Marc the Bike Guy
by Jan Brubacher, Tofino
“I don’t just do bikes, I do baby strollers
wheelbarrows too.” Marc Vezina
I love to ride my bicycle. And boy was I happy to know that Marc was
in the business of fixing bikes. After years of fly-by-nighters and
fakes, finally a mechanic to entrust with my faithful steed. It took
a few days of “Liquid Wrench” soaking into the crevices
and it took quite a bit of force to muscle that crank out but he did
it! And me and my bike ride again.
“It was a bright orange three-speed Mustang, with ape hangers
for handlebars.” The year was 1977, the place was Riviere-du-Loup.
Marc was twelve and this was his first love affair—“It
was the coolest bike in the neighbourhood.” Marc first started
mechanics with this bike—it was a serious affair. And on it
In 1985 Marc came west to do a bike tour with a friend—they
did a one month tour of Vancouver Island, including Tofino and the
Sunshine Coast. He was planning to return to Quebec at the end of the
tour but decided to stay. He worked at Denman Cycles as a bike mechanic
and then he got his certification from the Canadian Cycling Association.
Marc then went to Capilano College for a two year Outdoor Recreation
Management program. As part of the course, students were required
to do a practicum and Marc did his with the Western Canada Wilderness
Committee (wc2) and it was through them that Marc came to Tofino.
The oil spill in the winter of 1989/90 brought lots of people to
the area to help with the clean-up and Marc was one of those. He
was sent by wc2 to spend a month here to gather information, take
photos, and help with the clean-up. He came back in the spring
for a kayak guiding job and has been here ever since.
Years of full on kayaking, came to a rather abrupt end when Marc hurt
his back so badly he wasn't able to work for a month. That was a month
without income, (this was not a union job) he was forced to come up
with another plan, a “safety net,” something that he could
combine with his love of kayaking and not be as strenuous on his back.
And Marc now divides his time between paddling—he continues
to guide one Kayak trip a day—and doing bike repairs in his very
compact and extremely well organized shop in the carport of his home.
Bicycles lean against the posts or hang from hooks on the ceiling all
securely locked. The closet office/storeroom has a mobile work bench
that rolls right out of the office to the “workshop.” The
bench is well-stocked with grease, oil, and wd-40, all essential to
the well being of a westcoast bicycle. Bike parts of all sorts and
sizes, along with accessories, line the walls and fill the drawers
of this immaculate office—every space ingeniously used, and the
drawers are all neatly labeled. This man is detail oriented!
On the door of the office is a small bicycle that is made in Indonesia,
it hangs above his business license, postcards, and pictures mostly
featuring bikes. One in particular is of a man in a bike repair shop
in Indonesia, it is a friend, and is a clue to the connection Marc
has with that country. It was in Indonesia that Marc found another
lasting love—and a big support in his life and business—his
wife Adi. She is an amazing cook and is good with a wrench too. Adi
helps to assemble the new bikes that come into the shop—and into
the house. The bicycles have entered their living space. Boxes line
the walls, bicycles in various states of being lean against cupboards—every
room has signs of this very literal “home” business.
Marc not only repairs bikes, he sells new ones too. He is the only
authorized dealer in Tofino for the Electra Beach Cruiser—that
funky bike that so many ride the beach with. You can see them, and
rent them at Fiber Options. Marc assembles the bikes for Fiber Options
and is the in-house mechanic there, so you know those bicycles ride
And if you have a bike that works but you want to funk it up a little
bit—call Marc—he does custom conversion. You can have those
ape hanger handlebars and other cool little things like skull valve
caps and streamers. There are beautiful baskets, bike seats, bottles
and the basics, like helmets. He’s got most everything, and if
not he’ll order it.
Marc can be reached at 250.725.BIKE (250.725.2453)
Multitalented and creative, Jan Brubacher writes films, creates jewelry
and costumes, and convincingly plays the role of mother.
Tofino business profile of Marc the Bicycle Guy by Jan Brubacher for Tofino Time magazine.