Tuning up for the spring thaw

Spring is on its way – hopefully. Halifax cyclists and cycle shops are looking ahead to a busy season of bike repairs.

With winter weather still pummelling the peninsula it seems like spring is far off on the horizon. Despite the unco-operative weather, cycle shops and bike enthusiasts around the city are waiting with anticipation for the first taste of warm weather. In fact, it’s coming up to the time of year where many cyclists start to drop their bikes off at shops in the city for a well needed spring checkup.

Alex McOuat, a bike mechanic at Ideal Bikes on Barrington Street, says the big rush of people coming in to get their bikes repaired is weather dependent.

“As soon as we get a few nice days in a row we see a huge influx of people bringing in their bikes to get tuned up,” he says. “Just when we had a warm day last week I had a few people bring in their bikes to get checked out.”

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Alex McOuat, bike mechanic at Ideal Bikes (Photo by Mitchell Mullen)

The cost of getting a bike tuned up is around $50 at most shops in the city. McOuat says safety isn’t the only reason why people  drop their bikes off.

“It just makes riding your bike so much better, especially on the first ride after a long winter like this one has been,” he says.

With the constant snowfall, slush storms, uncleared sidewalks, roads and bike lanes, there are bikes around the city that have been abandoned to snow banks and left to rust. McOuat says that he’s definitely seen a few come to the workshop while he’s been working.

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Bikes in the workshop at Ideal Bikes. (Photo by Mitchell Mullen)

“We’ve had a few come in that have been left completely for a winter and the person wants it fixed because of a sentimental attachment. For that it’s usually a whole overhaul of the bike, if it’s completely rusted. As long as the frame is OK you can get all the … pieces to put it back together,” he says.

To cyclist and University of King’s College student Ryan Butt, there’s no excuse for having an out-of-order bike by the time better weather rolls around.

“Don’t spare expense,” Butt says. “If your bike needs the repairs just spend the money to get them. It’s worth it.”

Butt is an avid bike enthusiast. Having worked at a bike shop himself, he knows a thing or two about when and where people should be getting their bikes fixed.

“I think it’s important around this time of year for people to keep going to local bike shops like Cyclesmith, Halifax Cycle, Ideal Bikes. They all have friendly, passionate people who really know what they’re doing and are there to help,” he says.

Butt, like the rest of Halifax’s savvy cyclists, is just waiting for that first day of spring.

“I’m really anticipating the good weather,” he says. “It’ll be good to get back out there with a bike I know will work.”