In need of a quick fix on your bike and not keen on spending this weekend’s beer money on it? SubSykkel is here to help. Originated around Sub Scene, an alternative all-age venue, SubSykkel is run independently in their downtown Oslo venue. Here, founder Arne and mechanic Benjamin host one fix-day a month during the summer.

Text: Silje Strømmen
Photos: Mari Oshaug

• Hi Arne! So tell us, what do you do here?
SubSykkel was founded three years ago in the environment around Sub Scene. We noticed that bikes were not being repaired because of the high price often associated with fixing them. By offering to fix bikes for free, that is no longer an issue. We fix all kinds of bikes, but prefer older ones as they were originally constructed so that they could be fixed. Newer bikes are designed in a way where lubricating and smaller fixes don’t cut it, and you must replace parts.

• Why do you do this?
We want to contribute to keeping the bikes of Oslo in shape, especially older bikes that often cost a lot to get fixed in a shop. We have an environmental focus, where we work to repair rather than discard.

• How often are you open for business?
Normally we are open once a month during summer, and sometimes more often if we have the time. Keep an eye on our Facebook page to see when we are open.

• Who is the typical “customer”?
That varies a lot! We get everything from brand new hybrid bikes to single speed rebuilt old racers and new city bikes. We don’t grow one bicycle culture; we are more about bikes in general and keeping them on the road.

• Could you please share some tips for easy bike maintenance?
We get a lot of people coming in with flat tires and unadjusted brakes and derailleurs. People often come in with stuff they are uncertain off, like unknown sounds and stuff with their bikes that just don’t feel right. We have a very low threshold. Typical for Oslo are damages linked to low maintenance, especially after the winter.

• Do you have three easy tips for maintaining one’s bike?
A lot of people are afraid of doing something wrong when washing their bike. My first tip is to not be too concerned about the actual washing, and more concerned with oiling the chain and wires.

My second tip is to fill more air in the tires than you think you need (except if your using a meter). People tend to ride around with tires that are too soft. And finally: if something feels wrong, stop cycling. Most of the time that will only increase the damage.