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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Wrench-A-Thon looks to get bikes rolling for students

By KATIE McQUAID
December 01. 2017 9:24PM
The QC Bike Collective is holding a 24-hour Wrench-A-Thon Dec. 9-10, 2017, to begin refurbishing donated bikes for Manchester elementary students taking part in the Earn-A-Bike program at Beech Street and Gossler Park schools. The photo shows Alexis Luciano taking his new bike outside during the Earn-A-Bike program at Beech Street Elementary School in May of 2016. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader file photo)



Everyone is looking for ways to give back and help kids during the holiday season, and QC Bike Collective has a special community service opportunity that doesn’t have to involve your checkbook.

The collective is holding a 24-hour Wrench-A-Thon next weekend to begin refurbishing donated bikes for Manchester elementary students taking part in the Earn-A-Bike program at Beech Street and Gossler Park schools. They need to have at least 150 bikes ready to go for these hardworking kids by springtime.

The Wrench-A-Thon will run at the QC Collective shop, 373 Union St., from 8 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, Dec. 9, and then resume from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10. Volunteers can sign up for any amount of time.

Experienced mechanics who know how to build bikes are needed, but so are non–mechanical types who can help clean bikes and fetch tools. Don’t want to get your hands dirty? How about stopping by with some food, Christmas carols, or other encouragement for the crew?

“Anything that makes it fun for everyone,” said Abby Easterly, one of the collective’s founders and most passionate volunteers.

The collective is truly a grassroots effort that grew out of the need for people in our city to access affordable bikes, while keeping unwanted bikes out of the waste stream. They take in donated bikes, fix them up, and get them into the hands of people who need them at low or no cost. They also have shop hours where people can come in and find tools and parts to fix their own broken bikes.

Easterly estimates close to 1,000 donated bikes have been fixed up and put back out on the street since the group started organizing in the summer of 2014. That’s pretty amazing for an organization with only one paid employee. Shop manager Tyler Godt is dedicated to the mission and is fortunate to have the support of volunteers like Easterly and Kyle Winters.

If you have time, talent or treasure to donate to Wrench-A-Thon, contact Easterly at abby@qcbike.org or Godt at tyler@qcbike.org.

The best gift of all

QC Bike Collective always appreciates donated bikes and bike accessories. Cash is good, too. But what the group really wants to find under the Christmas tree this year is new shop space.

Neighborworks of Southern New Hampshire has generously donated its community room at 373 Union Street to the effort for more than two years, and now it’s time for the collective to find a home of its own.

Easterly says they need to remain close to their current location in the inner city in order to best serve the population that needs the collective most. She liked my idea of the old Michael’s School of Hair Design building next to the SNHU Arena on the corner of Cedar and Elm streets.

That building is an eyesore and would be the perfect location to serve the collective’s current clientele while also making the operation more visible to the rest of the city.

So if you’re listening, Santa, please get working on that deed.

Merry music

If you are looking for free or affordable Christmas concerts, check out our NH365.org events calendar. It is full of upcoming seasonal performances at local churches and other places of worship.

Tomorrow, Dec. 3, Grace Episcopal Church will host the classic Anglican Festival of Lessons and Carols at 3 p.m. There will be seven readings, seven carols, and seasonal music by the Grace Church Choir.

The Southern New Hampshire Wind Orchestra, under the leadership of Richard Cook, will perform a winter concert at Gethsemane Lutheran Church on Friday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m.

The Annual Festival of Advent Lessons and Carols is at The Cathedral of St. Joseph’s Blessed Sacrament Chapel Saturday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m.

These three performances are free, but donations will be accepted.

If you have a festive event or another important item that belongs in The Scene, contact Katie at Scene@UnionLeader.com.


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