When Juan Morales discovered a flat tire on his BMX one-speed, he knew what he needed: a visit to the Bike Booth.
So on a sunny Thursday in August, Morales, 13, walked his bike into the Pescadero Grown! Farmers’ Market and showed his damaged tire to Every Day, the convivial and dexterous bike mechanic on duty at the Bike Booth. She shook her head in mock exasperation.
“That’s what happens when you jump your bike too hard and you don’t have good tire pressure. I’m going to get you a new tire,” she told him, reaching into a tall cardboard box and pulling one out.
Morales just grinned. He’s a Bike Booth regular, and, being 13, takes a certain pride in how quickly he can destroy a tire doing tricks on his BMX.
“This is, like, my seventh time here this summer, “ he said, unabashed. “I just ride all around with my friends, burning tires. We go everywhere.”
Every Day looks forward to seeing Morales and his BMX buddies each Thursday at the farmers’ market and teaching them the fundamentals of bike repair. Her easy manner and matter-of-fact repair tips have earned her a weekly entourage of young acolytes who like to help her work on the bikes people bring her – souped-up mountain bikes, road beaters, and everything in between.
The hive of attention that Every Day and her fellow bike mechanic, Lior Shaked, generate each week has been one of the nicest surprises for Puente, which sponsors the Bike Booth as a free service to the community.
“The kids love to learn to fix their own bikes. I’ve never seen them so attentive to anything,” said Nichole Mikaelian, Puente’s farmers’ market intern.
The feeling is mutual, said Every Day – who chose the unusual name for herself as an adult in order to call to mind that every day is a blessing. She loves having people around to chat with.
A full-time bike mechanic who lives in La Honda and volunteers with Puente, Every Day will typically fix five or six bikes during the four-hour weekly farmers’ market. She always comes prepared with boxes of nuts, bolts, screws, axle grease, tires, bike chains and many other parts. If she’s missing something she needs, Puente will supply it for her.
Clad in black latex gloves, a black work smock, heavy utility pants, and a sunhat, Every Day is ready for business. She taught herself how to fix bikes 20 years ago; her traveling bike shop is a cargo trailer named ‘Buddy.’
“I really like making things work. Square peg, round role,” she said, adding: “To pick through a box of nuts and bolts is my idea of a good time. It’s very calming.”
Now in its second year, the Bike Booth is a component of Puente’s much older bicycle donation program. Puente founder Wendy Taylor established the bicycle program when she realized that the farm workers living in and around Pescadero had no reliable transportation options to get to work.
The Bike Booth exists thanks to Liz Chapman, a former Puente board member and longtime volunteer and bike enthusiast. She recruited Kyle McKinley, who founded the Bike Church in Santa Cruz, to establish something similar at the Pescadero Grown! Farmers’ Market. She and her husband personally help fund Puente’s bicycle program.
The afternoon turned mellow at the farmers’ market as Morales sat at a picnic bench in front of the Bike Booth, his tire now fixed, waiting with his friend Bernardo Arellano to get his bike fixed so the two of them could go out and ride.
Elsewhere in the market, teens blew bubbles as a guitarist sang the blues. Shoppers browsed market stalls and bought cupcakes, vegetables and meat.
A 10-year-old girl named Emerald Webb, came to ask Every Day if she could help work on a bike, so she put Webb to work, threading a new cable to help Arellano’s BMX 8-speed change gears.
She gave Webb a matching black smock and work gloves and they stood behind the back wheel of the bike, which was elevated on a rack. The sun filtered through the spokes, casting their faces in thin, shadowy stripes.
“I like this,” said Webb.
“I like it, too,” said Every Day.
To donate to Puente’s bike program, or e-mail us at (650) 879-1691 ext. 116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.