FAQ

Should I come to open shop night if…

I want to learn about fixing bikes?

Great! The best way to learn is to bring your own bike to work on, or you can volunteer and help others with their repairs. It is important to do your own research prior to coming to open shop, so you know where to start to tackle your project!

I want SBK to fix my bike?

We are a do-it-yourself space and do not offer bike repair services. As a policy, our staff do not touch guest’s bikes. We advise and demonstrate while you work on your bike with our tools. We are here to point you in the right direction, or to the right bike shop!

I don’t know the first thing about repairing a bike?

No problem. We all have to start somewhere. Our goal is to help you gain access to tools and space where you can learn how to fix your own bike in a casual and friendly environment.

I want to work on my bike at SBK, but cannot afford to make a donation…

Not a problem! Our suggested contribution of ten dollars per hour is on a sliding scale. We are happy to accept more, less, or nothing! Whatever you can afford. We accept cash and Venmo.

I have a flat tire?

Fixing a flat is a perfect reason to come to open shop night! We have patches to repair tubes and some used tubes If you want a new tube you must bring it with you. Please buy one from a local shop!

My bike is making a squeaking noise or feels off?

Nobody likes a squeaky bike! We’d love to help you figure out why your bike is squeaking or creaking or isn’t feeling quite right.

I need to get this repair completed tonight?

We cannot guarantee you will be able to repair your bike in one night. Often, even simple repairs take much longer than they do on Youtube, especially if it is your first time. Please budget 2-3x the time that a repair should take to be safe. You take full responsibility for the completion of your repair.

I want to pick up some parts?

We have some used parts available for repairs at open shop night and we stock some necessary consumables such as cable and housing. For new parts, we recommend visiting your local shop. We are not a retail business.

I want to borrow tools and bring them home?

Sorry, we do not lend tools for use outside of our space. You are welcome to use any of the tools on our property during open shop night. Please clean and return them after use, and report any damaged tools to a staff member.

Are there bicycles you don’t have the tools for?

We try our best to supply tools for the most common repairs, but there may be some uncommon parts and standards we don’t have the tools for. If you think you have such a bike, please contact us and describe your bike’s make, year, and model. We’ll do our best to figure out if we have the tools you need.

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What if I don’t want to deal with a bunch of grumpy bike mechanic dudes?

Most of our staff and visitors are just looking to fix up their everyday bikes. Half of our current staff members are women and/or non-binary people. SBK is open to everyone of any background and experience level and focuses on friendly introductions to learning bike repair.

For those who want a FTW only environment, Femmechanics hosts Grrrrease-time @ SBK on the second Wednesday of each month.

Do you take bicycle donations?

While we usually accept small parts donations, we currently do not have the space to accept full bikes or frames. If you have a particular question, please email us. 

You can also reach out to Cambridge Bike Give Back or Bikes Not Bombs to donate your bike – both are local non profits doing great work.

I need work on my e-bike, e-scooter, or moped?

Sorry, but we cannot assist with electronic or motorized bicycles or scooters. We are only equipped to help with 100% human-powered bicycles.

What about my folding bike, mountain bike, or tri-bike?

Yes, we should be able to help you with these! However, there may be special tools we don’t have for certain repairs and we won’t have used parts of these type of bikes.

Do you work for the city of Somerville or do bike advocacy?

No. We are an independent co-op for bike repair. If you want to learn more about official city bike advocacy, please check out the Somerville Bicycle Committee, or Boston Cyclists Union.