Saturday, July 13, 2013

Do-it-yourself bike repair in Los Angeles

Do it yourself (DIY) bike shops is a concept with growing popularity, and there are a couple of great locations to check out in the LA area.

You might be asking, what is a DIY shop? Well, it is a workshop that usually consists of some bike repair stands, tools, old and new spare parts, and volunteers to help you along with whatever job is at hand.

Which may then lead to question number two: why would I want to use a DIY shop? People come in for lots of different reasons, such as:

  • It's cheap. Most places ask for donations based on how long you are using the tools and floorspace, roughly in the range of $7 per hour. Plus, there is a huge advantage in not having to collect all the required tools yourself. Bike stands, wrenches, grease, and many other odds and ends are necessary for many repairs, and for most people it doesn't make sense to buy it just for the occasional job.
  • You can learn new skills. Whether is changing a tire or building up a new frame from the ground up, DIY shops are a great place to learn the necessary skills. It also makes you more confident about how your bike works and more capable to make small fixes at home and on the road independently.
  • Meet new people. DIY shops can be a great way to meet other like-minded cycling folks in your area. These places generally don't take themselves too seriously and can be a humorous bunch.
  • It can be quicker. Depending on the workload in your normal bike shop, you might have to wait many hours or days to get your bike back while it waits in the queue for repair. (One word of caution of this one. Sometimes a seemingly simple job at the DIY shop can spiral out of control if you make a mistakes, can't find the right replacement part, or realize that there are a lot more things that need fixing on your rig. This has definitely happened to me, and what I thought would be a quick job required a second visit the next day to wrap things up.)

So, what are the options in LA? Here you go:

Bicycle Kitchen - http://www.bicyclekitchen.com/
4429 Fountain Ave, LA CA 90029

Bikerowave -  http://bikerowave.org
12255 Venice Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90066

Bike Oven - http://bikeoven.com/
3706 N. Figueroa Street Los Angeles, CA 90065

14416 Victory Blvd. Suite #104 Van Nuys, CA

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