During our visit to Brooklyn, we and the local Chunk chapter held a mutant bike construction workshop for anyone who was interested.
Since we needed to get a pile together in a hurry, we rented a van to do errands. One was to buy some bike frames and parts from Mike, a homeless guy who's pile we had noticed. The people at the park weren't put at ease when an unmarked white van with no windows pulled up and five white people jumped out, but we were there to do business so Mike's wife was happy to see us. She said she'd call him. "Hey, Mike!" Mike was a sweetie and loved his job, and I'm sure that his pile was about as ethical as ours is, and ours is as ethical as it can be. "Take whatever you want except for this one, this is my special project." I wanted to take pictures, but there were lots of drug transactions going on around us.
The workshop was fun, but there is something kind of stupid about hosting one for a large group of mostly unskilled strangers. People who don't know what they are doing are our people - the mutant bike community is made up of people like ourselves who do things first and figure out how to do them afterwards. Being in the middle of 20 unknowns in an alley with power tools and welding torches can make one jumpy, however. I wore my goggles the whole day because of the golden showers of hot metal flying around.
The most memorable image was one guy cutting through a quarter-inch pipe with a hand grinder. The sparks were bouncing directly into his friend's scrunched-up face, who was patiently holding the pipe down for him. I tried to get him to use a hacksaw, but he wanted to do it that way.
When it got dark, we realized that we didn't have any lights, so Vog just left the torch going. It was like being in the kobold mines. I started shuffling instead of walking, because I knew that those damn kobolds love to put a pair of handlebars in front of your feet so they can laugh when you fall into the saw blade. Things got kind of unreal. When Vog started smoking the fumes coming out of the seat tube of the bike he was welding, it was time to call it a night.
(Return to C.H.U.N.K. 666)
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