In the 90s, when I was living in Los Angeles, I drove an oft broken VW van. After many visits to a great mechanic, he started lending me tools so I could fix things myself (he knew I was broke and felt badly about constantly taking my money). This led to me asking him if I could come in to use his lift on a Sunday - to which he only laughed.
This got me thinking that a garage with a bunch of lifts for rent would probably benefit a few million people in that city, seeing that 80% of them lived in apartments without garages - and no garage typically means no tools. I shared the idea with a few others, and while everyone thought it was cool, none of us had the means to start it up. So I sat on the idea...for 20 years.
I moved back to Cleveland in 2000 and soon bought my first bike, a 1978 CB750K. Seeing as how I cut my teeth on that VW years earlier, I already possessed the confidence to take something apart (as long as I also possessed the manual) and put it back together. I wasn't aware the value of this confidence was until I found most shops wouldn't work on my old bike - not even the Honda dealership. When I finally found a mechanic that would work on it, he soon closed his shop and stole every bike in the place - including mine.
I never forgot about the dream of the community garage, and quickly realized that it's a much better fit for motorcycles. Soon, I started buying tools at garage sales and throwing them into a box. I knew that someday, my dream would no longer be just a dream.
Skidmark Garage finally became a reality in January of 2015. I opened my doors to the public in March and had a killer grand opening party in May. People have come from many miles away with their bikes to use Skidmark's tools, space, and community of knowledge/help to fix their rides. It's not just guys, and it's not just guys living in apartments without garages. It's riders. Skidmark appeals to a wide range of riders: guy, girl, newbie, vet, rich, poor, sober, boozer, smoker, tinkerer, inventor, 20 something, 60 something, black, white. Skidmark has become what I always knew it would - a no-collar community that thrives on helping each other out, getting dirty, jamming tunes, and riding.
I encourage you to stop in. You'll be sold before you've walked ten feet into Skidmark. We're open as late as you need (I prefer to start my work in the evening and work through the night, personally). This place does not attract douchebags, so you don't need to worry about being judged for your lack of experience, lack of knowledge, or your ride.
Everyone needs three places - home and work being the first two. Make Skidmark Garage your third place. Fixing, learning, and helping rounds a man out. Be a well rounded man.
Wrench. Relax. Repeat.