This was the scene in my back yard, yesterday. (No, it doesn't always look like this.) Still, my neighbor to the north (Canada, let's call her) did poke her head out of her second-story bedroom window and ask if I was opening a bike shop.
"Kinda..." was my reply.
If you can see it in enough detail (click for BIG
), you will notice that in this picture are three main piles of bikes; the two closest to the house are the most complete and most easily made rideable. The third, largish, pile are bikes mostly slated to be parts donors, and then some random stuff (eBay bound, to be built for friends, etc.) are scattered about.
That's a lot of bike. And, they don't include my personal bikes or the pile of parts donors to the side of the house. Come to think of it, I have a few more in the smaller storage building.
As my 3 or 4 regular readers know, I have been building and selling (mostly) fixed gear bikes under the name GrinderBikes
for the past few years. When I started doing so, business was pretty good. At that time, inexpensive fixed gear bikes weren't widely available. The standard procedure to get into the fixed gear scene was to build one out of a old road bike (a conversion
, as it's known). A lot of people, lacking tools and/or mechanical ability, would come to people like myself to have one built up. Bike shops wouldn't even discuss doing that, around here.
Well, that's no longer the case. Purpose built, sub-$500 fixed gear bikes are in every major manufacturer's line-up, now, and in every bike shop in town. Plus, there are plenty of new manufacturers/importers specializing in such. So, the market for my conversions has pretty much dried up.
Lately, I have building more commuter bikes and such than anything else. But, I don't have an easy way to advertise, widely, that I do so and the volume of sales is low. Therefore, I have built up quite an extensive inventory of donor bikes and parts (as you can see). I have so many, that I have no storage room for anything else.
Why drag them all out into the yard? Well, I am going to get 40 or 50 of these bikes rolling, and have a huge bicycle-oriented yard sale, sometime in April. I am going to advertise it on Craigslist, and price the bikes at "can't pass this bargain up" levels and (hopefully) get them back on the road. Whatever doesn't sell will go to the local bike co-op.
As of now, the bikes to be refurbished are lined up neatly on the patio. The donor bikes are stacked neatly against the dog pen, and my motorcycle and scooter are in the 10x14 metal shed, out of the weather. (Along with the Campania, Richard.)
So, now, I have to get busy, making the bikes safe and reliable.
If this yard sale approach works out, it might become the new paradigm for GrinderBikes. I'll still build bikes request, but I'll concentrate on building up a sellable fleet then blow them out once or twice a year. It might even be worth my while to get a table at Velo Swap.
Labels: bike sales, commuters, conversions