Area bike shops:
Bike Boom. For used bikes, nearby in Davis Square.
Ace Wheelworks, our closest neighbor, right up the street in Porter Square.
Broadway Bicycle School, a bike shop devoted to education, our next-closest neighbor.
Bikes Not Bombs, a truly wonderful organization devoted to empowerment through cycling, located in Jamaica Plain.
Sheldon Brown. The internet’s most famous mechanic, a wealth of practical knowledge.
Park Tool Repair Guides. Park is a manufacturer of bike-specific tools. Their webpage contains documentation and guides to using their tools, as well as more general things like wrapping bar tape.
The Bicycle Tutor. Simple explanations for the DIY mechanic.
HUCA – Harvard University Cycling Association. Join the team! Any age, any experience level- seriously, you don’t have to be fast to ride! The team has both racing and non-racing members, including a dedicated core of friendly and welcoming riders who can offer support and good team vibes to anyone interested in cycling as a sport, competitive or not.
As we wrap up a hectic summer we haven’t been able to schedule any classes. Hopefully we’ll resume regular classes as soon as possible, but in the meantime, feel free to email us expressing interest, and also what you’d like to learn!
General thoughts on older bicycles:
Just like a car, a bicycle is assembled from a group of components. The frame is what holds all these components together and gives the bike its primary qualities. Most frames are made out of durable steel alloys, treated and finished with either special chemicals or coated in industrial pigments to keep off the rust (and, of course, to make it look pretty). Therefore it’s not unusual to see a frame which was hand-made in England in the 1940s still out riding today, as nice as the day it rolled off the factory floor.
Given the durability of bicycle frames, refurbished bikes are the natural answer to the problem of getting people with limited budgets on bikes. When rebuilt with modern components, a thirty year old frame can be indistinguishable from a frame built yesterday. Obviously, this is over-stating the case a little bit, since modern machining processes and alloys have improved the overall quality of frames, but these differences are for bike nerds (like us) to fret about. A quality steel frame from the late 70s or early 80s can be as nimble and light as a steel frame today, and can often be highly valuable collectors items.
That being said, our refurbished bikes are not meant to be prized heirlooms. They are meant to be, above all else, an affordable alternative to a new bike. The advantage of a refurbished bike comes from the economics of the bicycle market: when the cost of the frame is removed from the equation by recycling a frame destined for the scrapyard, the only other costs lie in the components and labor. For this reason we are able to take a reliable old frame, get it in good working order, and sell it for a price which is accessible to our customers. They are often still a bit more expensive than what a big-box store might charge for a new bike, but the difference in price is quickly made up in the inevitable (and sometimes very costly) repairs which the big-box store’s bike will need early in the bike’s lifespan.