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The many volunteer mechanics can help with any project. Beyond the normal maintenance help there is a good contingent who can direct people in doing something truly awesome. Want to learn to lace and true wheels? No problem. How to repack your bearings? No sweat. Get those bloody rubber grips off? Easy! There is a resident mechanic who is an expert in single speed and fixed conversions, not to mention loosening stiff nipples by lighting them on fire! Experienced cyclists will agree that one of the best ways to learn how to maintain your ride is to take one apart. If you’re nervous about doing that to your own machine, there are plenty of donor bikes that need to be stripped and they provide valuable experience and knowledge about how yours works. One young woman I met there was doing just that, she was so pleased to be able to practice on a bicycle while helping the shop she was learning from strip the parts off. Additionally, it relieved the pressure of having to get her own bike back into a ride able state that afternoon. I met her several times over the summer, and by the end she was truing wheels and repacking bearings.

At the rear of the shop, under the loft balcony that houses the microwave, computer and extremely necessary coffee machine, is a parts room filled with the scavenged remains of scuttled bikes. Where else can you get those replacements for cheap? I even found a pair of blue Cateye toe clips! Not only are there a plethora of patinaed parts, they are well organized in bins for easy searches to complete that restoration or custom machine. Off to the side of the loft balcony is a show room. In following with its goal of increasing the accessibility of cycling, the no frills space contains bikes rebuilt by the volunteers for sale at extremely reasonable, even perhaps unreasonably low, prices.

More than just a nuts and bolts operation, BikeWorks runs several events and training sessions. It hosts CanBike educational courses for new cyclists, and advanced courses to become a CanBike instructor. There are mechanic nights, where a small group of people takes classes in basic mechanical skills. Though you can always get help at BikeWorks, this enables a directed tutoring with far more mechanic-to-learner interaction. For our frightfully frozen

Misfit Psycles