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What Got Me Into Fixing Bikes

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

From a young age I was fascinated with cars. Muscle cars specifically. I knew the options and trim as well as year-specific details. I have actually lost knowledge in that area over time and have done my best to gain it back. Bicycles became a curiosity somewhat later. Really what got it going was hanging out with my friend Tony. I was around 12 and we would tinker on different projects in his backyard. I will say that my earliest bike memory is from around the time I was eight years-old and my chain slipped. My grandpa taught me how to reset the wheel. When I was in 5th grade, I got a brand new Giant Boulder for Christmas. That was in 2007 and between 2007 and 2011 I was constantly modifying it and trying to make it better. It came with road tires and was not very rugged at all. The first change I made was to swap the not so impressive 26x1.75" street tires for 26x2.125" knobby tires. As I was doing all of these things with my bike, the owner of the local bike shop started noticing. He offered me a job in the Spring of 2012, my first job ever. It was a rainy and miserable spring, but he trained me and gave me my start. I learned how to assemble a bike, tune the derailleurs, adjust the brakes, etc. I was not the best, but he saw the potential in me and helped me to get better. This relationship continued even after I no longer worked at the shop and overall I owe much of what I know to him. Fast forward to 2015 and two things happened. I went to college and my boss at the time introduced me to a local bicycle co-op. The co-op helped me to dive into a passion I had for antique bicycles, mainly Schwinns. My time maintaining the college fleet taught me how to make the most out of scarce resources. In my time as the fleet mechanic I got good at servicing coaster brakes. We had derailleur geared bikes, but since my shop consisted of a work table, some tools and no real maintenance equipment, my ability to tune a geared drivetrain was fairly limited. What really catapulted me to where I am now was good reviews from my neighbors and word-of-mouth both on the street and on Nextdoor, which has been my primary way of reaching people since 2013. I had helped my neighbor with his Schwinn Twinn and Mesa Runner and he put in a good word with friends and family. The rest is history. Today I have been working to build a robust network of bike people both on Instagram and surprisingly through people I've met through both Facebook MarketPlace and OfferUp. Building the website was the next logical step. For that I reached out to my web developer friend. It has been a long process, but it is paying off.

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The internet is certainly a wonderful place for just about anything you can think of and that certainly applies to bicycles. The key is to look for multiple sources just like you would anything else.

I will be the first one to admit that I am constantly learning new things about Schwinn and other makers constantly. For instance, I recently learned of a "King Size" American built for a 6' or taller