By Jessica Nguyen
What is the HUB?
The HUB, or Helping Urban Bicyclists, provides FREE services for those who need assistance with bike repairs and maintenance. Operated by Deacon Steve, a well-known and respected leader in the Downtown Stockton community, the HUB is a reflection of his relentless love and compassion for members of the Downtown Stockton community.
Why was the HUB created?
Prior to the existence of the HUB, Deacon Steve worked for years repairing and maintaining bicycles. He noticed that people who couldn’t afford bike parts or repairs were turned away. Out on the streets, he knew there were individuals who had squeaky, derelict bikes as their sole means of transportation. Some resorted to theft as a result of lacking funds to spend towards repairs. Deacon Steve felt inspired to help, stating “we needed to be compassionate.” He decided to create a place where people could receive free bicycle assistance, providing them with the ability to continue traveling to their jobs, doctor’s appointments, and community activities. For those who can’t afford cars, Deacon Steve knows that bikes can serve as vessels to increased mobility, independence, and self-improvement.
Bikes & Blessings
The HUB is a neighbor to the Saint John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, where Deacon Steve serves as (you guessed it!) Deacon. It isn’t surprising then, to learn that the church and the HUB both resonate similar values. In fact, the HUB’s sign depicts the gears of a bicycle around the flag of the church, representing their close tie. But don’t worry- the HUB welcomes anyone and everyone – regardless of religious background. The HUB’s main purpose may be to repair bikes, but people find their way in for various reasons. Inside the HUB, weary bicyclists can find light refreshments (including freshly popped popcorn!), water, and a space to find a moment of peace. Often, individuals will come by to seek guidance from Deacon Steve, or to have a talk with him about spiritual matters while he tinkers away.
Why is Downtown Stockton a Great Location for the HUB?
Deacon Steve believes the HUB’s location allows it (as well as the church) to “stretch their hands of love and compassion to reach people” – and that’s exactly what it does. The HUB’s services are entirely free, as the business relies completely on donations and community partnerships to help others. Since its inception, they’ve assisted countless under-employed and homeless Downtown individuals with their transportation needs. Along with Deacon Steve’s visible love of and devotion to his work at the HUB, he also feels strongly about Stockton as a city. In regards to the stereotypes that often shroud the Downtown Stockton area, he asserts that it is “a myth we need to change- [Downtown Stockton] is not a place to be feared, but a place to be celebrated.” In the 20 years that he’s been here, he’s witnessed the continued revitalization of Downtown Stockton as housing, new restaurants, and small businesses have made Downtown Stockton their home.
The HUB & Full Moon Riders
The HUB is very collaborative and involved with community events, and will even be leading an upcoming Full Moon Riders bike ride. Deacon Steve enjoys this event because, “everyone participates, and that’s the beauty of the Full Moon Riders.” At the July 27th ride, there will be a bicycle blessing with oils blessed by the bishop. There will also be T-shirts for sale, adorned with an image of Madonna del Ghisallo, the Saint of Cycling. All proceeds will go to the HUB in their continued mission to serve the community.
To learn more about the HUB and their events, follow their Facebook page.