Story and Photos by Shannon Graham

April 7, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – For people whose bike is their primary transportation, “Recyclistas Bike Shop” is a godsend.

When something breaks and they don’t have the tools on hand to fix it, nor the money to take it to a shop, they bring it Recyclistas to use community tools and do it themselves. It can mean the difference between getting fired because of a flat tire, and getting paid.

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As time goes by, more and more shop fixtures are replaced with functional bike art – Photo by Shannon Graham

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Owner Ryan Harris and his latest art projectPhoto by Shannon Graham

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Mechanic Lee teaches bike repair classes a couple days a week – Photo by Shannon Graham

For those who have more room for leisure in their lives, it’s a great place to be. With a convenient location under the switch bridge (near Uptown and just off the Goose), Recyclistas is the perfect mid-ride break stop, the pack can rest on the couches outside, pump tires, fill their water bottles, and chat with the friendly staff.

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Shiny new parts ready to be fitted – Photo by Shannon Graham

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Goose travellers are invited to stop and fill their tires and their water bottles – Photo by Shannon Graham

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Ryan Harris can only trackstand on a fixie – Photo by Shannon Graham

But the real goal of the Recyclistas is to allow owner Ryan Harris a chance to spend all his time making art. The bike shop is a happy byproduct. As a result, the place is filled with bannisters of welded forks, window coverings made of chopped up wheels, a toilet roll holder that used be a quick-release skewer, and a thousand other details that you don’t notice until you’ve been hanging around for a while.

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Salvage parts,  pick through them to your heart’s content – Photo by Shannon Graham

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More salvage parts, a great selection of chain wheelsPhoto by Shannon Graham

Mechanics Steve Bain and Lee Bly both started as volunteers – they’re now well-paid staff who teach classes on Thursday and Saturday afternoons. Kids and adventurous adults can repair or upgrade their own bikes with shop tools and have the benefit of the mechanics’ help.

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Mechanic Steve Bain repairs flat tire – Photo by Shannon Graham

In fact, quite a few Victoria mechanics have gotten their start as volunteers, stripping bikes at the shop, soon graduating to wheel builds and full bike builds. It’s a neat way to sidestep the ancient problem – “They won’t hire me without experience, but I can’t get experience until they hire me!”

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The shop is just off the Goose, under the switch bridge – Photo by Shannon Graham

Come down to the shop and see for yourself, Tuesday to Saturday from 10-6. Call (250)-418-8867 to ask about classes. Make sure you think twice before throwing out the old bikes in your back shed – Recyclistas is always happy to accept donations.

Contact by phone: 250 418 8867