OGDEN -- Josh Jones carefully walked Will Chadwell through the mysteries of fine-tuning a bicycle's wheel spokes, saying "you turn it this way to tighten," and you want to tighten them just an itty bit at a time, and go around.
Not just idle chatter or a minor repair.
Chadwell, a military veteran who is rebuilding his life and studying computers, depends on his bicycle for basic transportation. He needs it to work, but this particular bike cost only $10, so it also needs work.
Jones, one of the directors at the Ogden Bicycle Collective, was more than happy to help him. The collective was founded three years ago to help people like Chadwell fix and own bicycles, with emphasis on the poor and the young -- but anyone is welcome.
The collective is part of a growing bicycle culture in Ogden.
Jones works for Ogden as an information technology specialist, but has helped with its cycling programs because he's so interested in bicycling.
He is a certified league cycling instructor from the League of American Cyclists, so consulting with the city fits right in with his interests in setting up and helping run the bicycle collective.
These are particularly exciting times for Jones. His new boss, Mayor Mike Caldwell, is an ardent cyclist who helped found the Lotoja, the 200-mile Logan-to-Jackson bicycle race, and showed Lance Armstrong the Xterra routes at Snow Basin.
Jones hasn't had a chance to talk to the new mayor yet. Caldwell was sworn in Tuesday and has been dealing with the death of an Ogden police officer ever since. But Jones figures Caldwell should be receptive to new ways to make Ogden more bicycle-friendly.
Under Mayor Matthew Godfrey, Ogden undertook several initiatives to improve cycling. The city laid out bicycle routes around the city, although it didn't actually designate bicycle lanes. It has drawn bicycle lanes on several roads, including Washington Boulevard, but the lanes go only short distances. The city plans to do more when other repair work is done.
The city worked with several local companies to install bicycle racks around central Ogden, and there has been discussion of a bicycle-sharing program.
A proposal to build a large recreation center in the center of the city with a bicycle racing velodrome is on hold. The plan was turned down for funding by the county RAMP committee. Jones doesn't know if Caldwell plans to bring the issue up again.
Jones said a number of new projects are under way with the help of Ogden and neighboring cities.
* Ogden is developing a free-ride mountain-bike park and a dirt-bike park near 9th Street in the area where the city recently installed a new water tank.
* A bicycle motocross park will be built above the old landfill near 21st Street. That is being built with the cooperation of the West Haven City Council.
* The city will do more bicycle lanes. "The city went and did that experimental route with the signage and the sharrows," which are arrows telling bicycles and cars how to share the lanes, "and we had some good feedback."
Jones said he'd like to see the city take a different attitude when it does street repairs and upgrades.
"I think would be really great to do the idea of a complete streets policy for the city, like Salt Lake City," he said. "That means they have some standards that every time a street project is under way, it be assessed for bike accommodation as a matter of fact and not just whenever they get around to it."
He'd also like to see the city's sidewalks ordinance updated to clarify who can ride bicycles on sidewalks. At the moment there is no rule, so anyone can ride bicycles on sidewalks.
None of this will happen overnight, though.
"If working with the city has taught me one thing, it is to have patience," he said.
Meanwhile, the work at the collective continues.
The collective's shop, at 2424 Wall Ave., is open Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. It is staffed by volunteers to help anyone who needs help fixing a bike or who wants to use the collective's extensive collection of tools do their own work. It rents shop space at $5 an hour, but nobody is turned away for lack of money.
Jones said volunteers can earn bicycles, and the collective fixes and sells bicycles. In the summer months, the collective takes school kids on bicycle rides using donated mountain bikes.
That's how Chadwell ended up at the collective. His bike was cheap, but it was a mechanical disaster, with bad brakes, wobbly wheels and loose bearings. A roommate told him about the collective, so he was there at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
Jones got his wheel as straight as it was going to get, showed him how to adjust his brakes, tighten up the shifters, replace a bent axle and use an old bicycle inner tube to tie the flashlight Chadwell used for a bicycle light to his front handlebars.
After a couple hours of work, Jones said, Chadwell was ready to roll.