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Tracy Frank, Published September 09 2010

Bicycle workshop set to move

The FM Community Bicycle Workshop is on the move.

The nonprofit plans to open in its new location at 209 NP Ave. in Fargo in October. Plans are to be out of the current location, 1418 1st Ave. N., by mid-September, said Sara Watson Curry, FM Community Bicycle Workshop collective member.

The organization provides the space and tools for people to fix up used bicycles or bring in their own bikes and work on them using shop tools, supplies and the help of volunteers. Volunteers also help teach people how to maintain their bikes.

The workshop will have more space than the former location and will be able to store all of its bicycles and bicycle parts inside.

“It’s in a great location,” said Joe Curry, bicycle workshop collective member. “It’s next to the bus line so we’ll have easy access to get to the space for people who don’t have transportation yet. It is right on the bicycle route that’s next to the river.”

There may also be some programming changes. The volunteer-run organization plans to use the transition time between locations to figure out what changes to make, Watson Curry said.

A 1970s bicycle frame without wheels or a seat is parked in the new space, rescued from the dumpster and waiting to be restored.

“It’s an incredible waste to throw away that much metal and resources,” Watson Curry said.

In exchange for time and services, volunteers earn credit toward parts or frames. People who need a bike can earn one by volunteering time before choosing a bike to repair. Those referred by a partner agency, like Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, get credit toward their time.

“We’re not just fixing bikes, we’re helping fix communities,” Curry said.

Darci Asche, Lutheran Social Services community support supervisor, said clients from New American Services are often referred to the bicycle workshop.

“I’ve watched as clients receive a bike and regain their sense of independence,” Asche said. “They are no longer at the mercy of a co-worker, neighbor, or public transportation.”

When refugees come to the area, they struggle to navigate public transportation and bus schedules or routes may not meet their needs, Asche said. Many may never have driven or may not have a driver’s license. The cost of owning a car may also be more than a family can handle right away, she said.

“The joy on the faces of refugees – adults and kids –

as they receive their bike, is amazing,” Asche said.

The workshop will take all kinds of bikes in any condition. Even if it can’t be restored, a bike can be used for parts and the frame can be recycled, Watson Curry said.

The group plans to do more fundraising and wants to raise $20,000 by Jan. 1, she said.

FM Community Bicycle Workshop

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526