Folks on Bikes Stephanie Kervin

If you don’t have a bike this summer…why? Seriously, why?! If you are young(ish), and downtown(ish), and healthy(ish), what the hell are you doing walking, cabbing or *shudder* TTC-ing around? Not only does riding cut your travel time by a kazillion percent (a tested mathematical fact), enabling you to leave for a 9 am class at 9:05am and still get there at a respectable 9:20am, but it’s also like a giant fuck-you to oil-guzzling SUV-pumping chumps wasting their lives away in rush hour when you weave by uninterrupted. And if you’ve never experienced biking home through deserted side roads at dawn after more drinks than your doctor would advise and heard perfect, blissful silence punctuated only by the hum of your bike and the whistles of birds rousing, you haven’t really lived this city.

Convinced yet? If not, send me a personal email explaining yourself, titled “Why I’m Not a Lunatic.” For the rest, here’s your guide to getting your ride.

So You’re a Broke Bloke?

Bike Chain – Cumberland House at 33 St. George Street: (416) 978-6849

OMG. You guys are about to shit a brick. Want a bike but got no cash to spend? About a minute ago I would have told you the world’s smallest violin was playing for you. But now, now I’m just going to tell you get in line. And not the hypothetical Get-Over-Yourself line. A real-life line, where UofT students can rent bikes for free “to get around campus”. Where some of that mystery ‘Student Fee’ money goes, I guess. You need $100 deposit, but deposit money is like fake money, so you’re all good.

Bikes: Didn’t you hear me?! It’s FREE!!! Cue running into the night screaming. Also, a totally legit selection of cheap parts ‘n’ accessories. But no bikes to buy for real, sorry.

Tune-ups: Supah-dupah cheap.

Check ‘em out: http://bikechain.utoronto.ca/index.php/shop-information (also known as the world’s worst organized website)

Uncle Jacob’s – 355 Spadina Avenue: (416) 340 2715

This, friends, is your China-town dollar-store equivalent of a bike shop. It’s cheap, it’s random and no one’s really sure where any of this shit came from. Probably not China though, since dear Uncle Jacob’s– moral compass alert – is rumored to be is one of the few well-known stores supplying stolen bikes now that Igor the Terrible has gone under. How badly do you want a cheap bike? And since rumors are usually true (at least a little, don’t lie) either don’t shop here, or do at your own moral discretion. Or go and try to piece together the parts of your long-lost stolen rides and then beat them with it.

Bikes: $100-300

Tune-ups: I wouldn’t trust them.

Not Bad, Not Bad

Shannon’s Shop?

Fuck if I know what the store is actually called, but I do know it is nestled between two vintage shops on the east side of Kensington Avenue, and manned by Shannon (dude), a fave amongst me and my crew for any bike-related repairs. Don’t be alarmed by his heroin-chic allure – the hooded stringy hair and obscurely colored lenses (are they blue?!) are just masking a dude that knows a thing or two about bikes, and cares a helluva lot about your safety. Actual conversation – Me: Can you fix this piece of junk so I can walk as little as possible, please? Shannon: I can try, but I will not be able to sleep at night if you keep riding it. Have this sweet Panasonic for $100 instead. Me: Cut your hair and then marry me. Also, actual event – Shannon walking by my house after fixing my bike to inquire about how it’s riding. Peach, I say!

Bikes: $100-300

Tune-ups: $30+parts/accessories (+ free chillin’ on the stoop) Check ‘em out: umm…physically check ‘em out by, like, walking there

Mike the Bike – 5 Oxford Street: (416) 595 5596

You’re not gonna believe this, but his name is…Mike. Gasp, right? Well, as most Mikes I know, he’s a peach. An honest, skilled, down dude – and if you play your cards right, you might get a private invitation to celebrate herb and play pool upstairs (as my bestie did with her sweet farm-girl charm.) Before all that though, come here to get your freakin’ ride sorted.

Bikes: $150-300

Tune-ups: $40+ parts/accessories

Rent: Mike rents them out daily/weekly/monthly, for cheaper than a metro-PASS. And they look pretty damn good too. Check ‘em out: http://www.mikethebike.ca/

Money Bags

Bikes on Wheels – 309 Augusta Avenue: (416) 966 2453 / 779 Queen St. W: (647) 352 6550

Who wants to sign my petition to rename the store Babes on Bikes? Because, honestly, I don’t even know what goes on in there because I’m too busy drooling over the tatted-up grease balls that work there. And it’s not just me; many a female friend has stopped by to browse the goods. They do actually have some bike goods too, I think: an alright selection of parts and accessories and a hell of a lot of nice bikes, if you have money.

Bikes: They sell bikes? Just kidding. They start at $335 and go waaay up.

Tune-up: $60+parts/accessories (+free loin tune-up) Check ‘em out: http://bikesonwheels.ca/

Additional Info

  • Subtitle: Evanna Folkenfolk guides us to the best places to get and fix your sweet ride.
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