Not Hot Air / Campus Bike Repair!

It rhymes…I did that on purpose. So as you may or may not have guessed this week I will be sharing with you some information about an amazing resource for students on two (non-motorized) wheels.

My story begins on a brisk fall day. I had just finished my classes for the day and was about to bike home when I noticed the front tire on my bike was sheared. The inner tube was busting out of it, like a parasitic moth from its host caterpillar. I stood and stared at it for at least a minute. This is actually a long time to stare at something…try it, it’s not easy. While I was staring at my tire I was also experiencing a small panic attack. What followed the staring and the panic attack was a fifteen minute interval of sitting on a nearby curb trying to figure out what I was going to do. I consider myself a cyclist but I am not the kind of cyclist who has one of those mini air pumps and spare tube with them at all times. I don’t wear cycling clothes and instead of those leg bands, I shove my pant cuffs into my socks. My bike is functional like a mule. She doesn’t go fast but she’s sturdy and her basket can support my back pack fully loaded with 3 hardcover textbooks and my laptop.

So there I was with my rusty circa 1968 bike and a flat tire? My bike shop, that I was fiercely loyal to, was a fifteen minute ride off campus. It was the only place, where I trusted my geriatric bike would not be ruined with over tuning. Yet, the conundrum I was in called for a walk-in Clinic for my bike. In the bowels of my subconscious I knew I had read somewhere, something about a bike repair place on campus. So, I found a curb to rest my stressed out body on and I began to attempt an intensive memory recall of campus information. Then it came to me. I had been perusing a campus newspaper earlier in the week. Within its pages was the information for the bike place. The only problem was that I didn’t have the paper with me and I could not remember the name or location of said bike place. Being the tech savvy person that I am (hardly), I googled “bike repair u of t” on my smart phone and low and behold, “Bikechain” appeared on the screen. I quickly read through their website and “Bikechain” fit the bill…cheap and close by. Once I had the details, I pushed my dilapidated bike to their location; I was promptly served and was on my way home with a new tire in no time.

There was just one catch…in their words...“Labour is Always Free! (Because you’re supposed to be doing it…)”. “Bikechain” isn’t like other bike shops because you get to fix your own bike. They have all the parts you need (which are priced very competitively and in most cases far cheaper than other bike shops I’ve been to). So you just purchase your parts and then go to work in their well equipped repair area. There is always someone there to help, if you have no idea how to change a flat or put your chain back on. The fix it yourself motto at “Bikechain” gives you the chance to learn how to maintain your bike and as an added bonus, it saves you money! This is a great, friendly campus spot. They even have a nifty wheel ramp to get your bike down the flight of stairs and into the basement. If you bike on or to campus, you should know about “Bikechain”. They are located on St. George across from the Bahen Centre in the basement of the International Student Centre (ISC). Their hours of operation and other information is on their website

That bad fall day turned out to be a great one because I found a really useful resource on campus. “Bikechain” has become my go-to shop for all my bike parts and accessories. I am even thinking of installing a ramp like theirs on my front porch!

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