OTTAWA -- During this pandemic, it seems that biking has picked up in popularity. Many of us have that old rusty bike tucked away in a shed or balcony; but how do you get that old bike up and running again?

From flat tires, to worn out brake pads; and even a rusty chain - fixing a bike yourself sounds intimidating for that first-time do-it-yourselfer.

There’s now a free online workshop that will get those gears going. The experts at the Ottawa Tool Library can help - and, for free.

“People are home, they want to use their bikes,” says Bettina Vollmerhausen with the Ottawa Tool Library. They’re holding bike-repair workshops; which, because of the pandemic are now online.

“It’s really open to anybody; it could be someone who’s never ridden a bike, or people who have been riding bikes many times and always brought it in for maintenance - but you know, good luck getting a spot and getting your bike maintained right now,” says Vollmerhausen.

Getting your bike up and running is not just about wiping off the dust.

“When you cycle, you have to learn how to do your own mechanics, because you can get stranded,” says Rhéal Delaquis. He’s an avid cyclist, and one of the experts who hosts the workshop at the Ottawa Tool Library - or "ninja", as they’re called.

“It’s a good, good feeling - being able to help somebody out that has a problem with their bicycle,” says Delaquis.


Not sure where to start?

Delaquis says to start with the most important items:

“One good thing is to make sure that your brakes are operating properly; that your brake pads are in good shape.”

He says to also check your brake cables, along with:

“Proper inflation of the tires; you want to have a good lube on your chain.”

Delaquis says to not forget about lights; if you’re riding at dawn or dusk.


If you don’t have the right tools for the job, the Ottawa Tool Library can help,

“We loan out all kinds of tools; we have over 2,000 tools in our inventory,” explains Vollmerhausen.

The next online workshop is Monday, focusing on how to change a tire or fix a flat. They will also take your bike repair questions.

Delaquis thinks it is a good start, “once you have the proper advice, then you can do it; and, you’ll probably be encouraged to do something else after.”