Sunday, June 26, 2016
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Bike Barn brings bicycle basics to the community

There is a place on the Southmost side of the city where you can learn all about bikes.

You can learn bicycle safety, bicycle etiquette and even how to repair your own bike.

The city of Brownsville’s Parks and Recreation Department teamed up with the Rio Bravo Institute and the Bike Brigade to open a Bike Barn at Gonzalez Park. Inside the Bike Barn safety classes are held. There is also an area for bike repairs.

Joe Boswell, director of Rio Grande Institute, said the groups sat down together to discuss what could be done to get more people to ride their bicycles. After discussion, they decided opening a Bike Barn could be the answer to their question.

"We thought it would be cool to get a bicycle co-op, to be able to work on our bicycles and to get bikes for kids and spread awareness," Boswell said.

The Bike Barn has been open for about a month and for now, it is providing bicycle safety classes.

Boswell said there are lots children that ride their bicycles along the city streets and the Bike Barn allows them to some safety tips on bike riding.

The Bike Barn is also looking for bikes no longer in use, bike pedals, bike parts, helmets gloves and apparels. They are also seeking grease, chain tools, allen keys, wire cutters and other equipment are needed.

Boswell said this initiative also allows people who have broken bikes that need minor repairs — stuff inside storage sheds and garages — to learn how to fix their bicycles and keep them tuned up.

"There are probably just tons of kids bikes around here that are probably just gathering dust in garages or are being trashed or metal scrapped when all they really need is some cleaning, some greasing and some new tire tubes," Boswell said.

"We want to kind of get our hands on those and get the local youth and adults too learning how to fix their own bikes. Our goal is to have people to build their own and get one for free if they can’t afford one," Boswell said.

Bikes that are surpluses will be given to a public bikes program.

Chris Patterson, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the Bike Barn is yet another tool the city can use to teach the city’s youth about living healthy lifestyles.

It is also another way to get them engaged in positive activities in the city, Patterson said.

"It’s a pretty cool deal. It gives them something to do. They are making something and they kind of feel accomplished," Patterson said.

Cobbleheads Bar and Grill is also helping the Bike Barn by participating in the "Change for Change" Program.

A percentage of Cobblehead’s sales, all day and night, every Thursday will go directly to fund bicycle-related projects and initiatives of Rio Bravo Institute.

For more information on the program, contact the Rio Bravo Wildlife Institute at (956) 587-9567.