer music. If anyone feels like playing, they can sign up on the spot and perform,” says Buchanan.

The gala will feature food and craft vendors, information booths, bike-repair demonstrations and a prize raffle. Buchanan Music, Top Dog Grooming and other local businesses will also offer deep discounts.

Proceeds will go to We-Cycle, which is working with Mesa’s Child Crisis Center to repair the charity’s bikes and provide new ones to children at Christmastime.

“The bikes we get in are usually in pretty rough condition. Sometimes there’s a lot of work that goes into it — stripping them down, sanding them, repainting them, putting on new tires and chains and brakes,” says Chacon. “If a person wants one, they have to work off the bike; basically, they have to fix it up themselves.”

He says the shop will have a small classroom, and he hopes to offer bike-repair courses at least once per month.

“I dreaded it back in the day. I had two kids, and the last thing I wanted to do was fix their bikes,” he says. “But as I progressed, it came more naturally, and strangely enough it’s therapeutic for a lot of us.

“We hope to get people in here, working on their own bikes with the parts, tools, space and knowledge we can provide. We’ll help them through it. But we find that when we ask people to take ownership over the bike’s repair, they take care of it a lot better and take precautions to keep it from being stolen.”

We-Cycle-USA Grand Opening Music Festival

What: Seven local school-age bands play live at a gala with food, giveaways, bike repair demos and more.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: We-Cycle-USA, Inc., 714 E. Brown Road, Mesa

Cost: Free, but bring money for food and raffle tickets; proceeds benefit  We-Cycle-USA, Inc.

Information: (480) 461-9161 or www.we-cycle-usa.org

BAND lineup

Seven local bands will play everything from surf-rock to punk to reggae.

10 a.m. The Wild Cards

11 a.m. Far From Near

Noon Lawn Chair

1 p.m. Amunez

2 p.m. Carey Slade

3 p.m. Wingfoot

4 p.m. No Big Deal

Bring a bike, get a raffle ticket

We-Cycle-USA’s fundraiser raffle tickets are $1 each, but you get a free ticket for every old bicycle you donate for recycling. Among the prizes:

• New 2010 Raleigh Hybrid Roadster Bike, provided by Paragon Cycling in Mesa

• Set of his and hers Classic Raleigh sports bikes, refurbished by Paragon Cycling and valued at $300-$400

• Telecaster Guitar Package, including an electric guitar, amplifier, tuner, cord and gig bag

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