A very unique bike shop here in Indy combines several good values both inside and outside the walls of its business. Freewheeling’ Community Bikes, at 3355 N. Central Ave. , Indianapolis, IN 46205 is a full retail bike shop and much more. Freewheelin’ [www.freewheelinbikes.org] is a 501(c)3 youth development organization that uses bicycles in many ways to capture kids’ interest, engage them in activities that teach them life skills, good health habits and leadership. The heart of the program and most often the entry point is the Earn-a-Bike program in which youth who are between the ages of 10 and 18 come in and work with a teaching mentor to learn basic bike mechanic skills, along with life skills such as delayed gratification, perseverance, problem-solving, focus and accountability. When they finish the program, they have earned their own bike (which they have chosen from the collection of donated bikes and fixed up), a lock, a helmet and the right to progress into a leadership role.
I have donated various parts that I have accumulated over the years and I have picked up a few of the gently used and new bike jerseys at a very low price. I will be wearing a few of the jerseys I bought there during my ride. Most are souvenirs from the Hilly Hundred in Bloomington, IN.
Freewheelin was the final resting place of my famous Raleigh Grand Prix 10 speed. This is the bike that I bought 3rd hand while in high school. I rode it to play tennis all summer, it was my only transportation for 2 summers in Pasadena, CA, with me at college for 2 years, rode it home 120 miles at the end of college one year, took my kids for rides on a baby seat, rode it from my Dad’s house in Chicago Hts, IL 180 miles to my home in Noblesville, IN, rode it on many Hilly Hundreds, and countless other trips. In 1987 I bought a Trek 410 touring bike and rode the Raleigh on fewer occasions. Once I bought Hidalgo, the Specialized carbon road bike, I practically never rode anything else. It would be a sin to have a good bike sit idle in a garage, so about a year ago I finally took it to Freewheelin’ as a donation. I knew that bike longer than I’ve known my wife! I hope the new owner appreciates the bit of history they are riding.
If that bike were a Clydesdale, this would be the foundation for a great Budweiser commercial! Final scene – the Lone Rider passing through Indianapolis encounters a kid on an old 1969 Raleigh Grand Prix. They pause at a stoplight. The Raleigh’s front wheel turns on its own towards the Specialized bike. The front wheel of Hidalgo touches the Raleigh. Finally the kid looks at the panniers on the Specialized and asks the rider “Taking a Trip?” Fade to music “Going down that long lonesome highway … Gonna live life my way..”
The Lone Rider