Zak’s Bike Project

"Everyone looks and feels better when they’re on a bike, and bikes improves the city for everyone.”

Once a week, Zak Greenwald sets up street stands with tools in the northern Israeli city of Akko and puts together bicycles alongside young people from the city | The bicycles are distributed for free to whoever wants or needs them | He’s not ashamed to gather parts or tools from the trash

ByRaz Rotem03.06.2020, 21:53

Originaly posted on Davar:

When Zak Greenwald, aged 32, was a student at the University of Santa Cruz, he had an expensive bicycle. “It cost around one thousand dollars, and I had it for less than a year. I forgot it at a bus station overnight, and when I came back the next morning only the metal frame was left, everything else was gone. I looked at it and sighed. I got onto the bus and sat there with the silver frame in my hands. It was a ‘ride of shame.’ I told myself that I didn’t want it to bum me out, I wanted it to empower me."

Zak Greenwald. “It’s not really about the bikes, it’s an attempt to build a community.” (Photo: Raz Rotem)

And it worked. “Instead of buying another expensive bike,” he recalls, “I told myself I that maybe I would try and build one. So I went to a community-run bicycle cooperative that uses the same model we’re trying to build here in Akko. It’s a place you can go and there will be people there who can help you help yourself.”

“There were men and women there, Black people and white people. I went there once or twice a week for about a month. I made mistakes, I cut my finger, it healed, and I build a bicycle. In the end I felt so much more connected to the bike I built than I had felt to the expensive bike I bought.”

“After I finished my bike, I kept volunteering there. I felt that it was such a good way for people to meet and do something together. It was really nice. Now I’m feeling that all over again, after putting it aside for a number of years.”

“We’ve already handed out around forty bicycles”