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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2011 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

EW15

news

Cooperative membership includes teenagers, seniors

Motorcycle repair shop teaches tools of the trade Sandra Thomas Staff writer

When Paul Malowany was a teenager in 1975, he needed to repair a flat tire on his motorcycle. Malowany, now a motorcycle mechanic, took his beloved motorcycle to a West Side shop where his tire was fixed. But he was charged $100. “As a kid I’d never even seen $100,” said Malowany. “I told them I had $25 and they said OK, we’ll take your $25 and you can work the rest off over three months.” In those three months of pushing a broom around the shop and holding flashlights and

tools for mechanics, Malowany absorbed as much information as he could about motorcycle repairs. “I’d listen to those guys and between ‘F’n this and F’n that,’ the information started to stick,” he said. Malowany dreamed of owning his own shop. That dream came true last May when Malowany and business partner Simon Travis opened Motomethod Community Motorcycle Repair Shop on Frances Street, where they rent out benches, bays and tools and teach teenagers how to repair their own flat tires. And not just teenagers. The age range of the clientele fre-

quenting Motomethod runs from 16-year-olds to seniors, including some veterans. Women, including several grandmothers, make up 30 per cent of the 100-plus members of the cooperative. Membership costs $100 and includes, coincidently, free tire changes, one free pickup, discount on parts and tires, access to the shop and winter bike storage for $1 a day. The shop offers classes and tools are available for rent. “Everyone gets along,” Malowany said. “It’s disarming because you don’t know what the guy next to you knows, so when you see him TIG welding in the machine shop you bow

together as a way to strengthen their relationship. They bought a motorcycle, joined the co-op and now spend two hours at a time working on the bike together. “They take stuff off and they put it back on,” said Malowany. “And while they’re doing that they talk and grumble at each other and then laugh and joke with the rest of us. I had no idea we’d be selling therapy, too.”

down to him. We can be your instructors, but you can learn a lot from the guy next to you, too.” Malowany said the need for proper tools led to the idea for the co-op because he and his friends with motorcycles were constantly borrowing from each other. As far as Malowany knows, Motomethod is the only motorcycle repair cooperative in Metro Vancouver. Malowany said there’s been an unexpected twist to the community shop. A married couple, who did not have motorcycle licences, were told by their counsellor to work on a project

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sthomas@vancourier.com Twitter: @sthomas10

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