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First Aid Freakbike Milita Style

I like the West Palm Beach Freakbike Militia folks (referred to hereafter as FM because I manage to misspell Militia and have to keep correcting it) and they tolerate me hanging around, so it’s a good mix.

Remember their Summer of Love Ride? These folks know how to have fun.

When TIII sent out a message that there was going to be a 48-hour bike build at the Hen House, I sort of wangled an invitation.

Outside the Freakbike Milita Hen House

Another naming convention: I know that most of the FMs have birth certificates somewhere with real names on them. They prefer to go by nicknames like Wet Paint, Accident, Banjogrrrl, KrusherZ and the like. One of them mentioned that it has to do with parole officers, but he was kidding. I think.

Jack the Bike Man

The Hen House is a storage unit in Lake Park where volunteers work on restoring bikes for Jack the Bike Man. You can read all about Jack, his organization and his projects here.

Jack told the FM that he had to move to a smaller place to cut down on rental costs.

TIII set three goals for the weekend

  • Build as many bikes as possible – particularly kid bikes
  • Repair damaged drywall in the unit
  • Empty and remove a huge rack in the middle of the shop, all to prepare for the move.

The Hen House with finished bikes on the left; big rack to move in the center

Drinkslinger drove down from Melbourne

The West Palm Beach Freakbike Militia fixing bikes for Jack the Bike ManDrinkslinger, in the red shirt, came down from Melbourne and worked at least 40 of the 48 hours. He was cranking out bikes every time I looked at him.

When he wasn’t building them himself, he was showing others how to tear apart and rebuild old clunkers.

“Lots of grease,” he counseled. “That’s the ticket. The kid will probably outgrow it before he wears it out.”

Ricky, in the white shirt, had already knocked out seven or eight bikes when I saw him the next morning.

Freakbikers also teach

West Palm Beach Freakbike Militia's TIII shows Rand how a tire valve works.Freakbikers do more than just party and build funny bikes. They spend a lot of time working with high school-age kids like Rand, one of KrusherZ’s neighbors. TIII is showing him the finer points of tire valves here.

Think Shop Class with heavy metal

And cool teachers who do this because they love it.

When the crew needed a break, they’d pull out their own pet projects to work on. There are tall bikes that are eight feet tall; and low riders that almost drag the ground; bikes that look like they have scales and bikes that shoot fire. Imagination and the laws of physics are the only limits.

These are not your *-Mart’s Huffy bikes. They may be MADE of discarded *-Mart bikes, but that’s the end of the resemblance.

Building a tall bike

KrusherZ, left, Wet Paint and Accident are starting to work on a tall bike.

KrusherZ, Wet Paint and Accident work on a tall bike

“We’re all here because we enjoy what we’re doing and we enjoy giving back to the community,” KrusherZ said. “And it gives us something to do other than sitting at home playing video games.”

Accidents WILL happen

Putting a bunch of young males (and some who are not so young) in a room with instruments that cut and make sparks pretty much insures that blood will be spilled eventually. Parental warning: Nothing REALLY gory happens, but there IS one brief, if understandable, use of profanity in the video.

Tony was using a grinding wheel when he discovered that the spinning blade takes off flesh faster than it does metal. Fortunately, the Hen House stocks first aid supplies. After a debate about which of those supplies to apply first, KrusherZ produced the REAL first aid. “Icy pops fix EVERYTHING,” he said.

The last time I saw KrusherZ and Tony, they were headed off to KrusherZ’s house where Super Glue was available.

Do I REALLY want to run this video?

I sent a message to ask Banjogrrrl if she thought anyone would take offense at the Freakbike Militia First Aid video.

Tony getting the Freakbike Milita Icy Pops Treatment after cutting his finger“Oh, I was fine with the video.  I don’t know Tony, but I figure he would be too…I’ve ground a knuckle or two my ownself (although apparently not that badly, or maybe I just have a higher threshold for pain — anyway, not badly enough to require a fainting couch with little girl bike tires as a pillow…)”

OK to quote you?

“oh, lolz, sure.  Again, I don’t know Tony, so I don’t know how he’d feel about it, but I feel like I have built up enough injury cred to be able to get off a little good-natured ranking  :)”

So, Tony, if you have a grinding wheel in your hand the next time we meet, I want you to remember that it was Banjogrrrl who said that, not me.

Hundreds of bikes will go to needy kids at Christmas

Bikes recycled by the Freakbike Militia for Jack the Bike Man to give away at Christmas

8 comments to First Aid Freakbike Milita Style

  • Mark S

    This sounds like a great group of cyclists. It’s these kind of bike riders who need more publicity so that folks in cars might change their attitude towards all of us out there on the streets.

    Liked the video of building the bike, but I guess your ghoulish side kicked in once the “accident” occurred since we never saw anymore of the bike build.

    You weren’t tempted to grab a cutting torch and try out some custom work? Just imagine what you could go to your SLHT once you master adding on MORE tubing!!

    Would like to see how the bikes are handed out during the holidays if you can be there for it.

  • Mark S,

    You worked for TV. If it bleeds, it leads.

    I’ve even got a certain amount of street cred with these guys. When I was being introduced to someone I had never met before, he asked what kind of bike I had.

    The fellow I knew said, “You ain’t gonna BELIEVE the bike HE has.”

    When you can impress FMers, you KNOW you have a special bike.

    I’m going to see if I can get KrusherZ to help me put flame throwers on my bike like he has on one of his. I bet I won’t have any trouble getting drivers to obey the 3-foot rule after that.

  • “Icy Pops fix everything”
    That’s awesome! I love Krusher.
    Great write up Ken.
    Hope to see you at the Halloween event, make sure your card is empty, there are some really neat things to see and photograph on the Mother of all Choppernites!

  • I may be back in the Midwest on vacation then, but if not, I’ll sure be there.

    If it’s half as much fun as the Summer of Love ride, it’ll be a blast.

  • Jason Aka Jasoff

    Great write up on the FBM… Thanks again….

    Jason

  • Jason,

    Thanks. I can’t take that much credit.

    A Pulitzer Prize winning photographer was asked, “How did you shoot that great picture?”

    “F/8 and be there,” was his answer.

    Shooting the FBM is kind of the same way. All you have to do is stand there and something crazy is going to happen.

  • [...] once in a while Systemic Ken sends me a post from his site.  For those of you cycling fans who feel I’ve been neglecting [...]

  • Wow amazing advocacy bravo. I’m glad that there are people also who are very passionate on giving something specially for the kids in need.

    I really admire this kind of people. I’m sure a lot of kids out there will be very happy when they receive the bike.

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