Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
WRENCH sets out to salvage 900 discarded bikes
Pat Krawec once found a $5,000 Italian, handmade bicycle at the Brady Road Landfill, but that's not what drives his passion for repairing and salvaging discarded bikes.
"It's just such a waste" said Krawec, executive director of the WRENCH (Winnipeg Repair, Education and Cycling Hub), a local group that is to bicycles what Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was to the 1970s.
"We're Winnipeggers. We're thrifty. It's a moral outrage. There's still lots of life left in these bikes," said Krawec.
WRENCH held its annual version of the push, pull and drag sale on Saturday but at no charge. Volunteers from Winnipeg's half-dozen community bike shops came by to save and strip parts from bicycles that wound up in the Brady Road Landfill.
There's still lots of life left in these bikes'
About 900 bikes were being picked over Saturday, including tricycles, kids bikes, 10-speeds, mountain bikes, trick bikes and even exercise bikes. "The amount of used bikes being thrown away is crazy, and it shows no sign of slowing down," said Krawec.
The organization puts a positive spin into the old saying "throw a wrench" into something, which usually means bungling things up. Here, WRENCH fixes the situation.
But WRENCH has a larger mission than to just repair bikes. It's more like bicycle maintenance as a "solution" to many of society's ills. Bikes are exercise, fresh air, environmentally friendly, and bicycling helps clear your head. Repairing bikes makes for sustainable cycling.
The main component to the non-profit WRENCH is to educate the public to do its own bicycle maintenance. It runs programs for everyone from prison inmates to special-needs people to inner-city kids. WRENCH also runs Build-a-Bike programs for schools and community centres.
"One reason the programs work so well is that by working on bicycles, you can get outside yourself. People learn to actually fix stuff," said Krawec.
It receives donations from some heavy hitters including the Richardson Foundation and Winnipeg Foundation, and government grants from the Neighbourhoods Alive and waste-reduction programs.
Volunteer-run community bike shops that WRENCH assists include The Bike Dump, The Bike Dungeon and Bike Lab.
"Most of these bikes just need a little love," said Robin Ellis, volunteer co-ordinator for WRENCH, surveying the tangle of bikes at the Brady Road Landfill.
Bike culture is growing, said Ellis. For example, she plays in a bike polo league. "It's like hockey on bikes with mallets." It's played on indoor rinks, with a street hockey ball and mallets that are typically ski poles with PVC piping taped to the end. If a player puts a foot down, they have to retreat to an area and touch the boards.
One might have predicted everyone at WRENCH pedals to work, as staff don't even own cars. "A lot of people who come to our shops depend on bikes for their transportation," Ellis said.
More information is at thewrench.ca.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 4, 2013 A4
Updated on Sunday, August 4, 2013 at 10:00 AM CDT: Corrects website
3:18 PM: Corrects typo
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
(1 of 50 articles for this week)10:26 AM 0
Manitobans unwrapped some more warm weather this Christmas morning.
It’s currently -4 C and mostly cloudy with a 30 per cent ...
Photo Store Gallery
- Man, 45, missing since Monday
- Break-in on top of her grieving
- RCMP charge more than dozen impaired drivers
- Other alleged victims for therapist charged with assault
- Guests welcomed with open arms at Christmas Feast in the West End
- Santa, sleigh on course: NORAD
- No charges laid in fatal collision
- For some First Nations people, like Tina Fontaine’s family, grieving is part of the yuletide season
- Openings, closings over the Christmas week
- Warm temperatures in Manitoba for Christmas
- MTS says services have been restored
- Winnipeg trucker dies in semi-truck collision
- New Transcona Boulevard offically opens today
- Remains may be decade old
- Oswald officially enters NDP leadership race; promises an "alternative vision"
- Break-in on top of her grieving
- Infant remains in locker may be decade old: Brodsky
- Police seek driver after pickup truck hits pedestrian
- No charges laid against man who killed teen mugger
- Woman killed in fatal collision near Steinbach
- Slain man leaves behind nine children
- Trucking firm in mourning after driver killed in crash
- Teacher pulled from classroom
- 'Fun party for two' ends in tragedy
- 'Bannock Lady' faces $3,000 in tickets; vehicle seized
- Photos released of suspects in coat heist
- RCMP investigate allegations of doctored invoices, improper payment
- Semi driver dies in collision at Lagimodiere, Dugald
- Twelve arrested, including former city council candidate; weapons and drugs
- Keep car windows clear or face fine: police
Ads by Google