“Miss Kerri, this won’t come off,” said King Woods, who was working on a Dunelt bike.
“These old bikes, it’s always a tight fit with the forks,” Kerri Martin replied, handing the 14-year-old Woods a screwdriver. “Wiggle it down.”
The wiggling worked, and Woods continued on his repair job.
“I’m a bike doctor,” explained Jack Pitzer, who was working on an Electra Townie 7D. “I’m taking bikes and giving them a second life. I give a diagnosis, get them treated and send them home.”
He smiled. “We never lose a patient.”
At Second Life Bikes on Main Street, the patients are bikes, and they all have stories. The 38-year-old Martin, who started fixing bikes once a week in a church garage four years ago, now presides over an operation that includes 10 volunteers, scores of kids and 1,000-plus bicycles.
The 12- to 18-year-olds, most from Asbury Park, Neptune City and Neptune Township, come in after school to repair bikes. When they put in 15 hours of work, they earn a free bike.
Second Life Bike’s philosophy is stated on a pamphlet: “We rescue bikes. We fix bikes. We sell bikes. We earn bikes. We ride bikes. We love bikes.”
About 200 children have worked at Second Life Bikes this year alone. Some put in a few hours, never to be seen again. Others, like Woods and Dajon Williams (pictured above), are determined to get that free bike.
“When I get my bike,” said the 11-year-old Williams, thinking ahead, “I can come here and fix it.” (emphasis ed.)
Props to Kerri Martin and her organization — every kid should have a place like this where they can go. You can learn more about Second Life Bikes at their website: thebikechurch.org
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