First Class bike repair in Colborne

Article & images by Al Rivett

When blue skies are the weather order of the day, Matt Walsh is often up at the crack of dawn and soon after he’s aboard one of his bicycles to make the trek along Hwy. 2 from his Colborne home and his factory job in Cobourg.

It’s a peaceful ride, said Walsh, out on the road with all the sights and sounds that greet him, with little to no vehicular traffic sharing the road with him.  

“It’s exhilarating,” said Walsh of his cycling journeys to work and back in a recent interview with Cramahe Now. “When I get to work, I feel so full of energy.”

Walsh says he tries to never miss an opportunity to take his bike to work whether he is on the morning or the afternoon shifts.

“I do it as much as I possibly can,” said Walsh, 41. “It’s nice in the afternoon going in at 3 p.m. and it’s really peaceful coming home at 11 p.m. You have the whole road to yourself. During the days, I will leave at 5 a.m. and it takes me an hour to get to work. It’s beautiful at 5 a.m. No one is on the road at that time and it’s really nice.”

For the past several years, Matt has been cycling and subsequently become head-over-heels in love with the activity while also enjoying being part of the fraternity of cyclists that call Northumberland County home. Cycling’s good for your heart and for your mind, too, he said.

“I really got back into bikes and started riding again about six or seven years ago,” said Walsh. “You get one bike and then you realize they’re kind of like shoes in that I need another bike for this type of terrain and then I need another bike and before you know it you got a few bikes. It’s been a little bit of an addiction because the mental and physical benefits of it have been absolutely fantastic.”

He noted his wife Becky has also become an avid cyclist and over the years has accumulated her own stable of bicycles. 

“She has fallen completely in love with it, every aspect of it, so of course she gets a bike and for every one of mine she has one. Before you know it you’re doing maintenance on a small fleet,” Walsh said with a laugh.

“I absolutely fell in love with working on bikes. Working with your hands, having a problem then solving the problem then going out and riding with confidence knowing you have a good, safe working bike.”

And, it’s the maintenance of his own bicycles as well as on those of his friends that has led him into his newest endeavour within the realm of cycling. Walsh decided to open his own home-based bicycle repair shop — Century Cycle — on Church Street in Colborne. It’s been open and providing all manner of repairs to bicycles for the past two months.

“It’s been pretty good; it’s busy enough for me,” said Walsh of his new business, where clients have come mainly through word of mouth as well as from putting his business on the buy and sell groups on Facebook. “It’s probably nothing that I’ve ever done that has been so gratifying as a job.”

In preparation to open his bicycle shop, Walsh took a month-long Professional Bicycle Mechanics course offered through Winterborne Bicycle Institute at the Conestoga College campus in Guelph. Before taking the course, there was a two-week pre-course that prepared him for the rigorous study that was to come.

“It was a complete immersion course day and night. You eat, sleep, breath, live bikes, so I was in my glory. I didn’t want to leave, I really didn’t. And, I couldn’t recommend it more to anyone who wants to do it. There was much more than just working on the bikes and performing these tasks. We also got on to shop management. You could open a shop when you finish this course. It was absolutely fantastic. You get industry knowledge that would be hard to get anywhere else.”

Walsh works on any and all bikes at Century Cycle, with his services including diagnosis and repair or replacing parts on all makes and models of bicycles, although he admits there is currently a global shortage of bicycles and parts due to the pandemic. He also does wheel rebuilding as well as bike fitting to ensure each client is properly fitted to their bike. “Having the right position on the bike is key,” he said.

Mostly, though, the business is about keeping bikes out of landfills by giving them new life through repairs. Walsh said he repairs all bikes regardless of whether it’s top-of-the-line pro-level gear or kids’ bikes. In fact, he derives the most pleasure from seeing a youngster back on his or her bike.

“To me, it doesn’t matter what the price of the bike is; I don’t see it that way. Every bike is essentially priceless to the owner regardless of how much is spent on it. But, to fix a bike for a young kid and see little Timmy hop on his bike and try it out and is all smiles. That makes it for me right now. When the kid is happy and the parents are happy, that does it for me right there.”

Walsh says he takes a lot of pride in giving preventive maintenance advice to his clients so they do the small fixes during the off-season that will prevent larger issues with the bike from developing down the road. 

“If you can show them how preventative maintenance will save them money in the long run, it’s a pretty big thing. I like to talk to the customer and show them things about the bike that will keep them on the road or on the trail longer.”

A tune and clean for a bicycle runs around $60, said Walsh. Typically, when he gets a bike into the shop for repair, it is looked over and a diagnosis is given for the bike. The customer is given a quote and the customer can then determine whether to proceed with the repairs. 

Walsh said he hasn’t ruled out the idea of doing repairs and bicycle assembly at customer’s homes, but for now, he’ll be performing repairs out of his Church Street home.

He hopes his love affair with repairing bicycles will continue for the foreseeable future through Century Cycle.

“That part of the job would never get old. I have friends and mentors and they love it every day. They can’t wait to work on bikes and it makes perfect sense to me.”

Century Cycle is at 38 Church St. West, Colborne. You can email Walsh at contact@century-cycle.com or consult the website at www.century-cycle.com.

2 Responses

  1. This is a good addition for Colborne and our cyclists’ guests who often ask for repair services

  2. Anything we can do to make Colborne more cycle-friendly! Breakdowns on vacation are never good and we are here to help!

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