Our seventh group of apprentices are finishing up their five-month stay here at CAT. Noah, Dexter and Dax are just about done with their Long Hauls and a great new fork jig for the Human Powered Network. They are very excited by their first Mobile School presentation the other day. Not sure who likes them more- the kids or adult participants.
It is a pleasure being with these folks- Dax with his level head, Dex with his stories and Noah and his drawings. Not to mention the CSB.
“My time at Cat has been one of tremendous affirmation and growth. The daily activities ranging from building a prototype bike, harvesting organic produce from the community garden, or discussing the implications of open source design, converge into a constantly perspective widening experience. CAT provided me with the opportunity to see idealism at work, and participate in the process. The physical and cerebral resources offered here ensured not only competency with tools and machines, but critical thinking and decision making as well. It would be hard to walk away from this program “just a fabricator”, rather through the diverse practices at CAT, a holistic education in self-sufficiency and sustainability arises. I find myself feeling as if I’ve learned a whole new language during my stay; confounding at times, always enlightening, and a whole lot of work, yet in the end gratifying in more ways than I can count. Thank you CAT, I look forward to making not only bicycles, but a positive impact in the world around me, and I hope to pass these lessons and awareness’s on for generations to come!”
” I arrived at CAT armed only with a firm suspicion that cargo bicycles will save the world. I felt I vaguely understood why they could (something to do with fossil fuels and ass-fat) but could barely picture how they would begin to do so. I leave CAT with the mechanical proficiency needed, hard-won over five months time, to build cargo frames from scratch. Over those months I’ve come to learn that structural soundness, while absolutely essential, is still the least important quality when producing bicycles capable of brightening our collective experience. How and why we produce these bikes is critical—it is the act of producing bikes in the context of an educational and community-building experience harnesses the full, transformative power of these machines. Even if it were possible to simply download the requisite skills for frame fabrication direct to my brain, I doubt I could ever prove myself as useful to my fellow men and women as I now feel poised to do because I’ve lived this apprenticeship at CAT. Being here has shown me first-hand, over and over again how the bicycle empowers individuals and builds communities. It is these lessons, reinforced by the daily goings-on of a unique space like the CAT, that helped me most in fully envisioning how my contribution to cargo bikes will contribute best to my community. My greatest hope is to continue cooperating with the builders I’ve met here to produce bicycles in a manner that transports entire communities in the direction of greater happiness as joyfully as these bikes transport goods across town.”
“I came in to this Apprenticeship without any manufacturing experience but thinking that I could walk out having the necessary skills to build bikes back home. Not only have I learned those skills needed, I have so much more! On a daily basis we were pushed to do more, to learn more, and to become more. Philosophical debates, gardening skills, sewing, Computer Aided Drafting, working for and with-in community… The things that have been learned that were not on our course list continue to topple my expectations. The incredibly knowledgable mentors hand-down the necessary skills to make the quality products your business requires and your clientele demand. Most importantly an environment that has all the tools needed to get the job done, instilling in you; self-reliance and confidence with all the support of a twenty year old business. I came in thinking one way, and I leave with so many more ideas that I can implement in my community back home for a better way of living.”