a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Back Alley Bikes – and me

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

I didn’t think it would happen, but it did. I haven’t done a bicycle commute since December. No, it’s not only the Winter issue. It started with my thigh injury on December 1st – I couldn’t even consider riding for the first 6 weeks. And I missed it. I mourned each day when I would be driving the 2.5 miles into town, missing the pedaling, the feeling of moving over the ground by my own strength and I especially missed the feeling of belonging to the bicycling community.

I tested out my leg around week 7 – pedaling with my dog, Ayla, around our our old farm route and found out that it felt pretty good. In fact, the therapist assured me that it was a good place to continue my rehabilitation. But, it has been a bit Wintery since then and I admit it – I’ve lost my bicycling groove. I’ve lost the rhythm of “gearing up” and getting on my way. Somehow, it seems daunting at this point and the car keys are just sitting there. Yeah. This is how it happens, I suppose. Denial. Defeat. But in the end, I know I’m missing out – not just on greening my ride, but on the fun. Hmm. Now what?

Then it happened. Last weekend, while wandering around downtown Carrboro, I stumbled upon a bike shop I hadn’t noticed before. There was a hand-painted sign hanging above the window, that said, simply, “Bike Shop”. Needing a spare tube, I wandered in and immediately felt at home. I’m not sure why since the atmosphere fell somewhere between grunge bar and tattoo parlor. But, I sensed art, purpose and a little bit of rebellion at work. As well as the friendly, laid-back attitude that strolled out from the back room to greet me – from behind a door which said “Santa’s Playroom”.

Back Alley Bikes sells, repairs, and custom rebuilds exclusively used bikes. They know their sh*t, they love to ride, they offer great rates and service, they promote conscious-commuting and they don’t need to prove anything to anyone but themselves.

There is a resident dog, some random art-like displays and t-shirts with obviously original designs that looked a lot like this cool image above from their website. When I saw that the shirts themselves came from the fair-trade U.S.-based company, American Apparel, I bought two. I couldn’t resist. I was back. I wanted to gear up and I wanted to ride. And nothing is going to stop me. Thanks Back Alley Bikes – for being the real thing and helping me re-discover the real me.

Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “Back Alley Bikes – and me”

  1. Nathan Says:

    That sounds like a fantasticshop (and a lovely encounter). I wish I’d known it existed before I bought a bike in the fall. Glad to hear you’re feeling better!

  2. Ginger Says:

    Thanks for the heads up on this bike shop. I am considering a new back in the next year and will go used. Good to know there is a groovy place local to reuse!
    And, don’t tell Joe, I am thinking of becoming a nun!

Leave a Reply

THE TAO OF CHANGE [the way of a better world]

brought to you by The Change, a strategy and design agency with an agenda to change the world