Last fall, the Silver Stallion Bicycle & Coffee Works cycling group repaired over 400 bikes across the Navajo Nation, where cycling forms a major part of the residents' lifestyle.
Riding a bicycle is a way of life in the Navajo Nation. Although cycling is the preferred mode of transport for many who live on the 29,500 square miles of Navajo land in New Mexico, the area is not home to even a single bicycle repair shop. In fact, residents often have to travel all the way to Gallup (which is an hour away by car) to reach a shop and get their bikes repaired. That is where the Silver Stallion Bicycle & Coffee Works cycling group comes in. Recognizing this deep-rooted issue, they decided to offer their repair skills to those in the Navajo Nation, Good News Network reports.
The cycling group travels across Diné lands and performs free bike repairs for those in need as a form of COVID-19 relief. Last year, they even received a grant from the New Mexico Economic Development Department in order to cover any expenses they incur. The Silver Stallion Bicycle also received a delivery truck as a donation from the Southwest Indian Foundation. To cover the costs of operating the truck, they received another grant from the Catena Foundation. In addition to this, Stans-Pivot Pro Team mechanic Myron Billy traveled to Gallup to help the group set up their freshly donated truck as a mobile bike repair shop.
Then, from September to November in 2020, Billy and the rest of the team traveled across the Navajo Nation to help anyone and everyone with much-needed bike repairs. The Stallions held 13 repair events, making repairs to a total of 425 bikes in seven different communities within the Navajo Nation. These repair events were held in chapter houses and community schools by community members at Navajo Nation. The mobile bike repair shop was, in all sense of the phrase, a grassroots movement. It was led by Diné mechanics and various riders such as Billy. The mechanic's experience working on the World Cup mountain bike circuit was crucial to the operation’s success. He also served as an invaluable mentor for the other mechanics who were part of the project.
To complete their repairs, the Silver Stallion Bicycle & Coffee Works cycling group utilized donated parts from companies like Stans No Tubes and the Clif Bar Pro Team, in addition to salvaged parts retrieved from several old bikes. Among the dozens of repairs the team completed, they were experts at "freeing-up seized freehubs, outfitting bikes with new cables and housing, and sliming tubes for the abundant local goatheads." Without a doubt, the initiative was a great success. So much so, in fact, that the cycling group had to cut off the intake of bikes early at almost every event.
Nonetheless, the need for bike repairs in the Navajo Nation is quite great. Therefore, the Silver Stallions plan to continue offering free bike repairs later this spring. They operate on the principle that "cycling is one of the best ways for kids and communities to recreate and find joy during the pandemic." With this in mind, the group also began fundraising for five kids’ mountain bike teams in order to expand the cycling lifestyle in the area. If you would like to get involved and make a difference, you can make a donation here. Alternatively, the group is currently accepting in-kind donations for bikes and parts for their Devo kids teams. You can visit their website for more information.