November/December 1995, p.14

Recycle-A-Bicycle: A Boy, A Baker, and A Bicycle
By Karen Overton

In early August, Joaquim Felix was just three hours short of the 24 he needed to earn a shiny BMX bike. And so it happened that Joaquim was assigned to work on an unidentified black mountain bike.

This bike was in sorry shape. The hubs needed adjustment, the rear derailleur and the bottom bracket were loose, and the front brake cable was no good at all. Before starting such a big repair job, Joaquim wanted to know the bike's story.

Turned out the bike had been found that very day during a coffee break. The RAB instructors had gone to the Sandwich Palace, a new deli nearby. Shop owner Germain Media explained that a friend had sold him a bike for only $15 to help him start a delivery service. Germain was sure that with a basket, the bike would save him money. The first year of business is never easy for a small shop, so the RAB instructors volunteered to fix it.

Joaquim went to work. He and his friend Kenny Duran repaired the brakes, bottom bracket, and hubs. The boys also installed a roomy front basket and placed panniers over the rear wheel. Luis Rodriguez, RAB's head mechanic, oversaw repairs and fixed the derailleur.

At the end of the day, Joaquim was the proud owner of a chrome BMX, and the Sandwich Palace owned a reliable delivery bike. Through Recycle-A-Bicycle, a boy built his self-esteem while helping a baker build his business.

Recycle-A-Bicycle meets every Tuesday through Thursday from 3:30 to 5:30 and Saturday from 10:00 to 3:30 at I.S. 218 in Upper Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood.