Pitt Bike Cave creates hub for student cyclists


Patrick Cavanagh | Senior Staff Photographer

The Pitt Bike Cave is located in between Posvar and David Lawrence Halls.

By Jamie Sheppard, Staff Writer

On a warm day near the Posvar Passage, students walking to class can hear the sounds of birds chirping on the lawn, laughter and conversation from other students and the crunch of spinning bicycle wheels echoing from a nearby workshop.

The Pitt Bike Cave, located in between Posvar and David Lawrence Halls, is a space where students with an interest in bikes can chat with mechanics about their bike needs. It is open Mondays noon to 3 p.m., Thursdays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays noon to 4 p.m. Students can also book emergency appointments.

The Bike Cave is a completely student-run organization, except for a faculty advisor who oversees processes such as onboarding for new hires. Taylor Thomas, managing director of the Pitt Bike Cave and a junior psychology major, said the Cave was originally known as the Bike Collective, but officially became a bike co-op in 2018. 

Thomas said the Pitt Bike Cave assists students with their bike transportation needs, whether students are looking to fix their bike or purchase a new one.

The Bike Cave offers a plethora of services including any bike repairs, bike modifications using the parts available at the Cave, bike sales and the occasional giveaway of bike lights and helmets,” Thomas said.

Dan Uhranowsky, a mechanic at the Pitt Bike Cave and a senior health informatics major, has ridden bikes his whole life and has worked at the Bike Shop for two years. He said the mechanics at the Bike Cave help students with problems such as fixing flat tires and adjusting seats. He also said students can expect to learn a lot if they are interested in getting hands-on experience.

We can do everything that you would need, but the more common things are tire changes, like changing a flat tire, maybe adjusting the seat and how the bike fits and things like that, so simple stuff,” Uhranowsky said. “But also if people are willing to learn, we’ll teach them the more complex things.”

Thomas said the Bike Cave is one of 17 organizations affiliated with Pitt’s Student Office of Sustainability. She said this means they contribute to sustainability on campus through events. To stay up to date with their events throughout the year, Thomas suggested following the Bike Cave’s Instagram.

Uhranowsky said the Bike Cave’s mission is to promote bike transportation and make it accessible to students.

So our whole mission here is to get people on bikes and make bike transportation more accessible, and to do that we’re here, myself and our other mechanic Jason [Graham], to help people fix their bikes,” Uhranowsky said.

Uhranowsky said the Bike Cave hosts different donation drives, such as Recycle Your Bicycle, and events like Bike to Campus Week to help support SOOS’s mission to promote environmentally friendly forms of transportation.

VJ Taverna, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, said he first heard about the Bike Cave from a fellow resident assistant at Panther Hall. He started riding a unicycle in high school, and his unicycle needs brought him into the Bike Cave on several occasions.

Taverna said he has been there multiple times, and first stopped by in October 2021.
“Typically, if you had a bike, they could just give you the parts, but I needed special parts, so they told me what I needed to fix on it, and then once those parts came in and I was able to bring those parts in, they showed me what I needed to do to fix it,” Taverna said.

Taverna also said the mechanics prioritize teaching students about the services they come in for.
“They’re really good at showing you what you need to do and there’s a big emphasis on teaching students about how to fix bikes instead of just fixing it for them,” Taverna said. 

Uhranosky said his favorite part about the cave is the students.

“I like the community part of it. There’s a bunch of regulars that hang out here, and there’ll be new people that come in and they’re just super interested to learn about what we’re doing or learn about bikes,” Uhranowsky said. “We’re also here to teach people how to fix their own stuff, so it’s cool, people come in and they’re super interested to get involved.”

The atmosphere of the Bike Cave is very appealing, according to Taverna, and he said the mechanics there are very skilled at what they do.

“Everyone’s just doing their own thing which is cool, so you could just walk up to somebody and ask them about it, and they’re absolutely happy to talk to you about it,” Taverna said. “And the mechanics there, Dan and Jason, are just super helpful, very knowledgeable guys, really passionate about what they do, from what I can tell.”

Uhranowsky encourages anyone who is interested to simply drop by, and he said most people are there because they like talking about bikes with each other.

“Just come in and hang out,” Uhranowsky said. “Half these people are just hanging out here cause we know them and they like to talk about bikes and hang out.”