A Bike Shop...and More
Buckskin Bikes is a bike shop, but it is more than just a bike shop. Certainly Buckskin Bikes has bikes for sale. In fact Buckskin sells high end custom bikes worth megabucks, but they also sell what can only be called mongrel bikes – ones put together with pieces and parts from who knows where – for those who just want economical transportation. Also, Buckskin offers repair service – everything from adjustments to the high end bikes to helping a woman who had taken a wheel off her bike but didn't know how to put it on again. Buckskin has this eclectic nature because of the personality of its owner, Ben Orcutt. Ben is a generous soul who is building a fine bike store as well as a supportive community. He has all the tools and skills needed for a custom bike shop and does excellent work for those who prefer to ride rather than work on their bikes. For those who want to do their own work, or cannot afford to have the work done, Ben will teach them how to fix their own bikes. He even lets his “custommunity-members” use his tools. Ben sees bike ownership, bike riding, and bike maintenance as empowering activities for individuals who may have never had complete ownership, control and mastery over anything in their entire lives. Ben's face lights up when he sees one of his “custommunity-members” finally realize that they have achieved something valuable completely on their own, albeit with some gentle encouragement from Ben.
Ben's bike shop journey started when he took a summer-long bike tour through several Midwestern states and found it empowering to be totally self-reliant. From there he build a bike cooperative in conjunction with the Christian Center in Anderson, IN. The Christian Center helps homeless and unemployed men reintegrate into society, and Ben's bike cooperative gave then the skills and self-esteem that many of them lacked and sorely needed. From there, with a newly minted bachelors degree, Ben boot-strapped his way into a full blown bike shop.
Ben says his bike business is doing well, and gives him well-deserved satisfaction. Ben has found a way to “do well” by “doing good”. If only all of us could find that magic combination the world would be a much better place.
Look for Buckskin Bikes in Anderson. You won't find Ben among the big box retailers. He is comfortably tucked into the residential community on west 11th street. You can also find him in cyberspace at Buckskin Bikes
Submitted by: Dick Sprague SI2016 Regional Coordinator, Anderson