Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

I Am That Redkneck Neighbor

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.

We'll see.


Labels: , ,


At 3:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jon,
what are you doing with that orange Peugeot folder that I see in the foreground? I had hoped that you would build it up soon. No response to my comments on its dedicated page.

At 3:23 PM , Anonymous Charles Garcia said...

Jon you Mo'Fo'. How about hooking up an old Destinations Cyclery alum!

At 5:41 PM , Blogger Jon said...

Email me, man! The address is at the bottom of the front page on

At 6:43 PM , Anonymous red light green light said...

I want you to have the best rummage ever and hope that the college students pick up on it in full force!!
I just hope that all of the tightwhad Denver CL jerks don't swarm in and try to pick the carcass clean ahead of everybody else...
I hope we'll get some good pic's from the sale!

At 10:54 PM , Anonymous red light green light said...

Hey Jon,
Umm... What is that red frameset w/ the silver lugs in the foreground..? It looks pretty old...And interesting...

At 7:37 AM , Blogger Jon said...

I'm not sure what brand the frame is. I think it's French, and it belonged to the grandfather of the guy I got it from.

Unfortunately, between the time I looked at it, and when I decided to buy it, it got spray painted red and the lugs were painted silver.

What makes that unfortunate is that paint apparently ran down into the seat tube and glued the seapost in. I've tried all sorts of brute force methods to get it out, to no avail.

I supposed I could try to get some laquer thinner to work its way down,and see if that works.

At 7:40 AM , Blogger Jon said...

Anonymous @ 2:16, I am palnning on getting the folder on the road, this summer. I go back and forth between finding the odd-sized tires to go on the original steel wheels, or replacing the wheels entirely with modern 24" MTB wheels so that I have alloy rims and more-readily available tires.

Sorry I haven't responded to your comments, but I'm not sure what "dedicated page" you are referring to.

At 9:09 AM , Anonymous Richard said...

That is the most beautiful picture I have seen in a long time. So many high quality bikes.

I was wondering what happened to the Campania. I´ll be giving you a call July 21, 2010 to build it it on the calendar.

What did you do end up doing with the Giant mountain bike?

At 9:22 AM , Blogger Jon said...

The Giant went to a guy I work with. He was looking for a bike like that, so it worked out nicely.

At 9:25 AM , Blogger Jon said...


Sorry, it just occurred to me that you were referring to the original blog post.

I didn't see your comments.

Generally, if they aren't left in the first few days after I post, I won't see them. It's a good idea to leave a comment on the current post, and just refer to one from the past by date, if the post is over 7 or 8 days old.

And, I havern't gotten into the bike yet, so I don't know anything about the headset. I'll be sure to check it out, as I work on it, though.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home