Bicycling in the Upcountry

The Village Wrench-enriching a community through bike repair

By Susan Wienke, volunteer

What started as one pop up tent in the parking lot of West Greenville Baptist Church a few years ago has grown to a brick and mortar space in a thriving art district. The Village Wrench Workshop in West Greenville offers space, tools, and spare parts for the public to build and repair bikes with the guidance of knowledgeable mechanics. All of their services and used parts are provided for free, but donations are kindly appreciated. They also host free bike repairs throughout the community on the first Saturday of each month.

For those in need of a bike, they offer shop-worthy used bikes for sale, but for those who are unable to afford bikes. Children and adults can become bike (l)earners (i.e., they can earn bikes though community service in their neighborhoods and learn to repair them).

They have just launched their inaugural Six-Cycle teen bicycle mechanic program. During the six week session, mentor mechanics worked with the teens in training to cover every part on their bikes from bottom brackets to derailleurs to re-wiring brake cables. Part of the curriculum covered key characteristics that are essential for success in life such as curiosity, gratitude, grit, social intelligence, etc.  Additionally, they just hired their first teen mechanic who is learning through his first job, which he arrives to on his bike, the value of soft job skills, exploring bike repair, and being a part of a Village. Everybody wins: the teen learns valuable life skills (and makes some spending money) and West Greenville's bikes stay maintained.

Visit the Workshop in West Greenville at 8 Lois Avenue (hours are Tuesdays: 3-6 PM, Thursdays: 3-6 PM, and Saturdays: 10-2 PM) or online

The Village Wrench is a non-profit Workshop and neighborhood effort to enrich Greenville’s urban communities so that the “West Side” of Greenville can thrive and develop leaders within the community who value hard work and social responsibility.

By Susan Wienke, volunteer with The Village Wrench