Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What you can do with a hundred bucks.

I regularly get bike dealers traders and scrappers, offering me older English bicycles. It seems other bicycle mechanics/rebuilders don't want them. You can easily distinguish these bikes by a few things. The color, frame design, headbadges, 3-speed hubs (often, but not always.)Many of these bikes were made in the same factory in England. You can find such names as, Dunelt, Phillips, Hercules, Royal Scot and Humber.The most popular of all at least in the US, is Raleigh.
I picked one up at our recent swap meet, for $50 bucks. The frame was pretty clean as were the fenders. The hub needed rebuilding but other than that, it was a pretty cheap deal.
A couple of friends invited me to breakfast the other day. They were both riding cruisers and dressed well. Not wanting to be the odd one, I pumped up the tires on the Raleigh, did a quick brake adjustment, raised the saddle and took off with them. We took a scenic neighborhood route, as opposed to the through streets.It was a nice morning and taking it easy on a cruiser felt so natural. We took a scenic route on the return trip as well. Upon returning to the shop, I decided to make the cruiser mine. Besides completely rebuilding it. (Which I've still yet to do). It needed a few personal touches. I hate a street bike with no bell, so that was a no-brainer. Lights, that's a given. In fact I believe only a moron would ride without lights.
What this bike needed however, was something personal.

I recently picked up a few wine crates from a local wine shop. Most shops have to dispose of these somehow so, they can be purchased for free.99 Which is a fabulous price. I've seen folks do really creative things with these crates in the past, but I'd only used them as storage bins. How silly of me. So finally, my brain powered up and I came up with this:

A few lag bolts, some shellac, a couple of rubber mounts, some wood quarter round to reinforce the corners and there it is.

I needed to strength test the box so I hopped on and road the bike over to Lincoln Park. I had a friend that owed me a few bucks so, I could make it a dual purpose trip. I took Cortland ave. east to Armitage ave. Cortland, like many Chicago streets, has it's share of rough patches. A good test for the design. The box never rattled and when I reached Clark street, I shook it to see if maybe it was loosening. Nothing, as solid as when I first mounted it. That felt great.

The friend I was to meet was working over at the zoo, so I figured what the hell. I never go there, not really a fan, but hey I'll check it out.

They have this zoo lights festival, that's opening after Thanksgiving. There must be over a trillion lights all strung up around the place. Every goddamn tree, is covered in wire and lights.

As much as I think it's silly, It's kinda cool. Something to do on a fall weekday. There was almost no one around. Just a few nannies and couple school groups.
I'd say check it out for sure. Try to avoid the animal exhibits. Most of the animals, thankfully were indoors. That would figure, since many of them are from Sub Saharan Africa, whose climate is vastly different from lakefront Chicago. Sad really. I took this shot of the Zebras that happened to be out. They looked bored to tears, poor beasts...They just stood there, looking sad, shit...

I thought this sign was ironic:

"Help us protect our wildlife". Tough to do since they are no longer in the wild.
What's that? Captivity you say?

After tooling around for about 45 minutes, I finally found my friend. This is him below. He's one of the guys hired to string all those purdy lights.

After meeting up with him, I figured time to get out this pretty, but sad place.
I jumped back on the Raleigh and headed west. What a cool bike, hipsters take note. That thing on the bottom is called a kickstand.

All this bike plus a little dress up, for about a hundred bucks.
What's really sweet about the rear wine crate? What you can bring home in it.

Nice, a toast to Raleigh cruisers!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A sign that the world has changed.

Like we actually need more signs. As if the global depression isn't enough. I now have another sign that the world I once knew is no longer. We had our Bike Swap last weekend. It was loads of fun. For those of you who missed it, we have a video that Carene is editing of the two days. "Carene editing" is also synonymous with, "you may never see it". I'll keep hope alive however. My sign of change is this: If I had 5 bucks for every person who asked me, "what's a swap meet"? I could take a vacation in Wisconsin.
So here it is from Wikipedia.
A flea market or swap meet is a type of bazaar where inexpensive or secondhand goods are sold or bartered.

One would think that given the current economic climate, swap meets would be everywhere. But alas, it seems few people have even heard of them.
Sad...There are many bike swaps during the winter in the Midwest. Do yourself a favor, attend one. You won't regret it. Thinking about the Wiki definition, I really like the word Bazaar. So for next time look out for, "Lugs Bicycle Bazaar", although I'm sure some people still won't actually know what it is. For those who do, check this out.

This saddle was marked $5 dollars and sat around all day Saturday unsold. I got it, and it's no longer for sale. Wait til you see it polished.

A brand new Axiom Pannier bag. Great for the ladies or you softer boys. 20 bucks!

Beautiful vintage britches.

Bike crap galore

No, this wasn't for sale but this fella came by with this hipstered out Eddy Merckx.

There was tons of other stuff, like new cycling shoes for $5 dollars or leather saddles starting at $30. Most attendees had fun and found something to go home with. I'm sure we will do it again. There used to be a shop in Old Town, which is now just called Wells street. The shop was called the Bizarre Bazaar. They had all kinds of wacky stuff inside. It was such a cool place. That's it, that's what I'll call our next swap meet. "The Bizarre Bicycle Bazaar" Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Weekend you don't want to miss

I'll be there and have confirmed 5 other bike dealers/mechanics/collectors who will be unloading tons of cool stuff. Build up that winter bike. Get that new saddle. Find a treasure. Ignore dates on flyer. Actual dates 11/7-11/8 11am-4pm