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Torontoist – Fix Your Bike, Matey

Torontoist visits Bike Pirates:

  1. Fix Your Bike, Matey

    “We started in a backyard, in a communal living house,” said Geoffrey Bercarich, another longtime volunteer. From that backyard, Bike Pirates moved to a curb, then to a storefront at Bathurst and College streets, where a benefactor, known to members as “the anarchist professor,” let the org stay for two years at below-market rent, before asking them to move on to another location last year .

    Chloé and Geoff spoke to us in the back of Bike Pirates’s new storefront, at 1292 Bloor Street West, across a table in a little makeshift kitchenette that looked like it had been pretty well lived-in. Bike Pirates isn’t exactly a repair shop, see—it’s more of a community. And its members share much more than kitchen space.

    Tools and knowledge, for instance.

    Bike Pirates began as a loosely organized tool-sharing program, where members could dip into a centralized pool of equipment for bicycle repairs. Today, their storefront resembles a fully functional bike shop, but with an important difference: “We won’t service your bike,” said Chloé. “We’ll help you service your bike.”

    In other words, bringing your broken-down beater to the Pirates means taking their tools and their expert guidance and using those things to learn to do it all yourself. They’re the opposite of a full-service, no-sweat repair place, but to the segment of the bicycling public for whom dirty fingernails aren’t a problem, Bike Pirates is cycling Avalon. They don’t make repairs; they make repairpeople.

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