The Trenton Cycling Revolution welcomed community members on Saturday to see progress at the community bike shop in East Trenton. The space, which is located on Agnes Alley Behind the East Trenton Collaborative at 601 N Clinton Ave, is called the Community Outreach Garage (COG).
Cyclists showed up in raingear to welcome the new shop. Wills Kinsley, Director of Operations at Trenton Cycling Revolution, spearheads this new operation.
“So we have had multiple stages of cleaning it out. First, was to just gut the shelving and remove the leftover debris… Then we went to scrape the walls, prime them, then paint the walls, clean up the upstairs, added new lighting, and then the final details…” Kinsley said.
Trenton is a prime cycling area being primarily flat and connecting with trails across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jacque Howard, the current president of Trenton Cycling Revolution, said that the building is perfect for their vision.
“This building is a perfect setup. It’s two stories, it’s not inside of the other building. So it’s an outlying building and it’s got alley access, etc. We’ve put a lot of hours in here cleaning, painting remodeling and then also transporting a lot of the bikes and we probably have at least two or three hundred bicycles that are here right now in various forms in need of repairs,” Howard said.
The entire shop was built by volunteers, an essential part of the COG’s founding. “The whole premise of this shop is based on people wanting to be a shared space, and people wanting to work together and share time and knowledge and skills. So if we’re, you know, I think we’re off to a good start, “Kinsley said.
“It’s a unified team of people working together,” Howard said. He explained that this is the foundation of Trenton Cycling Revolution.” We’ve been doing this work, advocating for cycling, for a very long time. So we’re friends. We ride together. We enjoy meals together. Our meetings are oftentimes, just a hangout session, and I think that is something other organizations and other people can take from this, that when we work together, let people be who they are, do what they do best, some amazing things can happen.”
They will have four separate programs going on at the COG. A monthly repair class, an earn-a-bike program, where volunteers can work at the COG to receive a free bike; Pedal It Forward, where bikes can be donated and fixed to be used again; and Trenton Bike Share, where residents can come by and borrow bikes for the day to be returned.
Jun King, a Board member of Trenton Cycling Revolution said he would like to see the COG teach the community a thing or two about bike repairs. “I think that as we’re looking at the evolution of this space, I would like to help with educating others on having the capability to maintain their own lives,” said King. “Just basic stuff; changing tires, making adjustments, adding personalization. Because you know, a bike that you buy from a factory may serve you well, but as you evolve in cycling, it’s good to be able to change components, change your handlebars, change your grips…”
Residents in the area are excited to see what the COG will become. Trenton resident Dwendolyn Grier said that she has helped kids repair their bikes and is proud to see this come to her backyard.
“I’m proud that this is in our neighborhood because…kids ride their bikes a lot. And I also got a couple of kids some bikes and they need fixing…” Grier said.