Free Richmond-area bike repair service teaches youth simple fixes

Free Richmond-area bike repair service teaches youth simple fixes

by Mike Kinney

You probably see it all the time — countless functional bicycles rusting away in local back yards, all because of a single flat tire.

“A flat can take any kid off a bike for a couple weeks to years,” says Michael Patrick Smith.

Smith would know. He’s not just an avid cyclist, but coordinator and lead mechanic for Local Motion Bicycle Repair serving Richmond and West County.

He works in conjunction with Bay Area BikeMobile, a Spare the Air Youth program that provides free hands-on, mobile bike repair services in underserved areas.

We encountered Smith offering services at the recent Bike to Work 2017 in Richmond. He says his outreach efforts start off with an ABC inspection: Air, Brakes, and Chain.

“What we essentially do is run a brake and safety check on each bike that comes to us at a public event, and we make bikes functional for kids and also their parents to ride,” Smith said, adding, “It’s a free service.”

As an avid cyclist, Smith gushes over the benefits of cycling.

“I love Alvarado Park, a local park in the city of Richmond,” he said. “I go up there and ride all of the trails. I ride from Alvarado Park over to Tilden Park, up in the hills above Seaview, by the steam trains of Berkeley and then I come back. I do that anywhere from two to five days a week.”

For those wanting a less rigorous ride, Smith recommends the Bay Trail on Richmond’s waterfront, as it’s flat and gorgeous.

“I encourage you all to get outside and enjoy the outdoor experience,” Smith said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Michael Patrick Smith as owner of Local Motion Bicycle Repair, when he is in fact coordinator and lead mechanic.