Holyoke Urban Bike Shop Offers Hands-On Classes

The Holyoke Urban Bike Shop does more than just sell bikes.


For the better part of a decade the Holyoke Urban Bike School in partnership with the YMCA has been  providing Holyoke’s youth with the thrills of biking throughout the city.  Within the past two years, the bike shop piece of the program has been opened  to add a hands on learning element as well as a shop for repairs on bikes.

Citizens of Holyoke who aspire to better understand their bikes as well as create a viable and ecologically efficient source of transportation take courses on bike repair and modification at the shop.  Essentially those who become students on the mechanics of bikes will build one, and then customize it to make it their own.

“Biking is a viable and affordable mode of transportation and we want to make it as affordable for as many people as possible.  Of course they are just fun to ride,” says Singleton. “There is also an education side to this that focuses on general knowledge about people’s  bikes.  It creates a connection as well as an outlet for students to work with their hands that ignites a drive for learning future skills.”

Like a martial arts class, there are different levels among the students in each course; however, everyone works as a collaborative unit when constructing or repairing their bikes.  So when someone who is just starting out in the class is building working in the shop they can look to classroom veterans who as well as the teachers such as Colby can assist them in their projects.  No one is left behind and no previous experience in bike mechanics is necessary to be involved with this program.  The goal is to work together to build something awesome and fun.

“The bike is interesting because it connects with different parts of life and society,” said Evan, an employee of the HUBS. “It is a unique mode of transportation and inspires youth empowerment through hard work, effort, and focus.” Through this class,  students get practical use of cognitive skills, kind of like working on a puzzle.

“There is something that is just satisfying about creating something and keeping it working,” said Evan.

Some general facts about the bike shop itself.  The Holyoke Urban Bike School is located at 160 Beech Street Holyoke, MA.  They do repairs and tune-ups that run roughly between $35-$65.  Now depending on how extensive the repairs are, the price will increase accordingly.

There are also some big events coming up for the program and shop.  Colby and her crew are moving down Beech street to a larger warehouse to store and work on bikes.  Keep an eye out of for the date of their grand opening party.

HUBS has several important dates in the works: they will also be hosting an Open Streets event of biking and obstacle courses (Date TBD) and on May 17th HUBS will be hosting a community bike ride during the Bay State Bike Week.

The program is also looking to start a mountain biking club for high school students, so be on the lookout for that as well!

Want to know more about the HUB? Check out Iohann Rashi Vega’s interview with them on his Radioplasma podcast.