Meet Isaac Martinotti (age 12) and Isaac Bailey (age 13), two friends who share not only a first name, but also a love of working on bikes.
These neighborhood pals realized none of their friends could fix bikes, so they converted Isaac B’s garage and driveway into their very own bike shop. They’ve named it I.A.I. Bike Repair (as in Isaac and Isaac) and they’re eager for business.
Located on one of my regular Northeast bike routes (on Holman Ave.), I first heard about them through a tipster a few months ago. When I rode by over the weekend the shop was buzzing with activity so I decided to stop and check it out.
Isaac Bailey (age 13) was hunched over a BMX bike, swapping out the rear wheel for a smaller one while Isaac Martinotti (age 12) was busy cleaning up the shop, organizing parts, dusting cobwebs, and trying to figure out how their cash register worked.
The Isaacs are serious about their shop.
They’ve even secured a source for parts. According to Isaac M., each Thrusday they fill up their cargo trailer with old parts from the nearby Community Cycling Center. “It’s just $5 for as much as you can carry,” he said with a glimmer in his eye that any dumpster-diving bike nut would appreciate.
As for tools, they invested their allowance in a new set, and they even know how to use them. Isaac B. is a graduate of the CCC’s afterschool bike club and Isaac M. took a welding class at his school. They also often seek out sage advice and help from the master builders at the Alberta Clownhouse bike shop.
The boys even found an old electronic cash register left in front of a nearby house for free. “It even works” said Isaac M. as he tinkered with it atop the checkout counter.
The boys were busy the whole time I was there. Several of their friends have dropped off bikes—one needs a flat tire fixed, the other a new wheel—and they’re working on some other bikes that they hope to trade for some business cards and flyers.
I asked what they consider their specialities. Isaac B. says he’s got a knack for spray painting parts and Isaac M. says he’s especially good at brake adjustment.
I ran into Isaac B.’s mom at the store the other day. She was buying some invoice slips (I told you they were serious) and said she was happy they were so involved with this, instead of just hanging out on the streets, “They’re really having fun with it…Isaac even asked me if they could do some commercials!”
You’ve got to love a city where kids aspire to have their own bike shop. Good luck Isaac and Isaac, I’ll see you around the neighborhood.
[Thanks to Ayleen Crotty for the tip!]