Spaces: Rice Bikes

A well-equipped garage next to the MultiCultural Center is the place to pedal (or to push) for bike maintenance and repair.

Rice Bikes
Photo by Jeff Fitlow

Flat tire? Loose brakes? Rusty chain? Rice Bikes, a popular student-run business, provides services to fix these problems and many others for the campus — and Houston — cycling community. “We stay pretty busy,” says senior Diego Casanova, Rice Bikes’ general manager. “Every shift will typically have three appointments scheduled and several walk-ins.” The business employs 27 mechanics who work at least two shifts a week, and each shift is between two and three hours.

Given the number of bikes on campus, the shop fills a huge need. The cavernous interior and entry are chock-full of commuter and road bikes in various stages of maintenance or repair. Flat tires are the most common repair requested; but adjustments to derailleurs, brakes and chains keep the mechanics busy. The business prides itself on the students’ mechanical knowledge and enthusiasm. Every now and then, someone will wheel in something more unconventional — unicycles, tricycles and even the occasional pedal trolley. “Our mechanics are equipped to handle the full spectrum of repairs, and typically do, on a day-to-day basis,” Casanova adds. Rice Bikes also provides reasonably priced rental bikes by the semester or year.

In addition to keeping the riding community rolling, Rice Bikes engages the community in awareness about bike safety and opportunities to participate in group rides for charity.

— Lynn Gosnell