Talk about all things Rat Rod Bikes.
OK, so there's been a lot of chatter lately about people stopping by to check out our bikes, have bikes fixed, try to buy bikes, etc...
For the second time today since I've gotten home I've had a kid or kids come to my door needing bike help. The kid I just helped out said "I'm glad you know how to work on bikes since Countryside (LBS) quit." Yeah, the local bike shop closed it's doors months back after over a year of just barely keeping the doors open. Since then more and more people have been coming to me.
So, I have no dreams of running a bicycle shop, I'm just not a business person, but I do love working on bikes and helping people get their bikes up and going again, so as I closed up the shop tonight I decided I would start this thread to document the work I do for free, the parts I give away, the parts I get "in trade", the stories, etc...
Justin's Bicycle Shop is OPEN FOR BUSINESS... err... CHARITY.
The ground floor of Justin's Bicycle Shop, my employees need to clean up.
Parts and riders.
The upstairs of the bike shop is still under construction from the stupid hurricane, other parts stock is all over the yard and in another building half a mile away.
Sunday April 1st- Not long after getting out of church 2 boys and a girl showed up at the house, 4th-6th graders. All 3 were riding Walgoose BMX bikes. I had patched a tire on one of these bikes the day before and he showed up today with a new thornproof tube, man that tube was thick and heavy. Still in my church clothes I opened the shop and put his bike on the stand. Removed wheel, swapped tube, reassembled, tensioned chain, and handed bike over. Done.
The girl brought a different style BMX tire to swap on her bike. The Mongoose flame tire was in perfect condition and she had a matched set, but she wanted this other one on the back. OK. I removed the wheel and discovered the bearings were very loose. I changed the tire, tightened the bearings, reassembled, tensioned the chain. I noticed her seat cover had ripped and all the padding was gone, exposing the staples... ouch. I dug around and found a new Schwinn BMX seat off of a 16" bike I had just bought my son and took off in favor of something different. I installed the seat. She also had no grips. I pulled out a Mongoose Rebel I had just bought for $30 days earlier (in perfect condition, I just wanted the mag wheels), and removed the grips and put them on her bike. She left her flame tire and busted seat (with decent seat guts) in my collection.
The third boy had his eyes on my junk pile asking about bikes I was just given a couple days earlier. I hadn't even looked at them, there was an old Huffy 10 speed road bike, both shifter cables broken at the levers. Dry rotted grey tires. I got out the compressor and filled the tires, he rode away on that bike leaving his Mongoose in the yard.
While doing all this work the kids were taking turns riding my spin cycle bike and monkey bike.
**just my $10.**. You are providing a service, which is obviously appreciated by your community! This is awesome and is very rewarding to both the recipient and the provider, obviously. However, if you "give something away", the value of that item, or work, can and often is preceived as ZERO, as in worthless.. I would suggest charging something, or at least have a gratuity jar. Having spent 25+ years in retail, including owning my own bike shop, I'm speaking from experience.
you may also want to get some Liability Insurance...
I will reiterate that I am not trying to rain on your parade, you should just be safe so you can continue to provide this valuable service...
Best of luck
Monday April 2nd- Not long after getting home from work the kid showed up from yesterday still riding the blue Huffy road bike, grinning ear to ear. I asked him if was taking his Mongoose home today, he avoided the subject. I'm going to have to deliver it. He brought a boy with him. I had fixed this kid's Walmart BMX bike before, chain, pedals, grips, brakes. He's a 7th grader, a big boy. He told me that the bike I had fixed for him was messed up again and he let someone have it for parts. Then he asked me for a bike. I walked out to the junk pile and pulled out an old green rigid mountain bike. I had given this to the kid on the blue Huffy before but his uncle made him return it. I aired up the tires and told him the front had a slow leak. He said "Now I know where you live, I can come back and have you work on it." Great, repeat business. He rode off.
Later after dinner I got a knock on the door, another 7th or 8th grader was here, this one has a nice Eastern BMX bike. I had once gone over to his house and replaced the 25t chainring for him. The chainring was fine, but his fork was loose... really loose. He had decided to go brakeless and removed his gyro and in reassembly everything got put together wrong. This was the first time I'd seen a fork threaded on the inside so that it wouldn't need a star nut and bolt. It confused me at first but then my little brain understood. He admitted that the fork fell out when he was removing the gyro. He had the top race installed on the bottom and without the gyro he needed more spacers, I didn't want to cut the fork since it had the internal threading. When I fixed his bike last he had given me a beat up Haro new school f&f, I went and grabbed it out of the pile and took some spacers off of it, reassembled and showed him how to correctly tighten the fork bearings. He said he needed some new grips. He had "long necks" and I had a similar pair that came on a fixed gear I have, I went and grabbed them and used the air compressor to slide them on for him. He test rode the bike, then let me and I sent him home before it got dark. I got to keep the ratty purple grips off of his bike.
I don't mind a little rain, especially raining reality. I figure if I started taking money, then I'd have to worry about the insurance thing. I know people could sue me, but I'm leaving that part up to God since this is part of my ministry of serving youth in the community. I don't mind being seen as worthless to some. If 9 out of 10 see what I do as a ZERO or worthless, but one sees it as a blessing, I can deal with that. People around here are poor, I am blessed to have spare parts and tools and a little skill, I'll keep at it till one or more of those things run out.
I know where you are coming from and if something horrible happens and one of those poor kids with greedy parents ends up suing me right out of my house, I give you permission to say "I told you so."
props to you Justin some of us arent in the position to do stuff like that, If I was you Id put a verse jar by the work bench and tell the kids if they can learn the verse thats their payment
99.9% of the kids I help either attend Sunday School, Worship Service, Children's Church, or AWANA at my church or they know me from leading Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the middle school and high school. I like the memory verse thing though!
OK, the shop just got another shipment of parts. Red pickup truck of free stuff.
#1- 1960s? JC Higgins women's bike from original owner, she said she bought it new for $20, it has a split top tube, that's all I noticed in the dark besides the head badge that looks printed, not embossed like my '56 JCH.
#2- Pnuematic 12" tire scooter with skateboard style deck and v-brakes, I'm gonna have fun with that. Edi: just found it, it's a Diggler Dirt Doggy: http://www.digglerstore.com/scooters_ki ... y.html#url
#3- Morgan Cycles tricycle in great shape! Exactly like this one; http://www.morgancycle.com/store/index. ... ucts_id=24
Who pays $199 for a kids tricycle?
I'll get photos in the light.
Great stuff, Justin! You're doing a good thing for the community. I'd love yo get to this point with my ministry here in Greenville. And with God's grace and generous donors, I'll get there!
Keep it up!
Three Nails, One Cross, & the Sins of the World!
RRB BO#7 http://www.ratrodbikes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=56476
Start riding goofy homemade bikes around your neighborhood and the kids will come out of the woodwork. Letting them ride different bikes will get them interested in riding. Give them a bike and they will be hooked, and you will have a loyal non-paying customer for life.
When I first moved to RoRap and got back into bikes I started with a 1950 Columbia frame and a set of wheels that someone gave me, nothing else. I found the receipt the other day while cleaning up from where I went to a bike shop in Rocky Mount and bought a crank, bearings, pedals, chainring, chain, and other assorted. I couldn't believe what I paid for those parts, because now I throw away those parts when I get tired of looking at them, but I had nothing and all my "fishing" hadn't gotten me any parts. Now 2 years later I get "donations" all the time. Talk about bikes enough, once people stop thinking you're crazy, they'll start finding their old bikes for you.
it is a good thing you do ... I dont mind helping peeps with bikes.. I guess the point of my post that I did not articulate
very well.. was the fact that people ask to buy my bikes and I tell them I cannot sell them because of the amount of money
it cost me to built them... I will patch a tube .. adjust brakes.. what ever they need.. and never take money ...
but like I was saying its a good thing you do
I love the smell of fresh barn finds in the morning
This thread wasn't a dig on you, your thread just helped me realize that I'm not the only one who people are going to for their biking needs, and since I'm already doing the work I might as well document it.
been there / done that.
you can have it , man.