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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Mr. Fix It

In today’s technologically “super” world, selfless people like Aaron Swink are becoming increasingly difficult to come across. Swink, however, makes himself readily available to anyone in need of assistance at no cost.
Every Friday afternoon in Academic Plaza, Swink will fix anyone’s bicycle for free. It is a service he has been providing the entire semester, and any student is free to take part.
“I was like, ‘Why not?’ I see these people riding by with really terrible, rusty bikes and the chains are grinding around, and I love fixing bikes. I used to race and ride mountain bikes in high school,” said Swink, a senior bioenvironmental science major.
Swink’s operation is relatively straightforward: he sits outside in the shade in front of Academic Plaza wearing a “Free Bike Repair” shirt. He carries all the tools he needs with him in his backpack. He sits down, smiles, has friendly conversations with fellow Aggies and waits for students to take him up on his free services.
“I like to show people how to fix them, too,” Swink said. “Bikes are fairly simple machines and most of the adjustments I make are relatively easy. I think they’re fun to fix. Everything is simple to get to, and you don’t need that many tools.”
Swink said he fixes just about everything from bent handlebars and wheels, rusty chains that need adjustment, and brakes that don’t work to loose seats.
“The most common is a bent wheel, and it can be fixed really easily by adjusting the tension on the spokes with a spoke wrench that can be bought for just a few dollars at a bike shop,” Swink said. “I can fix pretty much anything other than the rebuilding of bearings or something major like that.”
Swink said he provides the Friday service out of the goodness of his heart, and will not accept payment for his work unless someone is thoughtful enough to bring him snacks or a cold drink.
Andy Stewart, a senior biomedical engineering major, had his bike repaired by Swink for the first time.
“There’s no harm in just having him take a look at it, even if things are as easy as squeaking brakes. Those can be really annoying, so you can at least have him take a look at it. Plus, he’s a friendly, approachable guy. He loves people,” Stewart said.
Swink will repair a bike no matter what condition it comes to him in. He repaired sophomore psychology major Jessi Noelke’s bike after she had recovered it from being stolen.
“My bike was stolen at the MSC and I found it at G. Rollie White, and the person who stole it had been really rough with it,” Noelke said. “Aaron fixed it back to the way it wa,s and it was like a $400 bike, too…It was like a dream bike afterwards.”
Swink said the free bike repair is an outward display that was inspired by his religious beliefs.
“He loves Jesus – he’s all about laying his life down for other people and I think that’s a significant part of his life,” Stewart said.
Swink’s philosophy is anyone can utilize talents to benefit others.
“If people just did things that they like to do, but if they did it for other people, I think it’s really cool. It helps out the people that you do the good deed for, and it’s how God wants us to live. It’s like a little piece of the kingdom,” Swink said.
The free bike repairs will likely cease after Swink graduates, unless he can find a predecessor.
“I’m graduating in December, so I’m trying to find an apprentice or someone to take my place when I graduate.” Swink said.
Even if your bicycle is in great condition, feel free to ride over to the front of Academic Plaza every Friday afternoon and have Swink give your bicycle a check-up.
“It’s really fun. Friday afternoons in front of the Academic Plaza are kind-of a party,” Swink said. “Friday afternoon in front of the Academic Plaza is the place to be.”
Swink hopes his selfless service to fellow Aggies will inspire others to get creative in giving back to the Aggie community.

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