Mac's Basement Lairs – Mac Bike (1 of 3)

By Kate Keleher

Location: Basement of GDD dorm
Hours: Thursday 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.It is 6:30 on a Thursday night and you’re walking in the blue Minnesota darkness down Grand Ave, accompanied only by your rusty, trusty bike. You are on a mission to eliminate that squeak. Once a fine and noble chariot, your bike is weathered after its long season of hibernation. You are traveling tonight to a not-so-distant lair where the weary bikes of Macalester go to be revived: the Mac Bike open shop in the basement of GDD.

You arrive at the dimly lit door and heave it open with great effort. An eerie florescent green light floods out, and you squint. Tribal music, metallic clanging and abrasive whirring sounds echo up the hollow stairwell. You descend, your bike clattering along beside you.

You arrive at your destination feeling uneasy after your slightly spooky journey. Your imagination paints pictures of cavemen cannibals sitting atop piles of amputated limbs. This, of course, is not the case. Only the bike parts are dismembered in the open shop. You are greeted by a cast of interesting characters, working on repairs and projects. Dennis, the ancient yet eternally young wizard of MacBike, eats chili from an old yogurt container and dispenses tokens of biking wisdom. Occasionally, a few veteran MacBikers look up from their work reverently as they sense the benevolent ghost of the recently departed (i.e. to study abroad. . . not to the after life!) Ainsley. Luke the knight knows how to save any bike in distress and rallies members in planning group outings.

While the cave paintings and thick dust film might suggest otherwise, MacBike’s Open Shop has not always been in the basement of GDD. Last semester, the club operated out of a closet in the MacWeekly office, and at the end of this semester MacBike will need to move again so the GDD basement can be used for storage. Possible future locations? There’s been talk of a new shop in the basement of Doty, but that remains uncertain. Yet while the shop’s location is ephemeral, the institution itself is ancient. MacBike has been an especially active force on campus since 2002, and originated well before that.

The MacBike cave dwelling is both a shop and a meeting space. On Thursday nights, open shop runs from 6pm to 8pm and is followed by a meeting during which members plan adventures into the jungle of Minnesota and other bike related shenanigans. Upcoming events include an outdoors open shop this Friday at 1 pm outside the campus center, a bike camping trip to William O’Brien State Park (hypothetically departing April 11th and returning the 12th), and a picnic ride to mounds park on April 17th. Open shop, meetings, and events are open to all!