After almost two years of staring outside the bus window and at the bike friendly city, I took the plunge and bought a bike off the ever dodgy craigslist.
Because it was cheap and one of two bikes which fit my minuscule height, it needed a few repairs. I also broke the inner tubing (didn’t know the force of my own strength).
The University of British Columbia (UBC) has this a bike co-op affectionately dubbed ‘the bike kitchen’. Students, professors, and staff can come here and rent, buy and repair bikes. They have all the tools you can borrow and bike doctors to help you out. It’s surprisingly cheap. (CAD$2.25 to use tools)
I haven’t owned a bike since I was 10. And there’s that tragically funny incident where I somersaulted off my cousin’s bike and into a ‘longkan’ in Klang, Malaysia. So my two wheel experience is non-existent.
I thought my small frame and feminine wiles would mean I could get the guys at the bike kitchen to help me repair my bike… But nosiree… It’s all DIY. They show you the tools, they tell you what to do and off you go.
I have to say its extremely satisfying when you have to fix your bike up yourself. Two inner tubes, two tyres, fenders, gear cable and one sawed seat later, you step back with your hands covered in black grease and you smile. Cos you did it yourself. There’s a sense of ownership. This is no longer a cheap Craigslist buy. It’s my bike. We now have a history, a story.
And it rides beautifully.
NB. My buddy Hua Soo was the muscle today. He helped me out a ton in the bike kitchen. Couldn’t have done it without him. My biceps only take me so far :)