Thursday, June 23, 2011

First status update!

Here's what I got done during my first spring of operation:
  • Sold my roommate a lovely green step-through 1-speed cruiser for $80. To prepare it, I removed rust from the frame and rims. It was looking pretty ghetto when I first found it, but after some steel wool TLC, it's looking great. It took about two or three hours to get all that rust off. I definitely gave her a huge deal, if I had to sell the same bike again it'd be for $160!
  • Assembled a gorgeous and classic black '70s 10-speed racing bike out of a frame that I hauled out of my friend's garage after she moved out, and some other found parts. I gave that one to my buddy as a birthday present, so it doesn't count as a sale, but it still needs a lot of work so I didn't want to make it into one, also I owed the dude!
  • And wait 'till you see this gorgeous bike I put together and sold to my buddy for $90. Just gorgeous. This was the first bike I put together 100% from scratch using scavenged parts, and it's the first proper painting job I've done as well. He says it practically rides itself, it's totally him, and I'm glad to hear that because that's what I had in mind when I built it.
Here's the bikes I'm working on at the moment and how ready they are:
  • I'm most of the way through repairing an old '60s step-through 3-speed cruiser. I got it to the point that it was ride-able and then took it apart and painted it. It's almost finished its cream-and-lime-green paint job, and then reassembling it is going to be kind of a monster. When it's ready, it'll be perfect for a smallish guy or medium sized girl. In addition to the lovely 3-speed rear hub (which needs repair to restore one of the speeds), it features an elegant generator in the front hub, so I'll have to put some pretty lights on it too. What a gorgeous person-mover. It'll probably be $300 - $400 when I'm ready to sell it.
  • I found a small, beautiful cruiser frame in the garbage along Dundas West, and right away set to painting it in very loud orange marker paint, the kind you see spraying onto the road. I'm topping it off with clear coats to give it a brilliant shine, and it'll be perfect for a small person who wants to go fast while staying upright! Depending on how much work I put into building it, it should eventually be something like $180 - $300.
  • I've been finding all this mountain bike stuff. Frames and wheels and stuff. So I'm going to build two bikes out of the mess. One of them is almost finished being built and just needs some brake and drivetrain work. It's got wonderful fast smooth balloon tires and is perfect for a medium-to-tall person who wants to move quickly but likes to ride mountain bikes instead of racers or cruisers. This thing is bad-ass and should fetch something like $90 - $150. But it'll be hard to part with! Still not sure what the other one is going to look like, but it'll be similar except with larger wheels and skinnier tires, also very smooth and fast. And it'll be made from this gorgeous black frame I found in the alley down the block. And it'll be pricier, something like $140 - $200.
  • Then there's the crackmobile I found in an alley off Queen West in some garbage. I think a restaurant was throwing it out. It's got a couple of the kind of problems over which people throw out cheap bikes instead of fixing them. I think this is going to be my own mountain bike, because I need something for rough terrain. But we'll see! I plan to narrow the handlebars a bit and keep the knobby tires on this one.
Here's where I'm going with all this:
  • I want to do more 10-speed racers and keep it up with the single speed and 3-speed cruisers, they're just wonderful and I think they're the most practical thing for people.
  • I'm not going to be putting any baskets, racks or anything like that on these bikes. Even water bottle holders are a bit sketchy, as are plastic water bottles. This is just because it's a safety thing: Your bike should only be carrying one thing: you. And you should be carrying all your stuff. It's the only safe way to do it. I know it's tempting but no more loading our bikes up with stuff, it's not good.
  • I want to help drivers who live outside the downtown and commute into work and to run errands by hooking them up with good commuter bikes so that they can add a cycling segment to their commute, to cover the higher-density parts where cycling is faster than driving. I want to help them get more stuff done downtown and worry less about parking. Instead of attaching their bikes to their cars, I want to recommend to them that they choose one or two cheap parking spots that are along their typical commuting routes in and out of town, and then park bikes at those locations. And I want to be able to offer them a selection of bikes that includes expensive, gorgeous status symbols as well as worthless ones.

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