The union of the two shops might not have happened if Eames had not decided to step aside. In 2014, he
let it be known he was no longer
interested in being Old Spokes’
sole proprietor. (He eschews the
word“retirement.”) The fate of
Old Spokes was up in the air as
he considered his options. Sell the
shop to the highest bidder? Turn it
into an employee co-op?
Dan Hock, who had worked
as a mechanic in both shops, had
another idea. Bike Recycle and Old
Spokes could combine forces in a
single, self-sustaining enterprise.
Proceeds from Old Spokes would
fund Bike Recycle and its programs,
eliminating the need for chronic
fundraising and grant writing.
Eames warmed to the idea, in part
because Bike Recycle’s mission
dovetailed with his own philosophy
and his devotion to the community.
“If I were able to select any
buyer, this would be my No. 1
choice,” Eames said.
Bike Recycle still had to come
up with the money necessary to
compensate Eames. Remarkably,
according to Manganiello, Bike
Recycle’s volunteers and Old
Spokes devotees had the combined
wherewithal to raise about
$500,000 — half in grants, half
in bridge loans. More than a few
of those volunteers proved to be
people of means, individually
contributing tens of thousands of
dollars to the cause.
Yiota Ahladas, a Bike Recycle
devotee and board member
who helped organize the capital
campaign, sees Bike Recycle
Vermont as a kind of magical
place that brings all sorts of
people together to work on bikes,
well-to-do volunteers alongside
“It’s a microcosm of the
world,” she said, “and everybody is
benefiting from being there.”
Whether the new enterprise
will in fact become self-sustaining
remains to be seen. First, the
bridge loans have to be retired.
Fundraising is underway to
Meanwhile, work goes on
in the shop under Hock’s genial
supervision, as could be seen at
three stations on a recent Saturday
• Two volunteers (a Ph.D.
candidate in history and a nursing
student) were dismembering
donated bikes (“Pull the wheels,
save the tires and tubes,” Hock
advised after eyeballing the frames).
• A 14-year-old boy who came
in with a bike missing a seat was
looking to replace it. Hock handed
him a caliper and showed him
how to measure the seat post so
he could find one in the storeroom
• Ahmed Ibrahim, 15, brought
his bike in to get a flat tire fixed.
Hock turned him over to a
volunteer, Jeremy Vandal, who
showed him how to take the tire
off, how to patch the tube.
His tire fixed, Ahmed was
given another task, since he wasn’t
paying for his repair. Hock wanted
him to help replace a tire for
another customer. Ahmed waited
tentatively. Then Hock came over
and they both looked at the wheel.
“Let’s go over a few things,”
Hock said, before Ahmed got
Ted Berg, a volunteer since
2008, traveled with shop boss
Dan Hock on a months-long bike
trip through South America.