Sunday, 26 July 2009


The distinction between refurbishment and restoration was made clearly by the late great Sheldon Brown.

I do not restore bicycles for a number of reasons, there are some nitpicking bike snobs who manage to find fault with any bike they look at; it may be the finish, decals, incorrect diameter spokes or some imagined anchronism - and by doing what I do I create bikes which they consider beneath contempt.  I really don't care, people who know everything cannot learn anything.

I refurbish bicycles to create bikes that I want to ride, the sort of bikes the shops don't sell.  This hobby costs me money, I have yet to make a profit on anything.  It is something I do for fun.  Originality is an illusion; and soundbites have no depth.

The materials I work with are stuff that is cheap, currently out of fashion, second-hand, free or surplus to someone else's requirements. I have a lathe and a mill so sometimes I will make an item.

It is necessary to be brutal.  If I take a bike down to the tip, I probably rescued it from there in the first place.  It got some attention, TLC and miles.  Bikes are not alive but I give them life, perform transplants and sometimes find a caring home.  I can't afford to muck around with top-flight machines and so far no-one has been offended enough to say anything to me about what I have done.  Mostly people assume because I ride an old (dirty) bicycle that I am poor and the quality of some machines is utterly lost on them, because if it isn't shiny or new it's no good.  I don't tell the story of every bike I have owned.

I am under no obligation to restore lovingly to factory standard any bicycle I have.  Period-correct parts do not interest me, function is my watchword.  I reserve the right to give up on any project if I lose interest.  Now that ebay is charging 10% on postage more of my stuff will end up down the tip and Royal Mail will lose business to cheaper parcel delivery companies.

I also go back, edit and update entries.  If you have read an entry before it may have changed if ever you return to this blog.