Bicycles are extraordinarily efficient machines and the most efficient self-powered means of transportation - even more efficient than walking! Most repairs are easy, even for people like me that don’t particularly care for repairing hardware, and buying and maintaining a bike does not have to be expensive. I’ve enjoyed adding bicycles to my list of transportation and recreation options, and the process was fairly pain-free with the help of an abundance of online bike repair resources and in-person bike shops. Here are a few of them that I’ve found particularly useful.
Articles by Sheldon Brown … very thorough, no-nonsense articles covering every aspect of bike ownership, maintenance, and repair. In particular, the repair section has been very useful for me. This is probably the most useful repository of bicycle knowledge I’ve found online so far.
Shifting Power - Bike Repair Videos … bike repair videos in English and Spanish.
- Bikes Not Bombs … combination used bike store, bike repair, and coordinator of bike-related social programs in Jamaica Plain, Boston. I bought one of my bikes here in 2017. The prices are very reasonable for Boston, and the staff is knowledgeable and helpful.
- GObike Buffalo … a combination used bike store, bike repair, and local bike advocacy and event planning place. With a $35 yearly membership ($25 for students), you can use their workshop to repair your bike. If you live nearby, this is a pretty good deal since you won’t have to buy your own tools. The “store” isn’t too large, so I would check to see if they have what you need before going.
- Campus Wheelworks … another bike shop and bike advocacy group. This one’s in a convenient location if you don’t own a car and live in the city of Buffalo. I haven’t bought a bike from them, so I’m not sure about their prices, but they look like they have a good stock. They also have an event called Tech Tuesdays, where they teach attendees basic bicycle repair.
UB has their own guide and services for bicycle owners here. Most importantly, they allow students to store their bikes for free on campus during the winter, maintenance events, and fix-it stands around campus. As far as I’m aware, though, their fix-it stands only have pumps that are compatible with Schrader valves (Schrader vs. Presta valves), so if you know you have a Presta valve on your bike, you should carry around an adapter like this one.
This is neither here nor there, but if you’re riding on streets in Buffalo, I recommend learning to patch flats on the go or getting either a hybrid bike or a road bike with wider/tread-ier tires than a typical road bike. Buffalo’s road upkeep leaves a lot to be desired. In general, when looking for a new bike, I recommend buying used from a reputable bike store (such as Campus Wheelworks) over a new bike from Walmart or a used bike on Craigslist. It isn’t always the cheaper option, but the quality of used bikes that most bike stores sell far exceeds Walmart quality bikes.