I haven't been posting, but frankly, it's because the bikes come and go before I can write their stories. Here are some of the rides from the last bunch of months. Their names reflect the story they would tell, if only there were time.
Bikes are arriving daily! My available time to repair and post lags a bit. And... True confessions... I list bikes for sale on the Facebook Marketplace, so sometimes things go quickly and never get their stories told. Today is not the case!
Meet Raw Savage, Thunderbolt and Pinky Tuscadero. Not having met before arriving at the Recirculations Bike Corral, they have become allies and friends. Each satisfies a unique niche, so there's no competition. Each looks out for the other in companionable bike silence. Each would have had a really good chance at ending up in a landfill if Bike Gal Claire hadn't intervened.
Read their stories. Let them ride on.
Even wheels have stories. This gal was separated from her bike long ago. A sad tale, really, since the wheel was very attached. Her bike suffered severe trauma in an accident and she was harvested from the wreckage -- a bicycle organ donor. Unfortunately no match could be made.
Then one day, I went to a bike-geek garage sale. Dave had a few bikes, but mostly unattached parts. It was a little macabre, to tell the truth. Other than a nice looking new bike seat, I didn't see much I wanted to work with. But I persisted, on a quest to rescue at least one orphaned part. I asked Dave, "Do you have any wheels that you think won't ever see time on a bike again?" He produced this gal. Intrigued by my plan to create a spinning stained glass piece, Dave gave it to me, wished me well, and I drove off one wheel richer.
This awesome Raleigh C30 bike was left on a curb near my son's elementary school. Wrong. Just wrong. With new tubes and tires and a more comfy seat, this bike harkens back to its badass days in the early Mariah Carey years. New it was listed at $260.
The owners weren't bad people. Their hands were tied. After several years of serious commuter riding and the occasional trip to Valley Forge, Bob had to make some hard decisions. It was 1997, and their family was growing. They had no idea how much stuff they'd have to acquire just to keep their three kids, Bandit, Brandy and Bonnie in sports equipment. Bob and Bobbi decided to build a shed out back, stored the C30, and... and. They forgot about it, except on the occasional trip to the shed to look for hedge clippers. There it was, peeking out from behind the WorkMate work bench and the forgotten Scarecrow on a Stick fall yard decorations.
Then one day, the shed purge came. With the kids out of the house and no longer doing yardwork, Bobbi got tired of the push mower and got herself a nice red riding mower. It took up too much room in the garage though. Bob needed it to be a big dust-free space to build and varnish his canoe. So one day while Bob was at a counted cross-stich convention in Roanoake, Bobbi did the only thing that made sense to her. She cleaned out the shed and the C30 was just part of the collateral damage. It's soft parts were all disintegrated, of course. But it still had good structure, just a little rust, and it twinkled at me just a little. Of course, it was raining. And I couldn't get it in my car. And I couldn't ride it. We had a nice walk. And thanks to this C30, who's wheel nuts were rusted solid, I bought my first bike-specific tool, a 3 Wrencho Tire Tool from Portland Design Works.
And that's how it all began. The C30 became a family bike, but the kid who claimed it is MUCH taller now. No need for it to get lost in the back of MY garage.
These bikes have all flowed through my process. No two were alike. No two had the same problems. All of them have gone on to their next story-making opportunities.
As I work on bikes, they tell me their stories. Forensic bikology. Because I'm not a speedy bike fixer, I spend a lot of time with each bike. So, when I'm done, I kinda want to know what happens next. Of course I know how to take a bike to Good Will. But then I miss the opportunity to connect and to tell the next person the bike's story.
I also know how to sell it for a little bit of money online. My usual customers are either flippers or think I'm weird for wanting to chat. They usually just want to get going. I think they must think that I'm selling my own ride. That just seems wrong.
I'm not trying to quit my day job doing this bike thing, but I definitely AM doing it for the environment, the exercise-promotion, and the entertainment. It pleases me greatly to think that even after a bike leaves my care, its got a chance to help someone in their next story.
These bikes gave me the inspiration to tell the stories. Hopefully they are being ridden and cared for. If not for me, their story would have already come to an end.