Friday, January 29, 2010

Meet the Cooks! Derek Boonstra

Name: Derek Boonstra | Rides: Commuter hybrid bike. No frills named Mad Max. I like brakes. I like gears.

Cookin' Since:
A little over two years...Usually here on Sundays.

How'd you hear about the Kitchen:
Well, I knew Chuck. I bought a bike from a co-op down in Orange County—an old crappy mountain bike I wanted to start riding around the city and I came in to do some work on it. I used to work in a hardware store and I liked poking around and learning stuff and decided to come around more often.

Where's your favorite place to ride your bicycle?
I grew up in Colorado, so I love riding the hilly foothills. I like Griffith Park. I did the ride from San Francisco to LA and that was one of my favorite rides.

What do you do when you're not at Kitchen?
I am a documentary filmmaker.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Earn-A-Bike ROCKS!

One of our longtime cooks, Gabby Peppas decided to restart Earn-A-Bike here at the Kitchen with a session this summer. She had such a good time and great response from the kids that she launched right into a fall session which is about to wind up next week. They've been meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6pm, learning bike mechanics as they build up bicycles from our pool of donated frames/bikes. Gabby runs this program as a volunteer and the bicycles and parts needed for them are given to the kids for free.

Luckily, East Hollywood Neighborhood Council has generously decided to support helmets for the fellas this session. Just in time for their last ride next Thursday. Members from the council are planning to come Tuesday the 2nd to present the helmets. Posted here is a keynote presentation we made to the Council. You might have to download it to watch at a slower pace.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Meet the Cooks! Ethan Saks

NAME: Ethan Saks | Rides: A Surly Steamroller—American Steel, purple with glitter. Cookin' Since: 2007 | Tuesdays and Thursdays are my days!

How'd you hear about the Kitchen: Well, at first I got a road bike and I saw a couple of people riding single speed and I wanted that. People riding bikes told me to come by here to get the work done. Heard it on the street.

Where's your favorite place to ride your bicycle? Staples Center. The parking lot is so nice. Fresh pavement and they don't bug you.

What do you do when you're not at Kitchen? I'm a photographer. I take pictures of bands.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Not even the rain can keep us inside! This week finds Cooks of the Kitchen taking our Extracycle out and about Los Angeles for a couple of wrenching workshops.

First, on Monday, Ramon and Arlen went to do some hands on wrenching demos at IDEPSCA through the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition's City of Lights program. Last Friday the Kitchen donated 14 mountain bikes to their stable to be distributed to day laborers as needed.

And today, on what seems to be the most relentless rain of the week, David Lane headed up a group to go do some bike fixin' at
Skid Row Housing Trust. Here's the email he sent out to our cookslist, quoted cuz it's rad:

"So my friend Paul has gotten in touch with me about doing another bike kitchen workshop in downtown. He works for a company called Skid Row Housing Trust. A few months ago we conducted a very successful workshop at one of their buildings which left several people happy with their newly working bikes. Thursday the 21st at 12 noon we will head down to the Defiance Space on Central Ave to do more of the same. We'll basically be fixing some flats and adjusting some components but Paul is also giving me a list of some things that are needed in particular (a wheel, a shifter...) and it sounds like at least seven people need their bike fixed which is more than the last time. If we can keep up this partership with them and continue these workshops on a regular basis it would be a great service to a community that needs it. I will be at the kitchen around ten getting things ready and drinking coffee. Hope to see some of you there."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Meet the Cooks! MaBell

NAME: MaBell | Rides: Domingo Alvarez bike from the 70's with a coaster brake hub a.k.a. “The Gay Bike”

Cookin' since: 2003 | Here for any shift that's needed and Bitchen. Former Earn-A-Bike & Founding Board Member

How'd you hear about the Kitchen: A lady at Skylight books told me about it when I first moved back from Boston.

Where's your favorite place to ride your bicycle? You have not lived in Los Angeles until you have ridden your bike across the Sixth Street Bridge across the river into downtown at night!

What do you do when you're not at Kitchen? Mostly, working as an emergency transport doc for Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, playing with my kitties, and working in my garden.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sign Painter

The Bicycle Kitchen is so lucky to know such talented folks! Look at Aaron Kuehn go and praise the results!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Meet the Cooks! Rory Cowal

Welcome to the first of what will be a regular feature until we get them all--portraits of your friendly neighborhood Cooks!
Thanks to Rory, who kindly agreed to be the guinea pig.

Name: Rory Cowal Rides: Vitus project bike (made at BK.)
Cookin' since: December 2008 | Holds down the monday shift

How'd you hear about the Kitchen: Moved to the neighborhood and it caught my eye and almost immediately after moving here my bike was stolen from the vermont/beverly station, so I came in here to start a project. I remember at first especially with Jonny and Hazel and MaBell and Sophie. After spending time with these amazing people, I was hooked!

Where's your favorite place to ride your bicycle? When I first started to get around the neighborhood, I was riding down Sunset and Wilshire―major thoroughfares thinking “Why am I the only cyclist on these roads?” Spending a little more time at the Kitchen I learned that everyone has their favorite secret routes that sidestep the busiest streets and now, when I commute to work, I have my OWN secret routes that I'm proud of.

What do you do when you're not at Kitchen? I'm a musician. I play piano and I perform and teach music.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year | New Workshops!

The Pantry is up and running! Cooks have been working hard to get the Pantry ready for some teachin' and we gave it the ole New Year push with an inaugural class on "Responsible Bike Ownership" last night!

This new classroom space is going to kick our teaching abilities into a whole 'nother level and we're really excited. There's a whiteboard in the Kitchen with a list of classes and a notebook so you can sign up while you're there. Or you can see the offerings still on our web page and send an email to sign up. All classes are suggested donations.

Take wheel building--it's super fun!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Holiday Elves Work Their Magic

During our holiday closure, the Smooth Shifting Gruppo blew through an incredible makeover! They re-painted the walls, built a new counter and re-designed the tool boards. Now, each stand has it's own tool board with a shared middle board for those tools that don't get used often enough to cause a fight. Some tools that are specialized and/or have been going missing a lot are now stored behind the counter, so that if someone needs one they have to check with a cook first. We've also put the locks, lights, fixed cogs, chains and other small new parts back there, so if there's something you think you might want or need just ask!

The best part about the re-org according to Emily, the Smooth Shifting Head Honcho? "We were able to keep the window to the truing room open!" Viva Sunlight into the darkness of the pick-a-part dungeon!

Aaron Kuehn, designer extraordinnaire who created our logo is handpainting signs! You can see one of them here:

What a great way to start this new year, 2010, which just happens to mark the FIFTH YEAR that we have been on Heliotrope Dr. here in Los Angeles' unofficial Bicycle District. Come by and see how purty it is!!!

Happy New Year!!!