Greasy Fixin's

local bike lovers spread a sense of autonomy

Aryn Widule, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

Area grease monkey Dylan Thomas gets a donated mountain bike up to snuff. Thomas is part of the Greasy Fixins group which aims the get locals onto bikes.

Like most people, there was a time last year when I had upwards of half a garage full of old bikes, bike parts, and other bike-related objects lying around. I wasn’t using them; I didn’t know what to do with them. Then one day, some industrious folks came and took the bikes away and put them to good use. Enter Greasy Fixins.

Greasy Fixins is a group with the idea that more people should not only own bicycles, but more people should be able to maintain, fix, and continue to use their own bicycles. The group takes old parts, chassis, and entire bikes and molds them into usable machines that go to folks in the community who need them.

David Smuhl, one of the founding members of the group, said that, “One of the most important things we’re trying to do is give people a sense of ownership. We don’t just want to hand them a bike and have them throw it away if the brakes go out or they get a flat tire. We want them to be able to fix it and really feel like it’s theirs.” He said that the goal of the group at this point was to get more people on bikes, and to try and spread a sense of autonomy.

The group is working on meeting bi-weekly. Smuhl said that one of the hardest things the group is trying to concentrate on at the moment is getting people’s schedules aligned, keeping momentum up, and making sure everyone is on the same page. There are four core people in the group who split responsibilities between mechanical work, organization and grant writing. Everyone involved has multiple projects that they’re working on outside of Greasy Fixins, so finding the times that work best for everyone is one the most immediate focuses of the group.

The idea had been in germination for several years, but the actual application of it took shape only a few months ago. “We were really blown away by the initial response,” Smuhl said. “At this point we’re just trying to get things organized and catch up to the demand we’ve seen.” There are always additional volunteers working on the program, and new groups of people are showing up all the time.

The group will be present at this year’s Earth Day celebration. Members will be on hand to offer quick tune-ups, tips on bike repair, and auctioning off a few choice rides in order to raise money for the organization. Don’t know how to fix your flat tire? Stop on down. Having problems adjusting your appropriate brake tension? They could probably help you with that, too.

The group is situated in building 17 at Banbury Place and their website is Going to the site gives more in depth contact information, updates on the group’s activities, the bike culture in Eau Claire, and an absolute boatload of links that will take you to other bicycle-related sites around the Chippewa Valley.

If you own a bike, ride a bike, have known at some point in your life how to ride a bike, or have done none of these things, you should get in touch with these guys and hook yourself up sweet. Getting around on your own power is satisfying, knowing how to keep it maintained is as well. Volunteering your time to help others learn how to do the same thing, that’s even better.

    Greasy Fixins • Banbury Place Building 17 • email: