Bathtub Bikes Owner Adam Rhind Explains the Art of Bicycle Repair

Specializing in vintage and used bicycles, this Calgary bike shop aims to make bikes more accessible and affordable.

Photo by Chris Landry.

Starting a business in a garage is pretty normal. A bathtub? Not so much. But that’s how Bathtub Bikes, a bike repair and sales shop specializing in vintage and used bikes, got its start. In 2015, founder Adam Rhind decided to restore an old 10-speed in his one-bedroom apartment, with his bathtub doubling as a wash bay. More bikes followed, friends came with their bikes, and soon Rhind had a small business on his hands. Eventually, demand got big enough to move the operation out of the bathtub and into a shop space, but the name stuck.

Rhind worked in retail management before switching gears. With Bathtub Bikes, his focus has shifted from just selling bikes to making them more accessible and affordable through the use of refurbished parts, community outreach programs and bike-repair courses. We caught up with Rhind to find out what he loves about fixing and selling bikes.

 

What drew you to repair bikes?

“A lot of people view it as a hobby, but I find it to be more of a functional artform. I could sit here and stare at the stuff all day, and I do. When I was 14, I found myself staring at my BMX bike one night — I had been riding it all day, but I still was just staring at it because it was something so beautiful.”

 

What is something you really geek out over?

“I really get jazzed off the detective work of bike repair. When we bring in an old bike with mismatching parts, trying to stitch that story together of who changed what, and when they changed it is fun.

 

What’s the most fulfilling part of your job?

“We do community-based work with Youth En Route, which focuses on transportation accessibility for school-aged students. We did free bike maintenance classes in 10 different schools last year and we were able to reach 1,100 students and connect them with education and resources, same way we do here in the shop.

 

What keeps you excited about running the shop?

“We get to have fun. We have a bike that we built [from scratch] that weighs less than 10 pounds. I’ve also made a bunch of art from old bike parts. We build things just for the fun of it, with no purpose whatsoever other than just to be fun.”

3307 17 Ave. S.E., 587-227-5423, bathtubbikes.com, @bathtubbikes

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This article appears in the May 2024 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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