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The Spoke provides bike repair and education to CSU community

Zack Alves, an employee of the the on-campus bike repair shop, The Spoke, helps student customer, Drew Casebier, fix various parts of his bike. (Photo credit: Emma Brokaw)
Zack Alves, an employee of the the on-campus bike repair shop, The Spoke, helps student customer, Drew Casebier, fix various parts of his bike. (Photo credit: Emma Brokaw)

In the northwest corner of the Pavilion in Laurel Village, Colorado State University students, staff and faculty will find an unexpected workshop full of tire tubes and gears.

The Spoke, located in a space slightly smaller than a dorm room, aims to teach people how to fix and maintain their bikes.

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“We mainly focus on basic maintenance and education,” Lead Technician and CSU alum Jordon Traylor said. “(It’s) really just to promote biking in the community, on campus and off campus.”

Sophomore construction management student Zack Alves began working at The Spoke at the beginning of the spring semester and said this shop is a great resource for students.

“Many people don’t have access to the tools and they don’t have the knowledge,” Alves said. “We can play the middle man as far as offering those tools and offering that knowledge.”

Alves said most of his knowledge of bike maintenance has been self-taught.

“I enjoy it when people come in and they want to learn because I’ve always loved teaching people,” Alves said. “It’s a time that I don’t really feel like I’m working. I just feel like I’m doing what I enjoy.”

The shop opened in November, but is getting busier now with the warmer weather, according to Traylor.

The Spoke sells basic bike components such as brake pads, cables, tires, tubes, helmets, lights, bike bags, chains and locks at a similar price to other bike shops, such as Route 34.

“Anyone can come in and learn how to fix their bike for free,” Traylor said. “They only have to pay for parts. That’s the only catch.”

Coleman Centrola, an employee of the on-campus bike repair shop, Spokes, prepairs to replace a chain on a student's bike on Friday. (Photos credit: Mattie Whaley)
Coleman Centrola, an employee of the on-campus bike repair shop, The Spoke, prepares to replace a chain on a student’s bike Friday. (Photos credit: Emma Brokaw)

Sophomore business student Drew Casebier said he decided to come into The Spoke because he wants to be able to do his own bike maintenance and wants to start mountain biking.

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“The hands-on approach is a lot easier than watching YouTube videos because they can actually show you what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right,” Casebier said.

Alves said it is a great opportunity for students to work on bikes because they are not required to go through a certification program.

“It’s always been really hard to get involved on the maintenance side of bicycles,” Alves said. “(There are) a lot of steps you have to take working in larger bicycle shops.”

Casebier said he likes how relatable the students are who work in the shop.

“(The service) is better than any other bike shop that I’ve been to,” Casebier said. “They’ll actually show you how to do it instead of trying to make a paycheck. … You can’t beat that.”

Traylor said their location in Laurel Village may be cramped and out of the way for many students, but is fitting with the theme of the building.

“The whole purpose of this building (the Pavilion in Laurel Village) was to promote renewable resources, be eco-friendly,” Traylor said. “It goes along with the whole idea of being renewable.”

Alves said that because of the location, The Spoke ends up serving mostly students in the resident halls, and if they moved closer to campus, they would be able to serve more of the general student population.

Traylor said it would help to have more space and that it may or may not be beneficial to move the shop closer to central campus.

“Right now, we are still in an experimental phase,” Traylor said. “We’re just seeing if it’s going to work. So far I think it does work pretty well. We’ll see where they decide to take it.”

Traylor said he saw a bike shop like this coming to CSU.

“I feel like CSU needed to have its own bike shop for a long time,” Traylor said. “It just goes hand-in-hand with being a … renewable school.”

Casebier said that he plans to continue coming back to The Spoke when he needs help with his bike.

“I would rather learn than pay,” Casebier said. “The learning is a lot more valuable than just getting the bike fixed.”

Collegian City Beat Reporter Sady Swanson can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan.

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