Friday, July 22, 2011

Asbury Park: Bike Church

Eric and I have been speaking about getting bikes for a few months. We even have bike racks on our new car, fondly nicknamed the Somaru (Somerville + Subaru). We asked Betsy, at the Asbury Ocean Beach Inn, if she knew of a place we could shop for bikes. Her face lit up and she suggested that we must go to the Bike Church.

Betsy offered to introduced us to Kerri Martin, the woman behind the dream of this mission. The space was a tiny bit tricky to find on Main Street in Asbury Park, only because there is no parking in front of the store front. We were so happy for the introduction and guidance from our sweet innkeeper Betsy Old. Second Life Bikes' mission is to get more people on bikes, and help re-purpose old bikes instead of discarding them. 

The space felt like an art instillation. Kerri said it started out as a small dream in a church basement. People started bringing bikes by to donate and then it just grew until she needed to expand. It is now a for profit shop that teaches youth how to fix and reassemble older bikes and then sells them.

I hope you can get an idea of how wonderful this place is from these photos.

This tandem reminds me of a story of a cute gay couple who are lobbying to change the name tandem to Mandem.

Do you remember your first bike?

My banana seat was sparkly like this one. It was blue and white with streamers. I will never forget the feeling of finally getting the hang of riding a bike and loosing my training wheels on the alley of Glenwood Hill in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I can hear the bell chime now.

Another idyllic childhood memory was at a place called Sandy Mandy. All the neighborhood kids with dirt bikes spent hours going around and around this small trail. It had jumps and sand pits. I remember my brother would spend hours there with his best bud Jimmy. We could play outside for hours without the fear that someone was going to abduct us back then. A bike gave us all freedom before having our license.

There were two bikes ready for purchase when we arrived at Second Life Bikes. They were inundated with requests over the Fourth of July weekend. I was seriously considering this killer cruiser for only $70.00. The issue however is that our Baltihood is hilly. Stone Hill really is on a physical hill and we see the bikers climbing Chestnut on our drive home, huffing and puffing. I need at least three gears and would love hand breaks. So this lovely gem had to stay in Asbury Park.

You can read the process on the "How to Buy a Bike" poster. 

Everyone who worked with Kerri was beaming with pride. 

This young man was putting training wheels on a bike.

There were many bikes to admire and this one was brand new.

You could tell that Kerri had a quiet calm and patience when working with her proteges.  

If you are in Asbury Park, you must make at trip to Second Life Bikes.

Thanks for the tour Kerri and for letting me take so many photos. You are a gem and it was fantastic being in your presence. Anyone on the Jersey Shore need to donate their old bike? Call or email  Kerri.


Pigtown-Design said...

nelle... isn't there a place like this on falls road, right before you get to maryland avenue?

Nelle Somerville said...

You are right Meg, Velocipede. I never know when it is open however but will check it out.