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Getting in Gear: the Mile-End Bicycle Garage

Posted by Sasha / June 1, 2008

Mile-End Bicycle Garage, by On Two WheelsWhen the back wheel of my bicycle started to wobble, I ignored it. Like a favourite shirt whose smell you only notice halfway out the door, I was always in too much of a rush to take care of it. Not that I would know how to fix it: when it started to leak air, my only strategy was to keep up by adding more air. Needless to say, it was a good thing I read Kelly Ebbel's post on the Gazette's bicycle blog, which pointed me in the direction of the Mile-End Bicycle Garage.

Jeff working at the Mile-End Bicycle GarageLocated in the alley between Clark and Saint-Urbain, just south of Saint-Viateur, I easily found the small garage filled with bike tools and used parts. It wasn't hard, thanks to the "velorutionary" graffiti on the wall and the bicycle flag flying proudly above. For a 5$ monthly membership fee, I was able to use the equipment and benefit from the experience and guidance of the friendly volunteers. I found the volunteer team, made up of Gerry, Jeff, Ithamar and Riley, to be very friendly and eager to teach me how to diagnose and fix my bicycle.

The guys showed me how to safely take off the tire and tube, and then how to adjust the spokes to get the wheel turning straight — or "in true", as they said. This made all the difference. But when I had the wheel back on and thought I was done, I found a big hole in the tire... Fortunately, Jeff sold me an almost-new one for $5. Like much of the equipment and parts at the garage, it had been a donation from a fellow bicycle enthusiast. Jeff told me that in addition to helping people understand their bikes and how to fix them, the garage has a mission to to promote bike recycling. In fact, as we worked several neighbours came by to check up on their bikes, have a chat and drop off donations.

With its focus on teaching and its welcoming attitude, the Mile-End Bicycle Garage is a great place to feel empowered on your bike. While there I was able to show another customer how to safely remove her tube, as I had just been taught. And when I was done, I rode away with the freeing feeling of riding on wheels that I had fixed myself.

The garage has been open since April, and its hours are 6-9pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. Volunteer Gerry writes a blog on home bicycle maintenance at www.howtofixbikes.blogspot.com.

Photo from On Two Wheels

Discussion

14 Comments

Sarah / June 1, 2008 at 11:10 pm
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Great article and very informative.

Too bad their opening hours aren't longer.
Paul Price / June 3, 2008 at 04:49 am
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Fixing bikes and burning police cars i guess montreal beats toronto in all those hoolignism www.whatsinthebriefcase.com
Colin / August 7, 2008 at 07:39 pm
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Wow - I have been looking for a place to watch, learn and build my own bike. Seeing this picture of my friend Jeff has sold me for sure dudes..I just need one more piece of information. whats the phone number for the Mile End shop??

thanks
C
Colin / August 7, 2008 at 07:39 pm
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Wow - I have been looking for a place to watch, learn and build my own bike. Seeing this picture of my friend Jeff has sold me for sure dudes..I just need one more piece of information. whats the phone number for the Mile End shop??

thanks
C
smd / September 9, 2008 at 06:14 pm
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No phone number, but you can check out www.bikegarage.org for more contact info.
Gerry / September 18, 2008 at 10:45 pm
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Check out our Mile End Bike Garage group on Facebook.
Gerry / September 18, 2008 at 10:45 pm
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Check out our Mile End Bike Garage group on Facebook.
source / August 10, 2018 at 01:33 pm
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