5/20 Open lab log

SUN 5/20/18 (LEO, MARTHA) Location:  outdoors Weather: 70-80 degrees, mixed sun and clouds It was another back-to-back busy day at the bike lab today, the second Sunday and final day of Bay State Bike Week.  Here’s the run-down: Bob – fix slow leak on rear tire. Mela – raise seat, fill tires. Eden – head set plastic debris gasket was squeaky – fixed with small amount of oil. Roxanne – front brake rubbing – wheel was out of true, with one spoke quite loose. Fixed. Difficult to reach brake levers…

5/13 Open lab log

SUN 5/13/18 (JENNIFER, NICOLE, CONSUELO) Location:  outside Weather: 50-55 degrees, cloudy This was the first Sunday of the Bay State Bike Week. It was a little chilly today, but still plenty of people rolled by with miscellaneous issues: Air in tires for 2 bikes. Gears adjustment for 3 bikes. Squeaky brakes fix for 2 bikes. Front derailleur replacement for 1 bike. Brake cable housing lube for 3 bikes We were pleased to be joined by Adam S., who has indicated interest in volunteering with us at some future bike labs….

New season opens at Watch City Bike Lab

Our 2018 season kicked off with an opening on April 22, Earth Day.  The weather cooperated and volunteers on hand that week report a busy time. It’s great to see everyone out on their bikes! We also held two open labs in May, on the 13th and the 20th. Both were quite busy. Apologies to those who came at 2:00 on the 20th – our bad! We incorrectly posted the end time as 2:30…  we hope to see you on June 10 when we expect to be open next. Open…

10/8 Open lab log

SUN 10/8 (LEO, JENNIFER) Location:  inside Weather: drizzle at 10:30, band of showers passing through until about 1PM, then cloudy Temps in 70s. We set up inside. 2 stations worked non-stop from 10:30 through 1:40. Jonathan: Adjust rear derailleur, rear brake (just needed lube), brake lever position. Karen: Adjust handlebar center and rotation, adjust and tighten kickstand, Replace brake cable/housing, checked tires for leak. Also replaced tube in small child’s bike wheel. Karen was return customer and supplied parts. Maureen & Richard: Maureen: Straighten bent derailleur wheel cage, re-assembled/seated r.derailleur…

9/10 Open lab log

Sun 9/10 (Nathan, Jennifer) Location: outside Weather: nice, mid-70’s A woman came in with a coaster brake that wasn’t working very well. We weren’t sure how to adjust it. After taking it off the bike, fiddling a bit, and putting it back together, it seemed to work better.  Adjusted brakes and rear derailleur on a new Walmart bike. Wheels were also slightly out of true. The owner may come back to have that looked at. Adjusted brakes, derailleurs, and seat, lubed chain and pumped up tires on another bike.  Straightened…

9/3 East Coast River Relay and open lab

We were honored to be a stop on the East Coast Greenway Alliance’s East Coast River Relay on September 3. The East Coast River Relay is the 25th anniversary of East Coast Greenway Alliance. For 10 weeks, events are being held in communities all along the East Coast Greenway to celebrate healthy watersheds, active living, and local culture. We partnered with the East Coast Greenway Alliance, The Waltham Land Trust, the Charles River Watershed Association, and our host organization, the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation. Here was the day’s schedule: 10:30 –…

8/20 Open lab log

Sun 8/20 (Leo, Martha) Location: outside Weather: nice, upper-70’s Danny and Alia – stopped by because they saw a poster for the East Coast River Relay at Starbucks up by Market Basket (maybe Sonja from the Waltham Land Trust put it there). Mostly they wanted to see what we’re about and Danny especially was interested in getting involved. General discussion of cycling around Waltham as well. Michael has a son who is a new international student at Brandeis. He was out scoping out Waltham and wanted to see what we…

8/13 Open lab log

Sun 8/13 (Haink, Nicole) Location: outside Weather: nice, upper 70’s-low 80’s This was a very busy bike lab. Thankfully, we had the help of John Allen.   3 – 4 people stopped by to pump up their tires. Someone stopped by to get some advice on what to do with their bike they hadn’t used in a while. A woman stopped by to have a bike evaluated for her son (who had ridden it over there; someone gave it to them). The cable housing was really cracked and probably could have…

8/6/17 Open lab log

Sun 8/06 (Leo, Martha) Location: outside Weather: nice, mid-70’s Leo worked for over 2 hours with a gentleman with a Schwinn that had been in a crash and had a bent derailleur. In the end, it was rendered serviceable but they had to set limit screws to prevent shifting too far and causing things to jam up. Lauren and her mom Ines stopped by. Lauren is a high school intern at the Waltham Recycling Department and has been helpful getting information about the bike lab onto the City’s recycling pages….

7/30/17 Open lab log

Sun 7/30 (Nathan, Leo, Martha) Location: outside Weather: nice, upper-70’s Will stopped by and said he wants to return  next week for some derailleur help. Someone wanted to donate a bike for recycling. Explained we’re not set up to do that right now. Future possibility but certainly not this year. The group of people who were going to come today ended up being two: the husband of the person whom we spoke with originally, and their friend Mahmood. They both brought bicycles. Nathan worked with Mahmood to re-center the rear…

7/23/17 Cooper Street fire!

Sun 7/23 Due to the massive fire at the Cooper Street  development directly across the river from our location, the Museum and the Bike Lab were closed on July 23. The fire has since been declared arson by the Waltham Fire Department. Here is the July 23 statement from the Museum: IMPORTANT: The Charles River Museum will be CLOSED TODAY due to the ongoing situation with the fire across the river from our location. Additionally, there will be no Watch City Bike Lab today. We urge everyone to stay clear of the area…

7/16/17 Open lab log

Sun 7/16 (Leo, Martha) Location: outside Weather: hot, mostly clear, mid-80’s Two gentlemen stopped by with an old bike – the cogs on cluster had fallen off the cluster. After a lot of work getting it off, it turns out that the smallest threaded cog was cracked. Then they brought back another bike with similar freewheel, took that off also after a lot of effort, but when we tried to substitute it onto the first bike, it thread portion was the wrong diameter. Don’t know if he’ll come back with a…

7/9/17 Open lab log

Sun 7/09 (Leo, Martha) Location: outside Weather: nice, mostly clear, upper-70’s Kate and Ben: Discussed learning to fix and maintain bikes (2 bikes w/derailleurs); Kate: Straightened tube valve stem and centered rear brake; Ben: lubed and adjusted position (centering) of rear derailleur. Also centered front brake. Alison: checked to see if needs chain lube – advised not to lube as chain was rather dirty and not dry – more lube at this point would just attract more dirt and carry it into chain. Advised to clean chain and then lube….

7/2/17 Open lab log

Sun 7/02 (Jennifer, Leo) Location: outside Weather: nice, upper-70’s   2 Cyclists: Directions: Trail map, esp Auburndale Will: Brakes overhaul (2 new pads), adjust Alex: Check Kaytie’s bike. Center one brake assembly. Cyclist: Squeaking disk brake. Leo was going to check for stuck pad, but Jennifer suggested 1st verifying wheel seating and alignment. Turned out wheel had not been completely seated and was slightly out of alignment. Jennifer also instructed how to use pad position adj. screw. New Schwinn (just assembled by owner): General check. Adjust center rear derailleur. Align…

6/25/17 Open lab log

Sun 6/25 (Martha, Leo) Location: outside Weather: nice, mid-70’s Another great bike lab today – folks especially interested in talking about cycling in, around, and through Waltham. Our map displays from February were quite useful. Couple from South Boston: Air and directions: Trail map, especially Auburndale Cyclist: Air Cyclist: Air and directions: Trail map, especially Auburndale Cyclist: Political discussion bikes/racks/Waltham Child’s bike: Rough true wheel, Adj brake pads, center brakes Cyclist: Directions: Trail map, especially Auburndale. Cyclist: Air and directions: Trail map, especially Auburndale.  

6/18/17 Open lab log

Sun 6/18 (Nathan, Leo) Location: outside Weather: nice, mid-70’s Naomi: Align brake pads. For daughter: Adjust brake tension and handle position. He: Adjust cone, rear wheel. Rear brake tension & centering. John: Lube rear derailleur and cables. Adjust limits and tension both derailleurs.

6/11/17 Open lab log

Sun 6/11 (Jennifer, Leo) Location: outside Weather: nice, mid-70’s Here’s a quick recap of the open lab: Sharon: Rotate brake pads (she had primarily been forced to use rear brake to avoid going over handlebars, so this is also a big safety improvement). Rough true rear wheel. Adjust brakes. Investigated loose crank: appears to need new bearings. Sharon stayed an hour or so using stand and tools and discussion to better understand bike maintenance. Leo asked Sharon to return so he can replace damaged spoke nipples. Mike: Adjusted rear derailleur Cyclist:…

6/4/17: Summer season begins

 6/4/17 (Nicole, Haink, Roman) In the summer months, we try to be open every Sunday. June 4 was the first of our weekly openings, and it was a BUSY, busy time, one of the busiest Open Labs we’ve ever done. Luckily, one of our regular drop-ins stopped by and turned a few wrenches with us during the madness. Here’s a summary of the day’s encounters: Brandeis student came in with wobbly front wheel – opened up front hub, added grease to bearing balls, re-adjusted bearing preload, and re-assembled. Big improvement! Our…

Bay State Bike Week Open Lab log

Sun 5/21 (Leo, Martha, Jennifer, Haink, Nicole) Location: outside, some inside Weather: nice, mid-60’s This was our Bay State Bike Week event, and many of the bike lab organizers were able to be on hand for all or part of the day. Fun day! –          People tend not to come very early, so we will start encouraging earlier arrivals. –          The first two people were out touring around between Cambridge and Waltham. They pumped up their tires, asked about local bicycle routes and trails, and asked for directions to a nearby café….

May 7 bike lab cancelled

Please note that due to a private event at the Museum this Sunday, the Bike Lab will be closed on May 7. Our next open lab is on May 21. We’ll be celebrating Bay State Bike Week, and we’ll have swag! Hope to see you then!

More April sun… then showers

Sunday, April 30 was quite the busy day!  Two folks that had moved from California stopped by, primarily to have the brakes looked at on an old road bike. We showed them how to adjust one brake, and then they were able to work on the other! A couple stopped by with a well-used bike (Roadmaster). Bearings were shot in the rear wheel and the bottom bracket but we got the rear shifting and fixed the front brake, but we also had to say that it would probably be cheaper…

April snow showers

Sun 4/2/17,  Location: outside; Weather: sunny, low-50’s (great outside in the sun) The day started off a little… bleak, but we headed on down to open up the bike lab anyhow. Eventually the sun actually came out, and so did the people! The first person that came by had a puzzling issue with his brake cables. Both brake cables and inline housing length adjusters were sticky in housing and/or frozen. It took a very long time, but eventually with a little lubrication and some elbow grease, they worked free; also adjusted cable lengths….

Road trip to Bike! Bike! Southeast

Bike!Bike! is an annual international conference organized by and for community bicycle projects. This conference is a space for participants from shops and related advocacy groups to converge in a different city each year over a 4 day period to have workshops and strengthen our social network. The annual Bike!Bike! conference is hosted in a different city each year; regional Bike!Bike!s can take place at any time, in any location. A regional gathering took place on March 16-19 in Alexandria, VA, hosted by the awesome folks at VéloCity Bicycle Cooperative….

Open lab featuring Waltham cycling and walking paths

School vacation week We were open during museum hours for February school vacation week this year. We prepared a couple of display boards showing the Charles River Path as well as the Mass Central Rail Trail, and put out various flyers about cycling and hiking in Waltham (thank you, Waltham Land Trust). The weather ranged from somewhat seasonal 30’s to surprisingly un-seasonal, crazy-warm 70’s.  With temps 50 and above, and the sun shining, we were able to work outside on two of the days. Here are some highlights: Thu 2/23/17,  Location: inside, warm 50…

Building Community through Bikes

Check out this column from one of our founders. Yay Nicole! Building Community through Bikes at the Fall Festival  


Sure is hot outside these days, but a ride along the river catches some nice breezes. Ice cream on Moody Street is a nice treat, and a stroll through the museum is also a great thing to do on a sultry Sunday afternoon. At the bike lab this summer, we’ve met a lot of awesome folks – people new to cycling, people just getting back into it, and experienced riders and mechanics. The most common issues that people want to learn about include adjusting gears, adjusting brakes, pumping up tires,…

Summer hours – open every Sunday!

Beginning this Sunday, June 5, we will be open every week (except July 3). Make a plan to stop by – we open at 10:30 and close up at 2:30. And did you catch this article from the Waltham News Tribune?

Our May roundup

It’s great to finally start seeing more spring- and even summer-like weather! Several folks dropped by during our open labs on May 1st and 15th. We helped adjust some misbehaving derailleurs on a couple of bikes, adjusted a set of squeaky brakes, oiled some chains and pumped up some tires. Doug stopped by. He rides almost every day into the Museum of Science and back, and reports that his gears continually skip both up and down. Here are Leo and Dan looking over Doug’s derailleur and demonstrating how he can…

Out and about on Sunday

In stark contrast to our snow-filled opening day on April 3, the weather for our next open lab this past Sunday was wonderful – warm and sunny, and not much of a breeze to worry about if you’re concerned about headwind. It seemed like half the city was out and about: walking, riding, chilling, and pitching in to clean up Moody Street. Watch City Bike Lab organizers Jennifer, Leo, Martha, and Nathan were on hand, as well as our friend Jay and our “youth crew,” Jayson. Here are some of…

Opening day

We moved into our space at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation today (thanks, CRMII!). April 3rd and the weather was, well, snowy and cold, so we didn’t see a lot of people out walking and cycling, but we were happy to welcome visitors and let them know what we’re up to. Jayson put a new tube and tire onto Mayor McCarthy’s wheel. Next open lab, we’ll take a look at the brakes and cables. It won’t be long before her bike is ready to roll! Thanks as…

Food & Wine Festival

We had a great time as featured guests at the Museum’s annual Food, Wine and Craft Beer Festival on Thursday, March 31. Several of the Bike Lab’s organizers were on hand to explain what we’re all about. We ran a slideshow and handed out refrigerator-ready flyers. On display were two bicycles that have been in Mayor McCarthy’s garage for decades – we’re fixing them up to make them road-worthy. Stay tuned for more on this project! Special thanks to Joe Niedbala for designing our beautiful event banner.

In the news!

Here’s Haink in Martha’s copy of the Waltham News Tribune! We had a great time during our first Farmers’ Market day – hope some of you will be back to see us next month.