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Project 007: Radgeber Repair

Ever since we read Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance we've had serious respect for mechanical know-how. For Project 007,...

Ever since we read Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance we've had serious respect for mechanical know-how. For Project 007, Brad Steiner introduces us to a bike shop in Leipzig, Germany, that gives people the tools to practice the art of bike building and repair. We'll let him explain:

"Die Radgeber ('bike provider,' a wordplay on the German word for advisor - 'Ratgeber') is a bicycle repair shop in Leipzig, Germany where the customers repair their own bikes. With free use of the tools, customers only pay for the replacement parts that they may need. Founded earlier this year, the idea is to provide an inexpensive solution for students who predominately rely on bicycles to get around the city. Only an hour south of Berlin in the former East German state of Saxony, there is a wide market for used bikes, especially East German brands from the 1970s and 80s such as MIFA and Diamant.Nikita, the man behind the counter from 2 to 6 each day, has been with the shop since it opened. As a full-time student at the Academy for Visual Arts Leipzig (HGB), he has also produced some schematic diagrams and a wall-sized painting to illustrate different parts and how they fit together. He's found it useful not only for those unaccustomed to repairing their own bike, but also the large number of foreign students who are unfamiliar with the German terminology.The Marx quote in the last picture: "We have nothing to lose except our chains." Incidentally, the first volume of Marx's seminal work 'Das Kapital' was first published across the street from Die Radgeber."