The best bike is the bike you ride!

My overwhelming philosophy since I started in the retail cycling business is that a bike is only as good as the amount it gets ridden. Whether an issue of fit or practicality, a bike needs to make its owner want to get out and use it.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I found the article below from a friend on Facebook, and in reading through it, it's really astonishing to me that more people don't bike to work.   But, that's part of my mission at Green Path.    Everyone should own and ride a bike, whether for recreation or transportation, it's got some pretty incredible (and quantifiable, per the link above) benefits!

So, get on your bike, or get a bike, and USE it!  Ride to work, ride to play, or just plain ride for fun.  It's all good.  Really, it is!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

As promised....

The Trek is completed!  It's a gorgeous bike, even though I'm not usually wild about the color silver, it has some nice understated, classic graphics, and the Velo Orange stuff lends a bit of polish to the bike.  With the triple butted steel, it rides as nice as it looks, and with new tires and the fresh tune, it's going to stay that way for a long, long time to come.

Pictures are here:

Come and get it!    It's priced at $400.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Some new inventory!

Well, despite the holidays, I've had some time to finish up a project in the shop and have also decided to sell my city bike, as I'm relacing it with something a little different.  Change is good, and it'll be fun to build up another city bike, so it's on the market!

First, the Sears Austrian is now for sale.  It's an older Sears, 3 speed, made in Austria by Steyr.   This model was very well made with high quality steel, far better than many other Sears bikes, and has been completely rebuilt.  The rims are now Sun CR18 alloy rims, so they are lighter and stronger, with hubs from Sturmey Archer.  The rear is a 3 speed/coaster brake and new as of about a year ago, and the front is a dynamo/drum brake hub, with the heavy duty 90mm drum on the front.   It has B&M lighting front and rear, plus a Civia Loring rear rack and a Wald basket on the front, and a broken in Brooks B67 with the matching leather grips.  Naturally, it also has Velo Orange hammered fenders on it.

It's been an excellent utility bike for getting groceries and other errands, plus pulling my daughter on the trail a bike, and it's designed for maximum utility.

Pictures are here:

It's priced at $550.

The second bike, and a very interesting and fun build, is an old Raleigh Record that's been brought back to life.  It has a new fork, and has Raleigh/Suntour derailleurs and shifters, DiaCompe brake levers, and a Super Mighty crankset.   The tires, cables, and Velo Orange saddle are new, and it sports some cool vintage Cinelli striped bar tape and some vivid derailleur cables, too.  It's a 54cm frame and has a fairly wide range of fit.

Pictures are here:

It's priced at $350.

There's still more coming, too.  The Centurion is still available, for now, and I've got a Trek Elance 310 coming, with a full Suntour Cyclone group and some new Velo Orange bling.   I'll have pictures and a full description of the Trek soon!

In the meantime, shoot me a note at if any of these bikes look interesting to you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An interesting new acquisition

Over the weekend, I had the good fortune to have my Dad help me get a new mountain bike off of CL.  I found an old Raleigh, listed as a "Mountain Tour", and I immediately recognized the SunTour thumb shifters and a Nitto bull moose bar/stem, so I was super excited to get the actual bike.

My dad picked it up for me and had it ready on Sunday, so after my cyclocross race, I got to see it in the flesh for the first time.  I had acquired a Raleigh Tamarack - a steel, fully rigid mountain bike, originally designed as a "mountain style 10 speed."  It had bolt on wheels, the aforementioned SunTour shifters and the bar, plus an apparently brand spanking new Shimano mega range derailleur (Tourney, I believe) and some really old, cheap looking mountain cranks and dry rotted tires.  In all honesty, my initial impression was a vague disappointment - the bike appeared to be cheaper than I had expected and lacking a dereailleur hanger and with the bolt on wheels, I was concerned that it might not even be off road worthy at all.

Usually, the arrival of a new bike is cause for much celebration, and the bike is immediately subjected to a complete once over, a thorough cleaning, and then some idle speculation on what the best use/upgrades might be, but in this case, being as I had just finished a cold, icy cross race and was trying to get some lunch and still make the Bronco game on TV, I merely unloaded it at home, putting the front wheel on finger-tight, and let it sit.

Today, having recovered a bit more from the weekend, and having a bit of time on my hands, I started to read some more about the bike on line - using google and reviewing old Raleigh catalog scans to find out that it's a 1984 model, and that it also appears to be a bit higher quality than I had expected.  Apparently, mountain bikes in 1984 had some substanitally different standards compared to the road bikes of the same era, and what might at first appear to be an indication of low quality (e.g. bolt on wheels) was actually compensation for the lack of a high quality quick release that was acceptable to use mountain biking. 

So, as I read more, I found out that my bike was initially sold with a leather portage strap.   I had observed a bolt in a brazed on hole towards the top of the seat tube, but I really had no idea what it was there for.   It was used as one end of a leather strap, about like a section of a belt, that ran from the seat tube to the top tube, so it'd be comfortable to carry your bike over obstacles.  Clever!

In addition, mountain bikes in the early/mid 80's were also designed to be a cross between a touring bike and what we think of as a true mountain bike - they have lots of braze ons for fenders, racks and so forth (and, as it turns out, carry straps!), and as I had thought that a good use of my new-to-me bike might be bike camping off road, it appears that I inadvertently made a really good choice of bikes for it.  It already has a nice older Blackburn rack on it, too - so I don't even need to buy a rack for my panniers.  Bonus!

And the biggest surprise, and, actually, an intersting twist, is that the bike rides on 650B wheels!  650B wheels are an odd size - in 1984 they were not uncommon as a touring bike size - but they are actually 27.5 inches in diameter, which puts them solidly between the 26 inch "standard" mountain bike size and the 29 inch size that is rapidly taking over the market.   In fact, there are currently more 650B mountain bikes being made - something that hasn't happened in some time - as the 650B wheel size is making a comeback.   Funny how my 27 year old mountain bike is suddenly more cutting edge - or at least is something that is being revived!    It's also oddly appropriate for me, as I've been a big fan of 29ers and an exclusive 29er rider now for several years, so having a 650B vintage mountain bike is perfect.

In any event, I'm in for a fun experiment.  An older MTB seems like it'd be great to ride with some of my less extreme riding partners, like my daughter or my sister, and that it might also be a fun bike to take on the trails of a place like White Ranch or Golden Gate to get to a backcountry camp site.  I can get some nice new tires for it, and get a good VO saddle, too, so it's comfy, and I can goof around on the trails in my blue jeans and hiking boots on my old six fiddy!

PS:  as a little inspiration here's a picture of the same model bike, dolled up by someone else.  I'm leanning towards a similar build for mine, only I'll have a nice rear rack!

The latest bikes for sale!

I've currently got two bikes that are available in the shop and ready to roll out the door:

1)  A 62cm Peugeot PH10L.  It's a nice sport tourer, ready to be set up for randos or just riding around town, or even just comfy road riding.  It's a bigger frame, but not quite as big as you might expect for a 62.  It's constructed of smooth Carbolite 103 tubing, and is overall in great vintage shape.  It has a new Velo Orange saddle, some hand stitched elk hide grips, and matching leather toe straps.  It's tuned and ready to roll!

 Pictures are here:

I'm asking $325 for it.

2) A 58cm Centurion Pro Tour 15.  Yep, it's my old tourer - I decided to get something different as the chainstays were a little short and the bike had a shimmy that was really bad with a heavy rear load, so I found a Raleigh Kodiak and I've moved my stuff over to that bike.  As it was also a hard bike to convert to 700c (maybe that was part of the shimmy), I also put it back to 27 inch tires.

This Centurion is set up as an excellent winter commuter or all purpose/do anything bike. It has 27 inch knobbies (in a fat 1 3/8 inch size!) that are brand new, and Shimano shifting.  The frame is a little rough cosmetically, but since Centurion chromed their frames under the paint, most of the spots where the paint rubbed off are chrome now.    There is one spot, you'll notice it as the frame closeup, that looks a little rougher, like the chrome wasn't quite enough, but it looks worse than it really is.

In any event, the Centurion is a smooth riding bike with lots of braze ons for everything imaginable, including front and rear racks and fenders, plus two water bottle cages on the down tube.  You can add racks and fenders, maybe some dynamo lighting, and it would make an excellent city bike, or just ride it as a sport tourer or credit card tourer.   Or, ride it as is and make it your adventure bike!

Pictures are here:

I'm asking $250 for this one.

Of course, either of these bikes can be further customized if you like!

To find out more, or to arrange a test ride, email me at!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Some interesting new shifting ideas

One pleasure I've discovered as I've revisted some of the bike products of days gone by is just how nice the old SunTour shifters were made and how much I really like them for shifting.  Many of SunTour's shifters have a nice micro ratcheting action that isn't indexing, but is a good feel, and also adds just enough resistance to make the shifting feel just right.   Unfortunately, the shifters only come as downtube shifters or thumb shifters for the most part, making the choices a bit limiting on where you can place them.

But then I found this interesting product as I was searching through some bike stuff:

I think it looks like a great way to preserve shifting on a bike with some nice SunTour components, one of my favorites, or for anyone else who doesn't want/need to have a full on integrated STI brifter.  They're not cheap at $120/pair, but could be just the thing to complete that perfect build for an older road bike or even a cross bike!

For a cheaper setup, there's also Kelly's version - it places the shifter in a different position, but still plenty useful:  

Either one preserves the smooth shifting of your vintage gear, and doesn't force you to bar cons or down tube shifters.  Now you really can have it your way, and that's what Green Path is all about!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I used to race cyclocross and I really loved it.  It was a bunch of fun because it was absurd, yet intense, to be out on a road style bike with skinny little knobs, going full out for 45 minutes with lots of running, carrying the bike, and sometimes, falls, too!  In a sense, it's a little bit like being a little kid again, playing in the mud and snow.

Cyclocross helped me build lots of skills that helped both my road and mountain bike riding, and it was also fun because it was smaller than the mountain bike races I had entered, and the racers were far friendlier and more relaxed.  On top of that, the courses are usually very specator friendly.   You ride laps, about 5-8, depending on the course and your speed (or, in my case, the lack thereof), and so if you have friends or family come and set up in a good spot, like by some barriers or near a steep hill, they can get a very entertaining race experience and witness some classic falls.

So, after years of not having a cross bike, or having a cross bike that I commuted on and didn't race, I've decided I need to give it a go again.   I'm older, slower, and heavier now, so it should be interesting, but on the bright side, I'm hoping it'll still be fun!

Here's the race I'm planning for the weekend:!__cyclo-x-sienna-lake/directions

Yeah, Sienna Lake.  Seems kind of appropriate for me to do that race...

So come on out and see the fun.  The old guys race early - maybe I'll see you there!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Velo Orange elk hide city grips

I recently decided to add some Velo Orange elk hide grips to a couple of bikes and I was really, really impressed when I added them to the Velo Orange porteur bars I was using in the build.  I simply put on a layer of cloth bar tape, which, as it turns out, wasn't absolutlely necessary, but did add a little cush and added a bit of texture.

They went on easily after some initial trial and error - I taped the bars first, then laid the elk hide over the bars.  I then spent a few minutes working the leather, trying to form it around the bars,before I peeled off the double sided tape and had at it with the needles and waxed thread.

Unlike my earlier attempt on the Miyata, which had MTB diameter bars, the Porteurs were road diameter, so the seams set up nicely in a baseball style stitch - I'm not sure if that's the official name, but take a look at the pictures and decide for yourself.

Once I completed the sewing, I popped in the old school bar plugs, which looked just right, and then applied some leather preservative, to darken and condition the leather, so it just matched the saddle, too.

The pictures below are on the Raleigh Super Course I have for sale, priced at $350, and with the smooth Reynolds steel and the VO leather, it's a luxurious city cruiser!

I can, BTW, do this for your bike, too!  Email me and we can plan color, price and any other extras you might enjoy!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In the shop now

Veloswap gave me some good opportunites to add to my inventory.  I added a Miyata 210, and a Peugeot, model TBD, but with the carbolite 103 tubing.   A picture is below.  I'm trying to determine the best bet for fixing it up.  My thinking is a nice VO Model 3 saddle, plus some elkhide leather handlebar covers, maybe in brown, maybe in black.    That would set it up as a nice rando bike or classic town bike.  Whatever color the saddle and grips are, I plan to make the toe clip straps matching VO leather.

It's a large, and will be for sale shortly.  Notice the slick internal brake cable routing, too!

Any opinions are welcome!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A little bicycle education

It's very important to make sure that you use the correct names when you are describing the parts of your bike.  Failing to name the part correctly can cause issues with getting a problem resolved or cause you to order the wrong parts.    With that in mind, the link below shows some of the correct names for parts you might find on a vintage bike.  You can click on the picture to see the labels better, too!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Welcome Ritchey Logic!

Green Path Cycles is proud to announce that it is now Denver's newest Ritchey dealer!

Ritchey makes outstanding components for road and mountain bikes, tailored to fit the budget without breaking the bank, yet their top of the line stuff is also some of the nicest you can get.

I've personally ridden Ritchey on my mountain, road, and cross bikes over the last decade or more, and found that they are outstanding components that you can count on.

In addition to excellent components, Ritchey has also expanded their offerings on bikes, as well, for customers who'd like a new, high end bike.   In addition to the traditional offerings of the Breakaway and Breakaway Cross, Ritchey also offers the P-29, a 29er hard tail, and has brought back the Swiss Cross in a new and improved cyclocross machine!

For pricing and availability, or to just view some beautiful bike porn, go to, and to order, email or give us a call at (303)317-5326.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Centurion ProTour 15

So, I was posting some pictures on Flickr of my Centurion.  I found this bike on Craigslist, mis-listed as a Centurion Pro and since I was looking for a touring bike to get me started and preferably to restore/customize/improve, I was really excited to find it.  The pictures looked rough that were in the listing, but when I got there and rode it, it was a smooth, polished ride, despite all the negatives of the componentry.  The frame was actually a little rougher than I imagined, but I was happy to see that the chrome plating that Centurion put underneath was still intact.

My original pictures of the Centurion, as acquired

Since I've had the bike, quite a bit of improvements have been done and more are planned.  So far, I've put on a Velo Orange saddle, updated to a new bar/stem and barcons, added a front and rear rack and will be converting to 700c wheels in a few days time, when the parts arrive.  My baby will also be getting stainless steel fenderes, a dynamo front hub and lights, and new crank, BB, and headset. 

I've found Suntour front and rear derailleurs for it, and a NOS 7 speed freewheel and new chain.  It's still a little fidgey on the shifting - I'm not sure the chain length is correct, and since I'm still mid-upgrade, there's lots to be done.  Once I have the new cranks on, I'll figure out the chain length and get the shifting dialed in.

It's been a growing project - I initially thought it'd be a decent sized project, but as I've worked on it, I have found more and more things done to it over time that weren't quite what I want - the rims, for example, are 27 inch and gargantuan in terms of width.  Surprisingly, they're listed as 325 grams, so they're light, but they're also 27mm wide, which severely limits my tire size choices and also precludes fenders from fitting, as I discovered trying to put on the stainless steel beauties I purchased.  Nevertheless, despite the scope creep on the bike, it has been a ton of fun to build it and plot the next upgrade or fix!

In any event, I've continued riding the bike as I've put in the work on her.  I ride to work, to the shop, and generally around whenever I can - she's a comfortable bike and very practical, especially with some panniers.  I've been very, very impressed with the design of the bike and how despite all the sub optimal treatment she's gotten, she still does very well, thank you.... I can't wait to have her set up more to my liking!

And, later, I promise to add some pictures of the work in progress.   Maybe it'll be interesting to some of you to see how it all is coming together, and, when it's "done" I'll add more pictures, still!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dynamo lighting

OK, I admit it.  I'm a big, big fan of dynamo lighting on a bike.  Why?  Well, there's a number of reasons.

First, dynamo lighting is always available.   Whether it's a bottle dynamo, a bottom bracket model, or a hub dynamo, it's always attached to your bike, and it never needs charging.  There's no need to remember to attach it when you leave, nor a need to remove it when you park the bike for that grocery trip, or when it's parked at work.  When you need it, you switch on the headlight, and, if you have a tail light, too, they both come on and supply you with the light you need.  In fact, the technology on dynamo lighting has evolved to the point that you can purchase a wide variety of lights with the ability to sense when its dark and turn on the headlight (and taillight) automatically!  What could be more convenient than always having light, exactly when you need it? 

Second, dynamo lighting is generally quite high in quality and reliability.   Dynamo lighting is very popular in Europe and two of the leading dynamo light suppliers are based in Germany - Schmidt and Busch And Mueller (B&M).  There are some very stringent safety standards and regulations for lights and bikes in the EU, and as a result, we get a product that is very high quality across the board.  Whether it's a halogen bulb light designed for economy, or an LED light that you won't need to replace often, if at all, the light patterns have been refined and the products from hub to headlight are all designed with reliability and functionality in mind.  These are headlights many Europeans use because they have bikes and not cars for transportation, so they have to be top notch.

Third, a dynamo lighting system can also add versatility/utility to a touring or utility bike.  One of the newer products available is a set up that allows you to charge/use your mobile phone/GPS or other USB powered device while on the bike.  While this may not be a big issue for commuters, it does allow a cyclist on tour to keep his electronics fully charged as he rides to the next destination, rather than needing to limit its use to ensure adequate battery life.

Finally, and it's an important point for me:  Dynamo light is, relatively speaking, good for the environment!   Forget about batteries that not only are environmentally unfriendly to manufacture, but also go straight to the landfill when they are discharged.  Even if they're rechargeable, the batteries still have many toxins and exotic metals used to create them and allow them to hold their charge, and if they are rechargeable, odds are that the power to charge them comes from some non-green power generation.  Dynamos, by contrast, might have similiar, or slightly reduced environmental impact from manufacturing, but are powered by you. 

With all these advantages, it may seem that dynamo lighting is the perfect solution for a bike.  Mostly, that's true, but there are two primary considerations before getting a dynamo light.

The first issue with dynamo lighting is cost.   A dynamo system will never be as cheap as a small battery powered light, but it's a far superior setup.   While you can invest $400-500 in building up the lightest Schmidt dynamo hub into a top notch wheel and then getting some high quality, top of the line lights, you can also get something nearly as good and every bit as functional for far less.   For example, Sanyo offers a reliable, reasonably high quality dynamo front hub for $40.   You can get it from some places (including Green Path Cycles, soon) as a prebuilt wheel, too, for anywhere from $75 and up, so cost-wise, it doesn't have to be a large jump from a traditional front wheel.  Dynamo hubs are currently available from Sanyo, Shimano, SRAM, Sturmey Archer, and Schmidt, and are generally not too much more compared to a regular front hub.   

For those who don't want to spring for a whole wheel, there's also the option of running a bottle generator, that runs off the tire sidewall, or a bottom bracket generator, which runs off the smooth center tread of your rear wheel.  Both of these choices, while not as weatherproof or convenient as a hub, are good economical choices for powering some dynamo lights.

Likewise, in addition to affordable hub options, the lights themselves cover a wide range of costs.  A simple halogen dynamo powered light can be had for $30 or so, and an entry level LED light for around $40-50.   You can certainly spend more, just like you can spend more to get a battery powered stadium light to use on your mountain bike, but you don't need to for many applications.  A taillight, too, is affordable, usually running about $20-30, again comparable to its battery operated counterpart.

The second issue with the dynamo setup is weight.   Really, a dynamo setup doesn't necessarily weigh much more than a traditional battery light, although some of the newer state of the art LED setups have very light batteries, but rather that the weight is always with you.  A dynamo hub can add a pound to the bike, which can sometimes be concerning to the weight weenies out there worried about every pound.  But, when you consider that having other lights is also added weight, and that the added weight, as a percentage of your total weight - e.g. body weight, clothes/gear weight, bike weight - the added weight of the dynamo system is fairly minimal, especially considering the safety benefits it supplies.  True, it's not for a race bike, but for a utility bike, a commutter, or a touring bike, dynamo lighting is a small amount of weight for something you'd need to have anyway, at least part of the time.

So, that's why I love dynamo lights, and also why Green Path Cycles is looking to become a leader in supplying dynamo lighting systems for all kinds of cyclists.  It's better and it's greener.  What's not to love?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Welcome Velo Orange!

It's now 100% official - Green Path Cycles now carries Velo Orange as their newest dealer in Denver!  While I work on determining what products I want to stock, I  can take any and all orders for things Velo Orange that your little heart desires.

I'm also looking forward to many happy updates of some magnificent older bikes, using the highly functional and exceptionally beautiful products that Velo Orange has to offer.

If you're interested in ordering, shoot me a note at and I'll be happy to get the ball rolling!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Coming together!

Well, I've managed to get the website started.  It's, not too surprising.

I've got the basics together,but I'm also finding that I'm bumping up against some of the limits of what I've bought, already!   I was a little surprised by that.  But, the bright side is that it's up and as I learn all of the things I need to know about managing and creating a website, it'll get better and better.  I've got some plans, for sure, for what I want to do.  Now I just need to figure out how to get them all done.

I did, however, manage to get pictures up for the two bikes I'm selling!  I'll have more pictures soon, once I can figure out how to manage the pictures better.  I've already got several ideas on how to get things done, so it hopefully won't be long.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Derycke

So, I found this bicycle and it had a broken bottom bracket spindle - I was really surprised to see that it had actually broken.  The rear wheel also had a wicked flat spot, so I ended up tracking down a rare 36 hole 650A rim to replace it, so now it should be good to go for another42 years.  The rest of the bike was in good, if neglected shape, and the more I worked on fixing it and cleaning it up, the more I realized how unique it was!

For example, it has a built in rear rack, which is very practical, and it also has a front fork light mount, and some tiny loops for running dynamo wires.  In addition, it also has a one piece bar and stem, and some nice, wide tires - bigger than the EA3 tires you usually find on this type of bike.  With the Sturmey 3 speed rear,

Add to that a nice patina on the original paint, lots of white pin striping, and a detailed, stylish chain guard, and this bike is a vintage work of art, too!  New white wall tires complete the look.

It's a bike like this that inspired me to start my business and share these types of bikes.  It's practical and beautiful, and will be the perfect bike for the lucky buyer to enjoy for a long, long time.

But enough talk - here's some pictures to enjoy!  It was for sale, but sold quickly.  If this type of bike is something you'd like me to get for you, shoot me an email: and I'll be happy to see what I can do to make your bike dreams come true.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

So, here goes!

It's been a year since I moved back downtown, and while I appreciated that the move was a big change for me, I also was excited about being back in my old neighborhood. One of the first things I did, too, was to buy myself a new townie bike - I justified it as a car substitute, little knowing that it would inspire me to bigger and better things than I ever imagined!

The bike was an old Sears three speed I'd found on Craigslist. It was $75 and had old oxidized spokes, and a completely disconnected Sachs Torpedo Dreigang, basically a German copy of the venerable Sturmey-Archer three speed, and as I rode it home, I told myself that I was sure to ride it enough to justify the asking price.

At the same time, I also was working on a big project for work, and shortly after I acquired the Sears, I was given a bonus of an Amazon gift card, which after a little research, I discovered could be used to purchase parts to fix up my Sears.

So began the changes - first with some new cheap wheels and baskets, but then growing to a set of Brooks grips, a Brooks saddle, dyno powered lights, and eventually my discovery of the wonderful company called Velo Orange - too late for their saddles, but I did get some great hammered fenders, and oodles of ideas on how I could do things differently.

Changes aside, the most significant thing I noticed about the Sears was how much I loved to ride it. I rode in rain, snow, sleet, and sun. I looked forward to riding it, and could ride in jeans and a nice warm peacoat or whatever comfortable clothes the weather permitted. While I started by thinking I'd ride to restaurants or the park, soon I was riding to the grocery store and running the dogs with it, too. The Sears, while undoubtedly the cheapest bike I've owned, had grown into my go-to bike that I looked forward to riding.

The funny part is that I did already love cycling. I'd had ten years of mountain bike racing and twelve years of bicycle commuting behind me, and was an avid cyclist whatever the environment. I'd worked in bike shops, and spent years building my own bikes and keeping them tuned. My saddle on any of my other bikes actually cost more than I paid for the whole bike. From what I'd been lead to believe, my cheap, old, decrepit Sears had one foot in the grave and should have been a chore, not a joy, to ride.

Riding the Sears also prompted me to explore a bit more, and soon I started volunteering at the Bike Depot, wrenching on lots of vintage (and many department store) bikes, and as I did so, more and more I found that many of the bikes that are out there as vintage can be not only serviceable, but unique, and competitive with many of the new, China-made bikes that were billed as city bikes, comfort bikes, commuters, or even cyclocross bikes.

Thus, the passion I have for cycling and the thrill of refurbishing and customizing the Sears combined to spark an idea. What if I could do what I did with my city bike for other people? I could advocate for cycling as transportation, I could have fun building bikes and apply the knowledge I've gained in the various upgrades, so that I could create bikes that are affordable, unique, and, effectively, recycled rather than being abandoned.

To start, I had a few other bikes I worked on restoring, to see if I enjoyed it, and to see if I was good at it. I tried to clean them up and keep them original where the original parts worked, upgrading things tastefully, but also functionally. My first was a 1974 Legnano Gran Premio. While I was working at the Bike Depot, that lime green beauty hung seductively from a hook in the shop, drawing me over to ogle her lugs and her unique seat tube junction. Soon, I'd brought her home, and added some red cloth bar tape, some neo classic water bottle holders on the handlebars, and a nice Velo Orange saddle. She was a great vintage ride and lots of fun, but also a little too small for me - and I also found that after years and years of clipless pedals, I just wasn't confident going back to the old clip and strap setup!

So, the Legnano got sold and went to someone who appreciates her. And I went on to get a Bridgestone 400, with the idea of trying out some bike touring. I set it up as an urban runabout for a while - I added Suntour thumb shifters and a French style city bar, thinking that it'd also be a good setup for a long day in the saddle, but when I used it on my commute to the office, it was so uncomfortable as to not even fit me for a commuter. It was a gorgeous bike, but it just didn't fit right. That, and discovering that panniers wouldn't fit well meant that this bike, too, was a learning experience and, on top of that, I was eager to start work on my next project...

And so it went - I discovered that I was pretty good at this - it was easy to get the bikes tuned and running smoothly, and from there, I had a knack for picking out the goodies to make the bike really shine so that it would find a happy home.

From there, it was only a short leap to opening up a shop of my own to build these kind of bikes and to make all the things I loved so much about my city bikes accessible to lots more people. I'm not there yet, but I have gotten some additional bikes, to be posted soon, and I've gotten most of the groundwork done to make my shop more than just a dream. As it stands, I've got to get a website up and running, and set up accounts with my distributors, and then get the word out that I've opened my doors!

Holy cow! I'm a bike shop owner!!