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Used bike shop with a mission moving to Eckington spaceZen and the art of bicycle maintenance

Welcome to Gearin' Up

Gearin' Up took a ride with youth from the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services. The shop's new space on Randolph Pl NE is visible in the background

The new space features 12 workstations to repair bikes

Gearin' Up Bicycles, a used bike store, repair shop, and training center for D.C. youth, is moving to Eckington next month.

Founder Katie Lupo explains that Gearin' Up, a nonprofit, uses donated bicycles to teach D.C. teens and young adults the basics of bicycle repair, then sells the refurbished bikes back to the community.

Previously headquartered outside at Bardo Brewpub, 1200 Bladensburg NE, the new space at 314 Randolph Place NE is an improvement in a few ways, the largest of which being that the shop is now indoors, rather than in a lot. It's also right off the Metropolitan Branch Trail, a fantastic location for anyone involved in bicycles.

It's also a little bit bigger, with room for 12 people to work on bikes at one time. Those 12 people could be youth in an "Earn-a-bike" program, where after working on fixing up a bicycle for 16 weeks, they get to keep it; or they could be adults taking one of the many repair classes Gearin' Up will be able to offer once it's settled in its new space; or they could be people using Gearin' Up's tools during "open shop" hours. "I also want to get a ladies' night in there," Lupo says.

Gearin' Up will go from being open four days a week to six. Tuesday nights will be Build Your Own Bike night for adults, and Lupo is envisioning the first Wednesday of every month as a free basic maintenance clinic open to the community.

Gearin' Up also sells donated used bikes, often after the bikes have been refurbished by its techs or techs in training. The funds from the bikes, priced between $100 and $300, go straight back into its youth programs.

Gearin' Up has worked with the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, the Latin American Youth Center, and the Riverside Center. This summer, through its Earn-A-Bike program, Gearin' Up provided 45 teens with bicycles and repair skills.

"Our young adults get a bike, and we go over it part by part," Lupo says. "The first usually is wheels, but they fix every part of their bike. Even if it's working they take it apart, learn how it works," and at the end, they get to keep it. "With the kids, it's all about the bike, but it's not about the bike at all," Lupo says. "It's about the skills you get from learning how to fix a bike. The patience, the determination."

Gearin' Up is finalizing its permits and hopes to open in mid-November at the latest. In the meantime, it is throwing an informal gala Friday to show off the space and raise funds.
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