Thursday, July 2, 2009

Creative Encounters: Bicycle "Self-help" Workshop

Located in the WUK center for workshops and culture in Vienna, the Fahrrad Selbsthilfe Werkstatt (Bicycle Self-Help Workshop), functions on a similar premise as co-ops like Bikes Not Bombs in the US: You pay a small fee for the afternoon, and one of the mechanics on staff helps you fix your bicycle or assemble an entirely new one using the parts available at the shop.

But the unique thing about the Fahrrad Selbsthilfe Werkstatt, is that here you are likely to see bicycles like this:

or like this:

or like this!

The workshop specialises in tall bikes and various other remarkable constructions, the likes of which you are not likely to see every day.

Though the floorspace is small, they make excellent use of the extremely high ceilings. Rows upon rows of frames, wheels, and partially assembled bicycles of different vintages, hang suspended above the visitors' heads. The resultant arrangements are quite beautiful.

Wheels and a station with tools...

forks...

cranks and pedals...

small parts...

Of course the majority of those who come in, are looking for help with "normal" bikes and are not assembling the sort of eccentric constructions shown above.

The mechanics are very helpful, and the atmosphere is mellow and friendly. A wonderful place to be, even just to watch. If you are a cycling enthusiast visiting Vienna, you will enjoy a visit to the Fahrrad Selbsthilfe Werkstatt.

5 comments:

  1. How cool. Would love to have something like this in our town. I like the bike mounted on the side of the wall. That idea might work for our garage that is now known as "The Velo Lodge".

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  2. That looks like a fun way to satisfy a desire to work on bikes while learning a thing or two in the process!

    I think every community needs to have a few coop workshops for bicycles, other mechanical projects, art studios, darkrooms, and so on. Proper funding would, of course, be required.

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  3. Jen, it would be nice to have handlebars and stem mounted over the fireplace.

    MDI, you should visit Bikes Not Bombs and report on it!

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  4. That is very nice! The town I am currently in has a very small bike co-op called Bike Library what I found interesting is their "lending" policy. From what I gather they only have 3-4 bikes a week available and they go pretty quick. Unfortunately I have to work half days on Saturdays or I would love to volunteer. I don't know if a bike co-op would fly in the town I live in or not.

    Aaron

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  5. Wow, looks like a great place for bike help. That's so important.

    In Davis, California there is something similar called the "Bike Church"

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