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Back-to-school at Gracie’s Wrench

Tori and a student.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

When it comes to bike repair and maintenance, I’m one of those people who knows just enough to mess things up. So last night, one other student and I joined Tori Bortman in the basement of her home in north Portland to learn the secrets of bike repair from a pro.

By day, Tori works at the downtown Bike Gallery. But by night, she becomes CEO of Gracie’s Wrench, the bike maintenance school she started just over a year ago.

I’m taking her course to brush up on my bike repair skills and learn those all-important tricks of the trade. Last night we started with the basics; tire changing, wheel removal, and flat repair. It was the first of a six-week course and even though the subject matter seemed basic, just being around Tori, and chatting throughout class, I learned several useful tricks.

Here are a few things I learned:

Next week we move on to brake and cable repair.

If you want to learn more about Tori’s classes, drop her an email at or call (503) 839-1880.