Wed. Jul 28th, 2021

Brownstein: Travelling bike repairman can barely keep up with demand

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He reports that the bike business has exploded this year, to the point where there is an acute shortage of new and used bikes for sale in the city and around the continent. As such, people are hanging on to their old two-wheelers. 

However, with this new dearth of bikes, Gosselin points out that Montreal could become Canada’s capital for stolen bikes and cautions cyclists in their choices of locks and docking locations.

MONTREAL, QUE.: AUGUST 24, 2020 -- Sacha Gosselin tunes up a bicycle in his Vélofix mobile bicycle repair truck at a home in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, west of Montreal Monday August 24, 2020. (John Mahoney / MONTREAL GAZETTE) ORG XMIT: 64902 - 5295
Sacha Gosselin tunes up a bicycle in his Vélofix mobile bicycle repair truck at a home in Dollard-des-Ormeaux on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. John Mahoney/Montreal Gazette

Much of Gosselin’s work entails tune-ups on bikes that have been getting more use than they’ve had in years. He also changes everything from brakes to pedals, tires to chains, and is fortunate to have a large inventory and solid connections with parts suppliers. 

“Customers, more than ever, have become dependent on their bikes as their preferred mode of transit and want to make sure their bikes are in top form to avoid any kind of breakdown,” notes South Shore resident Gosselin. “I have customers now doing several thousand kilometres a year, requiring three or four tune-ups a year. It’s a much different scene now than it was when people took their bikes out only for weekend spins.” 

Gosselin’s customers range from enthusiastic amateurs to triathletes, riding everything from basic financially friendly three-speed models to multi-speed imports costing many thousands of dollars.  

“Friends and family members thought I was a fool at first when I bought my Vélofix franchises two years ago. But even though business was really slow at the beginning, I always felt there would be possibilities with home repairs, because people don’t often have the time to take their bikes down to get them fixed at shops. So instead of their bikes being out of action for a couple of weeks, they’re only down for a couple of hours. 

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