Are The Hub and Back Alley Bikes the same thing?

Nope. More like sisters. The Hub operates on behalf of Back Alley Bikes, and all sales of used bicycles and parts directly support the operations of Back Alley. New part sales and labor keep The Hub running, so either way, you’re supporting an awesome community endeavor when you shop there!

Is Back Alley Bikes open the same hours as the Hub?

While the two shops are often open at the same time, this is usually a coincidence. The Hub’s hours are in line with retail, whereas Back Alley Bikes is only open for programming. The staff at BAB is often in the office during the day, though, so don’t be shy to call for a tour or to drop off donations during hours which The Hub is open.

Can I buy a bike here?

Adult bicycles are for sale at The Hub of Detroit. Youth between the ages of ten and eighteen can earn a bicycle through our YEAB program. Children under ten years old can receive a free bicycle their size at Back Alley Bikes! All free bikes are limited to one per year, per youth.

Where do you get all of these bicycles? Can I sell or trade my old bike here?

Neither the Hub nor Back Alley Bikes buys or trades for other peoples’ bicycles. All the bicycles we use for programming or resale are donated. Please bring your unwanted bicycles, parts, and accessories to Back Alley Bikes, the Hub of Detroit, or one of the number of bike shops in the Detroit area that accepts donations on our behalf.

Are your programs free?

Well, that depends on the program. All of our youth programming is free and our adult programs are generally donation-based and inexpensive. If youth are accepted into our Mechanics in Training program, it’s not only free – we pay them! That’s right, if you’re between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, you could be paid to learn how to repair bicycles!

Is my child too young?

Children under ten are too young for most of our programs, but can recieve one free bike per year until they are old enough to attend. They can also accompany a volunteering parent or guardian (adult must have completed an orientation with us) to our All Ages Volunteer Night,Thursdays 5-8pm.

What tools would somebody need to work on their bike at home?

We recommend:

Basic Repair Tool Set
– Box End Metric Wrenches 8mm-17mm
– Allen Wrenches 4mm-6mm
– Large Adjustable Wrench (12″)
– Needle-nose Pliers
– Flathead Screwdriver
– Phillips Screwdriver
– Pedal Wrench*
– Chain Tool*
– Tire Levers (at least 2)*
– Patch Kit*
– Chain Lube*
– Bike Grease*
– Cable Cutters*
– Pump*

More advanced tools
– Lockring Spanner*
– Cone Wrenches*
– Crank Puller*
– Crank Nut Socket (14mm)*
– Pin Spanner*
– Allen Wrenches 1.2mm-3mm, 8mm (depending on the bike)
– Spoke Wrench*

*Tools with the asterisk are bike specific tools that can be purchased at bike shops. All other tools can be found at your average hardware store.

For the advanced home mechanic, there are many bike-specific tools to work on many different kinds of bikes. Check out our favorite website for detailed, expert advice.