Volunteers seek to get people on bikes

Krank It Up, a local, volunteer-run bicycle shop tucked away in Railroad Square Art Park, is offering a space for community members to reassemble bicycles.

“We just want to help people learn how to work on their bikes and have sustainable transportation and just get as many people on bikes as we can,” said Nelson Ball, who has volunteered with Krank It Up for two years. “Basically, everything in the shop has been donated to us from people in the community, whether it’s frames, whole bikes or just parts.”

While the bike shop remains a mystery to many people in Tallahassee, First Friday attracts large crowds to Railroad Square Art Park, giving local businesses like Krank It Up exposure. Many patrons of First Friday discover Krank It Up while walking in front of the open warehouse doors.

“I haven’t heard of it before, and I just looked in, and I saw the bicycle wheels,” said Carol Christensen, a first-time Krank It Up customer whose boyfriend was getting an old bike renovated. “I have a bike, too, so we were instantly pulled in.”

Ball said getting involved with Krank It Up is easy. People who are interested in becoming a volunteer at the bike shop can come and shadow a mechanic while he or she is on duty or prove a fluency with bike parts and repairing.

After working as a trainee with other volunteers, new volunteers are put on shifts with other mechanics or are offered new shifts that better fit their schedule.

“We do some events and stuff like that where we plan things like a bike-in movie night, races, bicycle polo events and stuff like that,” Ball said. “And a lot of that is just planned in our monthly meetings, and those are open to everyone as well. If they want to come and just spitball ideas with us, that’s totally fine, too.”

Ball said the dates of the monthly meetings fluctuate, but they are posted on the shop’s Facebook page, Krank It Up.

Some customers think the idea and functioning of the store is wonderful. They enjoy the affordability of the different bike parts they need to fix old bikes. The reusing of the bike parts has also attracted customers who think the secondhand nature of the products is beneficial to the environment.12