There’s no doubt that Victoria is a bike town – we’re regularly named one of the country’s top cycling cities, after all – but what happens when your wheels don’t roll as well as they should?
For many enthusiasts, it’s time for Recyclistas!
Inspired by an Arizona shop, the Recyclistas team gave it their own Victoria twist in 2003, incorporating features like community access to the shop.
Boasting an ideal Crease Avenue location at the junction of the Lochside and Galloping Goose trails, Recyclistas is a full-service bicycle repair shop, recycling depot and educational work space, with a great selection of new and used parts, accessories and used bikes for sale. While they don’t buy bikes, they gladly receive donations of bikes and parts to refurbish.
Working with the community, the team finds innovative ways to maximize its triple bottom line of people, planet and profit, including working with a variety of local groups who pay it forward to those in need of bicycles.
“It’s grown exponentially since we started, and It’s not just about making money, there are other things at play,” explains owner and co-founder Ryan Harris.
A big part of that – and something that makes them a little unique – is their commitment to teaching others to maintain and repair their own gear.
“I think people like giving things another life, and not seeing things go into the landfill,” Harris reflects.
1. Find the parts you need to keep your bike up to speed: Recyclistas offers a vast selection of new and refurbished parts to keep your bike as good as new.
2. Learn from the best: If you’d love to learn the DIY of bike maintenance and repair, classes include a three-hour introductory class ($30), in addition to a 30-hour course using the Park Tool curriculum, ideal for aspiring bike mechanics and those wanting more in-depth knowledge. You can also sign up for a volunteer session (Mondays and Tuesdays between 10am and 2pm), then every hour spent volunteering earns you $5 toward used parts or shop time. Any skills you learn are free!
3. Their tools, your talents: No space or tools to work on your wheels? No problem! Get busy on your bike in their revamped downstairs workshop. Drop in for $15 per hour to use Recyclistas’ stands and tools, and tap into the knowledge and experience of the team while you work.
4. Or leave it to them! Prefer to let someone else do the work? “Drop off your bike and let us fix it for you!” Harris says.
5. Get rolling: If it’s time for a new-to-you bike, they can help you with that too – check out their many refurbished bikes for sale for riders of all ages. And if you’re between wheels, visiting or just want to try cycling, Recyclistas’ rental bikes are just $20 per day.
“No two bikes are the same, so I love that I’m always getting challenged,” Harris says of his 16 years at Recyclistas, “and I love all the interesting people we get to work with every day. We really enjoy getting to know everyone.
“And it’s satisfying to take something that was potentially garbage, keep it out of the landfill and maybe change someone’s life.”
Stop by Recyclistas at 25 Crease Ave., visit online at recyclistas.ca and be sure to stay up-to-date on Facebook and Instagram!