Northeast Community Cycles – A great organization!!

Ron and I had the great opportunity to volunteer at Northeast Community Cycles last night.

In case you’ve never heard of them, this group provides safe, refurbished bicycles free of charge to underprivileged children and adults in Fairfield County, CT.  Since they started operating, they’ve given out over 3,000 bikes!!!

They have a huge workshop in Glenbrook with “the most ultimate set of tools.” They get donations from all over Fairfield County and a talented bunch of volunteers fix them up and give them away.

I felt kind of weird walking in there, in the sense that I am certainly no expert bike mechanic like Ron. But I do know some things and, after getting advice from Ron and the crew there, I was able to get a bike all ready for donation.  I hope to up my game next week.

If I can help, so can you! If anyone wants to join us next Thursday night, contact me here.

It was really crazy. I didn’t know these guys existed until last Sunday. Ron and I were scouting out new places for the Makerspace and we saw their sign. We just had to give them a call.

 

 

New, More-Affordable Robot Kit

We’ve been doing some thinking over here and we’ve decided that the parts we’ve been using for our robot are too expensive!

The price tag for the parts we’ve been using has been upwards of $60. This is just way too much money for kids in whole swaths of Stamford and Norwalk.

To address this, I’ve researched using different parts and now our new price tag is just $29!!! This new kit will offer the same exact functionality as the old one but at less than half the cost.

BTW, we will be offering robot classes this Summer.  More details to follow…

Our very own Bluetooth Robot Control App in Google Play

We’ve created our very own App in Google Play that enables users to control their robots (or many other things) with their smartphones.

This app will be the one we use in future robot camps and classes. We’ll give a line-by-line explanation of how the code in this app works – and, more importantly, how it interacts with Arduino code (https://github.com/RippowamLabs/BTrobotController).

You can get the app here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.RippowamLabs.RipLabsBTforRobots&hl=en

This is Version 1.0 and we’ve already thought of ways to improve it. Let me know what you think.

The Two Wheels Foundation in Norwalk Rocks!!!!

image1 Ron Morse and I had the privilege of taking part in First Annual Bike Build help by the Two Wheels Foundation in Norwalk on Sunday at the South Norwalk Community Center.

twohectorsThe group got donations from all over Norwalk, collecting enough to purchase 40 new bikes. The group of about 75 people put them together in just a couple of hours and, at the end, kids from the church across the street filed into the community center’s gymnasium and were able to choose a bike of their very own.

I had heard of these guys before through my wife. Besides building bikes for kids, they also hold regular coat and clothing drives.

In some ways, it was the same as some charity events. There was a DJ blasting cool tunes, a full spread of food and this bartender who made the most incredible drinks (I had this incredible Bloody Mary – like nothing I’ve ever had before). But I had to say that this was better than any charity auction I’ve ever attended. Instead of sitting around ans swilling drinks, I worked on something  that would actually benefit somebody.

bikebuild1

The guys who run this group are really phenomenal. How many people do this kind of thing? I was really impressed – and I hope you are too.

I want to thank the Bike Doctor Ron Morse for helping out. If anyone had any questions, they filed over to Ron’s work area to get answers. I was stuck with one brake line and Ron sorted it out pronto.

 

Prep your garden for Winter

gardenreadyforwinterYou may be through with harvesting from your garden – but there is one more thing you need to do before the snow flies. Make sure you prepare your garden soil, so you’ll be all set in the Spring. An expert from a local garden center will be on hand to answer all of your questions.  We’ll meet Thursday December 1st at 6:30 pm. *Location TBA. Contact us for more info.

Small Engines – Get your Snowblower ready for the Winter

snowblower

It’s that time of year to prepare your snowblower for the season ahead. Chances are, you haven’t fired it up all summer … and it didn’t get much use last year. If you didn’t put any fuel stabilizer in your tank, you might have a varnished carburator – and your machine simply won’t turn over.

We’ll have small engines experts on hand to examine your machine. They’re ready to pass along all the tips and tricks they’ve learned over a lifetime of servicing small engines. (BTW, they will appreciate any donation of beer and/or donuts that you might bring ;). So bring your machine and come on down to Stamford on Wednesday November 30th at 6:30 pm.

*Time and location to be announced. Contact us for further details.

 

Rippowam Labs Donates Wheelchair to Senegal Hospital

barawheelchairThe wheelchair seen at countless Rippowam Labs events is being sent to a hospital in Senegal.

We had tried to donate to a worthy charity locally, but we were told that it “wasn’t up to code” and, therefore, didn’t comply with their rules on giving mobility devices to  clients.

But our friend, Bara, knew that a hospital in his hometown could make great use of it.

He picked it up Saturday (it fit perfectly in his back seat) and will bring it to New Haven next week for shipment.

“In our country, we don’t have stuff like this lying around. This will work just fine for people who can’t walk,” he said.

We had so much fun with the wheelchair and its sad to see it go.  But hopefully it can be of use to someone.

The kids at Custer Street had a GREAT time with the Yankees Rugby Champions

IMG_20160721_185111175_HDRI don’t when I was more proud of the Fairfield Yankees. Was it the day they won the National Championship? Or was it last night at the Custer St. housing project in Stamford? AJ O’Mahoney, Carl Rohde, Christian Arciuolo, Matt Leonard and Matt Parry took time out of their busy schedules to come down and introduce kids to the greatest sport in the world. These fine young men – and the entire world – should know that them showing up with their National Championship medals was a HUGE deal to these kids. The kids loved it!!! At one point, Matt Parry and AJ each had three kids climbing all over them. I wish I got a picture of the time when all the kids tried to tackle Christian. “Did you see that? All of us couldn’t take down that big guy with the beard.” one kid said said to his friend as he ran home after the event.
The kids will be talking about this one for quite some time.
Here are some pictures I have – but there will be more coming.IMG_20160721_175410252 IMG_20160721_175427613

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