The WRENCH showroom, Instagram page responds to pandemic cycling demand

By: Iris Dyck

The WRENCH showroom’s used bikes are rebuilt to their former glory with parts that otherwise would have gone to the landfill./IRIS DYCK

A local non-profit is taking to social media to show their inventory of re-built bicycles.

The WRENCH showroom Instagram page shows off used bicycles for sale at the Winnipeg Repair, Education and Cycling Hub (WRENCH). The featured bikes have been stripped down to the frame and built back up again with quality salvaged parts. 

Over the past year, cycling has exploded, and local bicycle shops struggled to meet demand as Winnipeggers pedalled their way through the pandemic. 

The WRENCH started their showroom so people could access their bicycles safely when most of their in-person programming was put on hold.

“It’s the natural next steps in terms of how we offer bikes to the public,” said Kate Sjoberg, executive director of the WRENCH. 

The WRENCH showroom brings the window shopping experience into the digital space. 

Interested buyers can scroll through the available bicycles, all of them carefully rebuilt by dedicated volunteers. Should one of the bikes catch their eye, the shopper can send an email to the WRENCH to book an appointment at their Logan Avenue shop.

Shoppers must mention a specific bike from the Showroom page to book a timeslot, which keeps the appointment focused. If the bike they mentioned has already sold, the WRENCH staff can help them find something comparable, minimizing shopping time and the risk of spreading the virus.

“We’re able to show them some similar style, but the relationship really starts with people doing the browsing before they come to the shop,” said Sjoberg.

Volunteers repair the majority of the bicycles that come through the WRENCH’s doors. 

Dave Elmore, a volunteer with the WRENCH for ten years, puts extra care into bikes headed for the showroom page.

“For me, it’s kind of nice to revive something like that,” he said. “It’s kind of like giving it a new life.”

The WRENCH didn’t face supply shortages during the pandemic like some for-profit shops did, but Sjoberg said their inventory is similar to years past.

The shop hopes to see more of their bikes on the road, be it through The WRENCH Showroom sales or through their relationships with schools and community organizations. 

“The programming at the WRENCH is just so inspiring,” Elmore said. “The more people we have on bikes, the better it’s going to be for all of us.”

The WRENCH gives most of its bikes away for free, and any income is put right back into their cause.