The top 5 DIY bike repair shops in Toronto
The top DIY bike repair shops in Toronto are about more than fixing flat tires and tightening headsets. These are community hubs that encourage cycling culture, keep bikes out of landfill, and empower people by demystifying the repair process. These shops are staffed by experienced mechanics (many of whom are volunteers) who are happy to walk novices through the various facets of bike maintenance.
Here are my picks for the top DIY bike repair shops in Toronto.
This non-profit co-op in Parkdale has built a tight-knit community of cycling advocates and volunteers. While the shop offers space for DIY bike repair, the best part is that the volunteers on hand will help walk visitors through the repair and build process when needed. There's also a kitchen and garden used to feed volunteers as well as the community at large. Parts are cheap and stand "rental" is donation-based (but please don't cheap out).
Community Bicycle Network
Around for over 20 years, the CBN has been offering space for DIY bike maintenance longer than anyone else on this list. That pays off when it comes to hunting for hard to find parts for vintage bikes. You can rent a stand for $12 an hour to work on your own or pay $18 per hour for supervised tinkering (recommended). The CBN will also do repairs for you, but the cost obviously skyrockets. The CBN is also a good spot to check out if you're in the market for a used bike.
Located in East Chinatown, Bike Sauce is another not for profit volunteer-based DIY repair shop and community hub. The supervised shop area is a great place to learn the basics of bike maintenance and chat cycling or local politics. There's even an extensive reference library with titles that range from the bike-specific to those on the history of Toronto. Used bikes are also offered for sale.
Recently joined by Sweet Pete's at the Brick Works, this is a great place to tune up your bike mid-ride. If you hear a squeak out on the Don Valley trails, head over here and apply some lube. Ditto if you're breaks seem a bit loose. While only open on the weekends, the shop is always buzzing with the swell of folks who stop by the Brick Works.
A go-to spot for University of Toronto students (who can use all the services for free), this DIY repair shop and bike lending hub is also open to the general public on a PWYC basis. The big space in the North Borden Building is stocked with all manner of tools and bike parts, as well as lender bikes for students. Bikechain regularly hosts public workshops and other events. It's best to book an appointment if you're heading in to do repairs.
Photo from the CBN's website