This Cycling Group is Repairing Bikes for Free All Over the Navajo Nation
For many living on the 29,500 square miles of Navajo land in New Mexico, riding a bicycle is a way of life, yet there isn’t a single bicycle repair shop in the area. That’s why a group of bike-enthusiasts are bringing a repair shop to the desert.
Instead of residents having to travel to towns as far as Gallup to get their bikes repaired, Silver Stallion is coming directly to them—and not charging a dime.
Silver Stallion Bicycle & Coffee Works is traveling across Diné lands to do free bike repair for the Navajo Nation as a form of COVID-19 relief—and they got a grant in 2020 to help cover expenses from the New Mexico Economic Development Department.
In addition to the grant from the state, the Southwest Indian Foundation donated a delivery truck and the Catena foundation awarded the Stallion with a grant to cover the truck’s operating costs.
Late this summer, Stans-Pivot Pro Team mechanic, Myron Billy, traveled to Gallup in New Mexico to outfit the Stallion’s freshly donated truck as a mobile bike shop.
From September to November, Billy and the crew from the Stallion held thirteen repair events, repairing 425 bikes in seven different communities across the Navajo Nation.
Events were hosted by community members at Navajo Nation chapter houses and community schools.
The Silver Stallion’s mobile repair center was a grassroots movement that was led by Diné mechanics and various riders like Billy. His experience working on the World Cup mountain bike circuit was critical to the operation’s success in getting so many bikes rideable and he served as an invaluable mentor for the other mechanics.
The Silver Stallion used donated parts from companies like Stans No Tubes and the Clif Bar Pro Team—along with salvaged parts off old bikes to do many of their repairs.
The crew were experts at freeing-up seized freehubs, outfitting bikes with new cables and housing, and sliming tubes for the abundant local goatheads—a type of seed that causes punctures.
The effort was so successful—and the need so great—that they had to cut off the intake of bikes early at almost every event.
This Spring, the Silver Stallion hopes to continue free bike repair, operating with the belief that cycling is one of the best ways for kids and communities to recreate and find joy during the pandemic.
The Stallion saw plenty of evidence about how essential the service of bike repair is across Diné lands—but also begun fundraising for five kids’ mountain bike teams for expanding the cycling lifestyle.