Board, Collective & Staff

Board of Directors


Joel Howrani-Heeres


Sarah Colgrove



Ben Chodoroff


Back Alley Bikes Staff

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Heather teaching the MIT students about chain maintenance.

Heather Nugen – Interim Director


Joe Aasim – Program Leader



The Hub of Detroit Staff



Joey Landis- Customer Service Manager



James Stevenson – Mechanic Manager


The Collective

joeJoe Aasim is one of the more versatile strains of homo sapiens sapiens. He has the mental agility of over-tested lab rats, the brute strength of a shrewdness of silverbacks arranging themselves in a manner that resembles Voltron, and the problem-solving capabilities of a task force subcommittee of the cutest, furriest, mammals that have ever had their brains cored with electrodes and buzzed their way through mazes and puzzles. Sometimes he plays the violin. And he loves yelling.

Likes include, but are not limited: literacy, wordplay, s-wordplay, wreckage, construction, food, and the American South.

Dislikes include, but are limited: The FDA, christopher columbus, orientalism, industrial media, the FDA, and westerns.

JDR Tanner can generally be found; however, he can also specifically lose his place, over and over.

JDR Tanner is a Jack of all trades as his photo suggests.


Joe Michel has super powers.  He takes  children’s toys and hacks them into industrial music making machines.  Currently he is working on a “tractor bike” that puts a Pugsley to shame.  Joe has bent a frame to accommodate an extra large tire that he is making out of inner tube meant for a tractor.  Joe joined the collective in 2011 in hopes of making things weirder around here.
Joe is also known as “Mr. Fishboy” when making industrial music made from hacked instruments.  If you were lucky enough to be at the Feb 2012 benefit concert you got to see him perform.


Not really JamesJames McMullen doesn’t sleep.  James is a native Detroiter but went to live in San Francisco for a while where he helped develop a bunch of maps for what would eventually be the “biking” directions on google.  Upon returning to Detroit James decided to fix everything.  He began to volunteer at Back Alley Bike, but could also be found building the Mount Elliot Makerspace and getting jiggy with it at OmniCorp Detroit.  Back Alley Bikes was fortunate to claim him as part of the collective in 2011.
You’ll find James adding class to the Cass Corridor riding the “Yuppie Nightmare”, his dutch city bike.

James writes the wonderfully witty “Bikes of the Now” updates for The Hub of Detroit among other things.
James needs to submit a photo for this bio.  Until then, enjoy this picture of crayons.


Olivia Dobbs doesn’t need to be told anything twice.  One of her super powers is being a lightning fast fencer.  She began to hang out at Back Alley Bikes by volunteering and learning everything about bikes in the Adult Mechanics Class.  Soon she would just walk into volunteer nights and build bikes like it was as natural as breathing.
In 2012 Olivia was one of two instructors that got around 30 youth on bikes at a pilot Earn-a-Bike program in the Osborn Neighborhood in collaboration with the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative.
If asked politely, perhaps she will be convinced to combine her powers of bike mechanics and fencing to become a world champion bike jouster.

Olivia could be called a Jane of all trades if you wanted to add gender equality to popular phrases.  and you do, just so you know.


heatherbioHeather  transplanted herself from the west coast to Detroit a couple of years ago. Since then, she started riding bikes again after an 11 year hiatus. Being inclined to do things herself, she learned everything she needed to know about bikes, and then asked a bunch more questions, and started volunteering last year. She then decided that kids need bikes and decided to help get them some. Heather is working on becoming a 2nd level bike mechanic, which is sort of like being a bike-ranch-hand, but with less stall mucking-out. She likes teaching adults how to work on their bikes, and can often be seen leading a group of  henchmen, I mean, her Mechanics-In-Training down in the retail shop. Heather is the nicest person in the whole bike shop, especially if you give her ice cream.

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