Air Force

November 27, 2013

Best little repair shop in Afghanistan

Tech. Sgt. Juan Sanchezduarte (left) and Senior Airman Mark Zorich (right), both assigned to the 451st Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, pose with some bicycle tires outside Tan Box Bike Repair at Camp Losano, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 11, 2013. Both airmen volunteer their time and resources so service members at KAF can have free bicycle repairs available.

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – There are no web ads, gorilla-suit wearers flipping arrows or even a simple “Open for Business” sign; there is just a makeshift, plywood plaque that describes exactly what it is – “Tan Box Bike Repair.”

For service members at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, with bicycle issues, Tan Box Bike Repair is probably the only, and definitely most-affordable, way to get necessary repairs for bikes that face some extreme riding conditions. The parts and repairs are absolutely free.

Two California natives, Tech. Sgt. Juan Sanchezduarte and Senior Airman Mark Zorich, both assigned to the 451st Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, started the free bicycle repair shop when they saw their fellow airmen had needs, and they had the means to help.

“I have a lot of personal experience working on bikes at home,” said Sanchezduarte, who is deployed from March Air Reserve Base, Calif. “I asked my wife to send me my tools. I was only fixing bikes at the terminal where I work, and I ran out of bikes to fix. That’s when I contacted the first sergeant for more work.”

And that’s when Tan Box Bike Repair was born.

Sanchezduarte and Zorich formed a business venture that isn’t really a business at all. Both airmen work long hours with little down time. Still, they wanted to volunteer to use their bicycle expertise to help others. The distances between quarters, work locations and dining facilities at KAF can be fairly far, and not necessarily walkable in a reasonable timeframe. Many service members ride bikes to make the commutes a little less cumbersome.

“The conditions here aren’t conducive for grease and mechanical parts,” said Zorich, who is deployed from Travis Air Force Base, Calif. “There is also neglect, and the mechanical parts must be maintained properly in this environment.”

Zorich, who said he is a rider, not a mechanic, has been able to gather donated parts from Stateside. Prior to his military career, Zorich raced on the downhill mountain bike circuit. He still has connections with the mountain bike community and even friends who race professionally.

“Ray’s Cycle in Fairfield, Calif., and the [Mountain Bike Review community] have donated $1,200 to $1,300 worth of parts,” said Zorich. “We have $600 to $700 worth of tires alone.”

Tires wear out faster here than most places, according to Sanchezduarte. He said the rubber dry rots and cracks based on the hard conditions of the desert. Tires are the most-common repair needed, but he has seen much worse.

“There’s a bicycle here with missing spokes,” said Sanchezduarte. “I’m not sure how the spokes went missing or how [he] is still riding it. It had loose brackets and a lot of other issues too.”

Based on his mission requirements, Sanchezduarte tries to open Tan Box Bike Repair Sundays from 1-4 p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8-9 a.m. Service members at KAF can contact Sanchezduarte or Zorich to work out a time outside of those hours.

It’s an unlikely venture, in an unlikely place, but at a minimum, Tan Box Bike Repair will be saving a lot of service members’ boot soles at KAF.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Halloween-Safety

Halloween safety tips for 2014

Here are a few safety tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission can protect children who plan to go trick-or-treating this Halloween. Costume Designs: Purchase or make costumes that are light and bright enough to be...
 
 
Leon_Hornecker-John-J_-Pershing

Are Airmen’s ghosts still around?

Portrait of John J. Pershing by French painter Léon Hornecker (1864-1924), oil on canvas, 1903.(This work is in the public domain in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 80 years or less.) (Fourth i...
 
 

Cyber expansions create security considerations

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Technological advances have put the world at the fingertips of anyone with connection to the Internet and during cyber security awareness month, Airmen and their families are reminded to remain vigilant when posting personal information. “You have to assume that everyone is looking at it,” said Col. Mary Hanson, the senior information...
 

 
Exchange-reopen

News Briefs October 24, 2014

March Exchange gets face-lift (U.S. Air Ftorce Photo/Sean Dath) Col. Russell A. Muncy, commander, 452nd Air Mobility Wing, joins employees of the March ARB Exchange for the Grand Re-opening of the store, Oct. 21. The exchange r...
 
 
Tammy_Duckworth,_official_portrait,_113th_Congress

Knowing the facts: National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard in 2004. One of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Fr...
 
 

452nd felt early frost in Cold War

(Ninth in an 11-part series that was first run in the Beacon in 2007) Two weeks after the D-Day invasion, 47 B-17s from the 452nd Bombardment Group and other Army Air Forces units were destroyed by German aircraft at a largely undefended Russian airfield. The attack, which began about 12:30 a.m. June 22, 1944, destroyed...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin