Here are two stories of very good old bikes. Let’s start with the metal horses of 90 or more years ago, then move on to the new home of a local bike co-op.
This week, about 120 people come to Goshen from all over the country with their vintage bikes — made in 1932 or earlier — like high-wheeled penny farthings and large horse-drawn carriage-like tricycles.
They will parade through the city, descend the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail and organize a meeting of exchange. The public will have the chance to participate for free in certain parts of this annual meeting of a non-profit organization called The Wheelman.
It will be a rare chance if you are just curious about vintage bikes or want to buy one.
You might meet members of the local Carter family, who have been riding vintage bikes since 1976. Coming from Etna Green, a small town between Plymouth and Warsaw, they have often taken part in parades.
“It’s been a family affair for many years,” says Chris Carter, 39, of Walkerton, who leads the Junior Drill Team that rides around showing off bikes. Of the family’s roughly 15 bikes, he helped his parents – who started the hobby – send a selection to this month’s First Fridays events in downtown South Bend.
His sister, Lisa McConnell of Elkhart, also grew up with vintage bikes and now shares them with her three children and two grandchildren. She helped organize this week’s events, which will be based at Goshen College.
“It’s pretty interesting for people who don’t know about it, who don’t even know it exists,” McConnell says. “The collections are out of this world. They are really old and in very good condition.
The national meet visits a different state each year. This year, it begins just as the Wheelmen’s international meet wraps up in Indianapolis.
On July 21, club participants will cycle for a century (100 miles in total), starting early in the morning from Goshen College in Abshire Park and descending the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail to Krider Park in Middlebury, then returning . Runners will do this 25-mile loop as many times as they can, earning a medal for 50 miles and 100 miles.
“This will be my 42n/a century,” McConnell says.
On July 22, the public can join the swap meet from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. inside and outside the college’s Newcomer Center, 1900 S. Main St. (Indiana 15), South of College Ave. Watch “bike games” from 10 a.m. to noon and browse memories from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
At 7 p.m. on July 22, riders will demonstrate their cycling skills in the Goshen College Music Center parking lot (from Indiana 15, go east on College Avenue, then south on 12 Street).
From 9:30 a.m. to noon on July 23, costumed vintage riders will take a 10-mile ride for the public, circling the college campus, then looping the Millrace Canal Trail and back.
For more information about The Wheelmen, visit thewheelmen.org.
South Bend Bike Storage
The South Bend Bike Garage came alive in its new dig last week, on the site of the former St. Joseph High School, as volunteers worked outside in the sun, sheltered by a brick yard of concrete and down to the lower level.
They ripped off wheels, inflated tires and answered questions from visitors.
South Bend Bike Garage New Home Photo Tour
It was amazing how used bikes from the old site at 909 Portage Avenue—two garages, plus parking for work—had filled this much more generous space. Bikes lined up in a series of rooms. The wheels filled a dressing room. Unlike the Portage site, this sheltered space will allow the bicycle cooperative to operate year-round in all weathers, even in winter.
Manager Dustin New says the arrangement of bikes in rooms will come into its own as volunteers settle in more in the coming weeks.
A small sign reading “South Bend Bike Garage” flapped in the wind on the corner of the building, Indiana 933 and Angela Boulevard, where a paved path connects the East Bank Trail to Holy Cross College, Saint Mary’s College and Douglas Road, where you can cross the highway to Notre Dame University or join the LaSalle trail.
A good address indeed for this cooperative which started three years ago. Notre Dame staff and students are regular customers, and of course a few came over last week for repairs and to buy a bike. At the co-op, you can buy a bike or volunteer to earn one.
A bonus here: a figure painted on one wall, calculations on another. This last remaining structure from the school site had been used by the Catholic nuns and perhaps, it seems, by a few pupils.
The co-op also recently acquired a newly acquired trailer, complete with tools donated by Park Tools, so they can eventually move into remote locations.
“The idea is that we can bring the Bike Garage to the route of events or even put it in neighborhoods that need it, but it’s a bit far from the Bike Garage,” says New.
The trailer could also show up at the bike valet parking lot (with free bike cleaning) that he and other volunteers held on First Fridays in downtown South Bend and at South Bend Cubs games on Sundays. afternoon. New coordinates these and other activities throughout the Michiana Bike to Work summer. New is also an active transportation planner for the Michiana Area Council of Governments.
‘Bike to Wherever’ this summer in South Bend with these cycling challenges
The South Bend Bike Garage opens 5-8 p.m. every Wednesday and other times by appointment. For more information, visit sbbikegarage.com or call 574-400-6036.
Goshen Cycle Path
The city of Goshen is testing a bike lane, a two-way bike lane, as it recently redesigned Lincoln Avenue between 5e and 8e streets for the next few months to create a safer route for cyclists.
Now Goshen is seeking public comment on this temporary bike path. Add your feedback in a survey at https://bit.ly/cycletracksurvey (in Spanish, visit https://bit.ly/ciclovialincoln). For more information and updates, visit goshenindiana.org/cycletrack. For any questions, contact the engineering department at 574-534-2201 or [email protected].
Sip, snack, tour local trails and waters with these groups
Find columnist Joseph Dits on Facebook at SBTOutdoorAdventures or 574-235-6158 or [email protected]