DIY Bike Repair Cafe

Another leap forward in the inner city cycling eco-system sees the arrival of a bike café in Darlington offering a free workshop, tools and loving expertise.

When local Grahame Rowe realised that the City of Sydney would not be installing a street garden bed in front of his old butchery, he and buddy John Azzi saw the opportunity to gentrify the once-troubled Darlington street corner themselves.

Since the time of their 1990’s flat-share in Amsterdam, these avid commuter cyclists have dreamt of a space that would embody all the things they loved about the cycling culture of that fantastic city – a bicycle workshop with old school “townies” dangling from every beam and altruistic bike mechanics happily ensconced in gritty alcoves. By adding spaces where cyclists could work on their own bike for free using the workshop’s tools or where they could sit with a coffee or a bite to eat while waiting for their repairs, the boys had arrived at their vision.

Through a mutual friend in the Netherlands, they found the right mechanic – Nathanael Dyon – who similarly dreamed of establishing his own bike repair workshop but had neither the place nor funds to realise the dream.

The last piece in the puzzle fell into place when Grahame and John secured a financial grant from the City of Sydney’s Matching Grants program for their public bike depot concept. Unlike other facilities, this depot would be a space where people could access a trained mechanic, use the tools, pump their tyres, fill their water bottles and even use the public toilet.

Over the next four months Grahame set about ripping apart the existing fitout to reveal the original 1890 Chippendale Butchery, re-designing the front space as a cafe. Meanwhile, John was busy importing beautiful European “sit-up” bikes by Bronx and Bobbin Bicycles from the UK, while out the back, Nathanael was shaping the workshop that would become Grease Monkey Bicycles. The funding from the Matching Grants team was used to punch a hole in the side wall leading to what is now the Redfern Bike Depot which contains a workbench, bike stand and a set of basic tools that anyone can come to use for free.

Through the determined efforts of these three dreamers, Town Bike Pitstop is bringing life back to this sleepy corner of Darlington. The heady brew of excellent coffee, great food, beautiful bikes, reliable workshop and friendly bike depot has created a hub for Sydney’s urban cycling community and a great place for groups to start or finish a ride.

Town Bike Pitstop
156 Abercrombie St



Town Bike Pitstop Staff

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