Velotooler is a start-up company that has already been described as “ Uber for bike mechanics“. Basically, it’s a web and app platform which puts bicycle owners in contact with independent bike mechanics.
Velotooler will operate very much like Uber. A cyclist will use the service to put out a request for a mechanic to do a particular job, and local mechanics registered with Velotooler will respond by indicating they are available to do the work. To keep things simple, prices and payment for the work will be handled through Velotooler.
Velotooler is currently undergoing beta testing in the States, but I think it could answer a real need if it catches on and becomes widely available. From what I have been able to see over the years, there are dozens of highly qualified bike mechanics in the area that are moonlighting, or willing to work independently either on a part time or full time basis.
If Velotooler does comes to the Ottawa area, it could be just the ticket for putting these mechanics in touch with cyclists whose bicycles are in need of some tender loving care. The service would be especially useful during the peak periods in spring and summer when people often have to wait two to three weeks to get any work done at local bike shops.
I suspect that Velotooler wouldn’t cut into the viability of local bike shops by stealing a lot of repair business from them. For a variety of reasons (a two week waiting period), there are many people who never get the necessary maintenance or repair work done on their bicycles. An easy to use service like Velotooler might be what it takes to coax these people into keeping their bikes properly maintained. This is important because poorly maintained bikes turn off a lot of people who are just starting to get into cycling.
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