If there is such a thing as a “bicycle happening,” Teen Services’ Operation Bicycle just had one!
Following the ribbon cutting, Executive Director Becky Jo Peterson thanked everyone for coming and then turned to Adrian Palenchar, Operation Bicycle Manager, for a few words. With an enormous grin, Adrian was clearly thrilled with the event and the opportunity to share the new shop. “This has always been my dream, but no dream comes true without a lot of help from a lot of people. Operation Bicycle works because the whole community is behind it.”
The community spirit was certainly present today. There were people who just dropped by, but the majority of folks were those who have known Adrian and Operation Bicycle (OB) for several months, several years, or from its very beginning. Jean Hopeman and Art Fichtenberg recalled when OB was just an idea of how to use the old basement below the Teen Center, and as Art looked around at the new shop, he described it as “heart-warming” to see how that vision has turned into such a thriving social enterprise. Also attending were Adrian’s kindergarten teacher, Tom Sours who volunteers at OB, parents of teens who have learned about bike mechanics, old and new customers who have experienced the great service (and prices) that OB offers, alums from Teen Services programs, and our youngest customer who went home with a brand-new bike for his upcoming 3rd birthday.
Several teens were on hand – both as volunteers and because the bike shop is where they hang out. Ulysses (Uli) Mata, age 13, is one of the teens who frequents the bike shop. “Adrian taught me how to know my bike and how to take care of it. Now I have my Bike Mechanics Certificate. I like being here because I don’t get bored and I want to help this guy (pointing to Adrian).”