25 Nov 2019
Will O’Brien knows how to lead from the front. A longstanding member of the Adelaide Bike Kitchen on Gibson Street, Will has recently opened up a small retail arm and is now selling new parts, lights, locks and fixed-up secondhand bikes.
Primarily a community drop-in space for those wanting to fix their own bikes and learn more about bike mechanics from educated volunteers, Adelaide Bike Kitchen is now a place where you can pick up a pre-loved treadlie as well as some expert bike advice.
Will and his team of dedicated volunteers have been teaching people how to fix their own bikes for the past seven years. Their staple weekly workshops – run on Wednesday and Thursday nights – are open to anyone who wants to learn more about bike mechanics or get a disused bike back on the road. The Wednesday workshop includes an optional, homecooked vego meal in exchange for a $5.00 donation.
An entirely not-for-profit operation, Adelaide Bike Kitchen is underpinned by a DIY ethos which empowers bike enthusiasts to learn the hands-on skills they need to maintain their own bikes and become truly independent cyclists.
“Being able to fix your own bike and stay on the road is an act of liberation,” says Will.
“The Adelaide Bike Kitchen is first and foremost about helping people to become self-sufficient when it comes to cycling and fostering a like-minded community that values both teaching and learning.
“Our weekly workshops cater for people of all levels of cycling knowledge and ability and offer a safe, non-discriminatory space for people to socialise and grow in their bike education,” Will says.
Earlier this year Will saw the opportunity to diversify the Bike Kitchen’s offering by setting up a modest bike shop. The idea was to give new life to the many abandoned bikes and bike parts that had found their way to the Kitchen through both donation and discovery.
“Every single bike on our sales rack has been re-assembled and road-tested by our hard-working members, not only reducing landfill but also promoting green transport, which goes to the heart of what we do,” says Will.
In addition to pre-owned bikes, Will also sells helmets, seats, gloves and Bike Kitchen merchandise. A paid repair/maintenance service is available for those who do not wish to attend a weekly workshop, and bikes and bike trailers can be hired on a short-term basis.
A bicycle mechanic by trade, Will re-built his first bike 13 years ago and has been a devoted biker ever since. Helping to run the Adelaide Bike Kitchen has given him the opportunity to live his values and be a part of a passionate, grass-roots collective, where the emphasis is on lifestyle, not a bottom line.
“I love working in a non-hierarchical space where individual contributions are valued and where we can live and breathe bikes, building confidence, camaraderie and community,” Will says.
The Adelaide Bike Kitchen is located at 22 Gibson Street in Bowden, a hop, skip and a jump away from the newly re-opened Outer Harbor Greenway, which provides cyclists with almost 20km of uninterrupted bike path from the city to Port Adelaide.
For those who wish to attend a workshop at the Bike Kitchen, a range of membership options are available.
The Adelaide Bike Kitchen runs two open workshops every week:
The new Adelaide Bike Kitchen shop, which includes servicing and repairs, is now open four days per week: