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    By Jenny Kiefer
    Photo by Mickie Winters

    It’s easy to zip past Falls City Community BikeWorks, hidden in an alcove on Logan Street on the border of Germantown and Shelby Park. (If you get to the liquor store on the corner of Oak Street, you’ll have to circle around.) Bicycles and partial frames — green, pink, blue — hang from a covered porch littered with a mound of scrap, stacks of pallets and a rickshaw.

    While the outside may look a bit shabby, the inside is meticulously kept: five stations, each tool painted with a coordinating color, an outline surrounding each tool. A crime scene if one goes missing. Bicycle frames occupy nearly every stand in the cramped work area. The shop mechanic for the day hops between stations, troubleshooting tires or pulling brake lines taut. A member spins a wheel slowly around what looks like an oversized, misshapen wrench. She’s “trueing” the wheel — aligning the spokes, straightening everything. (A one-year membership is $60, or eight volunteer hours of your time. FCCB, a nonprofit, also accepts donations.)

    “This place is kind of like organized chaos,” co-founder John Krueger says. Behind the work areas, shelves hold heaps of mismatched pedals, spokes and oil-blackened chains. (“You have to work really hard to get them like new,” says a shop regular.) Limp tubes hang on hooks. In the back, in what’s essentially a cave, emptied frames suspend in rows, queued up for repairs. Another room houses finished bicycles built by members and sold for $50 to $200.

    “I’m one of those people who moved back to Louisville, one of those cliché kind of situations,” Krueger says. “When I moved to town, I really didn’t know anyone. I knew that I wanted to get into something like this because I knew you could meet people.” After scouring the city, he found that existing bike groups were exclusive, territorial. Krueger opened BikeWorks with co-founder Bella Christensen three years ago with the intent of inclusivity. “Working on a bike can be one of the most frustrating things if you’re by yourself,” Krueger says. “YouTube’s great, but there’s nothing like being in a space with other people where you can ask a question. ‘Oh, you do that.’ And you’re on your way.”

    This originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazine, click here. To find your very own copy of Louisville Magazine, click here. 

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