A Look at L.A.’s First Bike Wrangler, and His Wrenching Space

1205 West 6th Street...from humble beginnings...Photo: Joe Linton
1205 West 6th Street...from humble beginnings...Photo: Joe Linton

2011 is looking to be a great year for Greater Los Angeles’ do-it-yourself-do-it-together bike wrenching spaces. The Valley Bikery is moving into their new space at 14416 Victory Boulevard; that’s Victory at Van Nuys Boulevard. The Bikery has their grand opening party coming up on Saturday January 29th.

Jonny Green, Bike Wrangler
Jonny Green, Bike Wrangler

A veritable Bike!Bike! of seven (seven! count ’em, seven!!) local wrenching spaces – the Valley Bikery, BikeRoWave, the Bike Oven, the Bicycle KitchenPedal Movement Bicycle H.U.B., la Bici Digna, and Bikesanxs del Valle – have teamed up with C.I.C.L.E. and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition to create the County Cycling Collaborative’s Bike Wrangler.

The CCC’s wrangler supports the wrenching spaces, by rounding up abandoned and donated bikes and making them available to folks who need them. The bikes will go to the wrenching spaces, and will be distributed via workshops in low-income high-obesity risk areas. The CCC wrangler program is part of the L.A. County Department of Public Health‘s (LACDPH) obesity prevention program known as Project RENEW – for Renew Environments for Nutrition, Exercise, and Wellness. In recent years, the LACDPH had begun to focus on how to get Angelenos to do more regular healthy physical activity – including bicycling and walking. LACDPH started their Policies for Livable, Active Communities and Environments (PLACE) program which partnered with community groups and governmental agencies to promote changes to the built environment that will foster more walking and bicycling. LACDPH funded Project RENEW via a federal stimulus grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

LACDPH’s RENEW funds two CCC programs: C.I.C.L.E. (with wrenching spaces) hosts bike workshops and LACBC hosts the Bike Wrangler program. The LACBC advertised the wrangler job last year and hired Jonny Green, a Bicycle Kitchen volunteer “cook”, to be the full-time Bike Wrangler. LACBC’s bike parking maestro, Bobby Gadda, also a Kitchen cook and president of the CicLAvia board, is also setting up the Wrangler program and space.

A first look at the inside...
A first look at the inside...

Streetsblog got an early look at the Bike Wrangler space, still getting set up, but already accepting used bike donations. It’s a storefront at 1205 West 6th Street, a former liquor store storefront in L.A.’s Westlake neighborhood, right across from Good Samaritan Hospital.  Bobby and Jonny are looking to host volunteer parties to fix-up and paint the space, and wrenching events to fix-up donated bikes. If you’re interested in getting involved with the wrangler’s work of reclaiming abandoned bicycles, or if you have any tips or ideas on sources for bikes, or even an old bike in your garage that you’d like to donate to the program, contact the Wrangler at 213-629-2142 or  jonathan [at] la-bike.org.

  • Yay – after the above article ran, LACBC posted a more detailed Wrangler story that I wrote a while back: http://lacbc.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/announcing-the-bike-wrangler/

  • Very exciting! Jonny and Bobby – what a great team! I look forward to checking out this space. Thanks.

  • Bob Davis

    Wrenching space? Looks like another new term for the bicycle vocabulary (like “sharrow” and “door” (as a verb). I follow Streetsblog fairly regularly, but this is the first time I’ve seen “wrenching space”. I guess every subculture has its own glossary.

  • Hmmm, @Bob… You’re completely right… I’ve been immersed in hearing the Bicycle Kitchen folks call bike repair/maintenance/building work “wrenching” for too long. It’s been more than 5 years. Though there are various “bike wrenching spaces” – sometimes called “bike co-ops” – there’s not an easy completely-accessible non-jargony word for them…

    And to get even more jargonista: I was wondering what the Wrangler-space would be called. Theoretically a “wrangler” might run a “bike corral”… but that means something else. Bike barn? Bike pen? No guarantee that the CCC and wrangler would accept our input, but what should the wrangler’s space be called?

  • Bob Davis

    I think part of the “say what?” reaction is that “wrenching” is often a bad thing: e.g. “wrenching” a knee. I’ve also seen it used to describe very unpleasant, sudden events: “Moving to a new town was a wrenching experience for Billy,” In the realm of hardware, the verbs are usually “turning” and/or “tightening”. I’ve tightened nuts on everything from small electronic assemblies to track bolts on a standard gauge railroad, and have rarely heard the term “wrenching”. No, I’m not a retired English teacher, just interested in words. George Carlin and W. C. Fields are two of my favorite show business personalities.
    Some of us also see “coalition” as a “loaded” word, associating it with unstable foreign governments and various radical groups.

  • eric potter

    yup, we are wrenches. we wrench. we like wrenching. wrenching is a good thing. we wrenched pretty hard on monday and there were many beneficiaries. it’s heart wrenching to see that new space, good for my heart.

    but yes, it’s probably a bit of an inside term!

    reckon’ we might call that Wrangler’s wrenching space the Bike Round-Up?

  • Bob Davis

    Just make sure the “r” in “wrenching” stays in place. (I’ve been to a few Renaissance Pleasure Faires) Also, to use a more modern term, could the process be called a “bicycle makeover”? (offered partly in jest, but something to think about). And I can see a bit conflict between the people of the “inner world of bicycling” who want to keep it in an almost “cult-like” state, and those who want to bring bicycling into the mainstream, where everyone feels welcome and doesn’t have to learn a lot of arcane terms. I happen to enjoy learning new words and new uses for old words, but many people are very conservative in this aspect of life. A while back there was a collection of “remember when” items, such as “remember when a web was something a spider created?” and “remember when a platform was something you stood on to wait for a train?”

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