Thursday, March 20, 2008

Talking with Ralph / Windsor Mixte

I'm at the shop talking with Ralph who just got finished serving time and now hangs around the bike shop. I don't try to talk to him very much. He called the bike shop from prison quite a few times. Rob knows him. He knows that I know about Sturmey Archer and building wheels somehow. Someone told him this? He's painting the floor on Sunday. It's 7:21, and Steve and Matt are standing around outside the fence with me talking to Ralph about a guy who stole his waist pack. Old people are going by constantly with tiny dogs.

I'm only here for one good reason. I was getting a beer at CVS - mission accomplished - and headed toward the ocean somewhere - mission interrupted. Behind that CVS and Papa John's and whatnot on Simonton, there was an abandoned Windsor mixte frame bicycle. It has the same colors as the Windsor that I built as a 3 speed for my annual 3 speed tour to the beach. Cool! However: this mixte version is pretty rusty. There is some major surface rust, and it needs a whole lot of work. I almost left it there. However, leaving it wasn't possible. The handlebars are nice old alloy Nittos, and the cranks are decent. If I ever get anything powdercoated (kinda expensive) then maybe I can get a discount with two frames getting the same color. I'm considering this: getting several frames with crummy paint powdercoated, and building them with bike-respect as mechanically perfect upright bicycles. This is what I would truly like to do. If I could build a business around fixing every single detail of old abused bicycles and selling them as perfect comfortable simple machines: that'd be cool. But the investment in each bike is large, and selling for a profit could prove difficult. Many people do not want to spend several hundreds on a bicycle even if it is the best one in the world. Proving bestness can also be difficult. Test rides help. In any case, I think the Windsor was a cool find and I hope something decent comes of it. Yesterday I found a red Trek 730 frame with 700c wheels. Small size. The brakes, derailers, and cranks were all there. So were some wheels that might not be too bad. It's over at Eddie's, suspended figuratively in the zone between project and respectable hunk of metal. I know what you're thinking: two awesome finds, two days in a row. For real. I ghost rode the Windsor fast alongside my City Bike. That was my first ghost ride since a crash in Philly when I was just getting started with my basement bicycle business. It went fine and easy. I carried the Trek 730 on my shoulder while riding the City Bike. The shoulder method feels more sturdy, but it hurts after awhile. Either shoulder or ghostride are equally fantastic, because a man with two bicycles is a formidable force, often ecstatic.

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