At Middlebury, having a bike is like having Cheez-its in your room. Not really necessary, but extremely convenient. The operative difference here is that it is not necessary to grease the bearings of your Cheez-its.
The solution for this is the campus bike shop. The student-run, college-owned Bike Shop is located in the basement of Adirondack House. When the shop is open (Wednesday through Saturday evenings), anyone can bounce in with their bicycle-related woes and find all the equipment and help they could possibly need. Students who know their way around bikes hang around, making sure that everyone’s needs are being addressed. There are enough spare parts sitting around that you could (and many do) bring in an old frame, scavenge the remaining parts, and build a bike from scratch. For free. Pretty sweet.
Thursday sessions are spiced up by the Fencing club, which holds its practice directly above us in the Coltrane Lounge. This ensures that you work quickly, given that it sounds like the ceiling could collapse at any moment. Adirondack House is one of the oldest buildings on campus.
My involvement in the Bike Shop started when I took the J-term Bike Maintenance workshop. In four two-hour sessions, we learned all the basics of bike maintenance – changing tires, replacing cables, greasing axles, adjusting shifters, etc. Since then, I’ve been in and out, sometimes to fix real problems, and sometimes to create imaginary problems so I can then repair them.
Sometimes, when you are a student, you need to work with your hands. That’s why the Bike Shop is such a great place.