‘Re’Cycle Sprog and the recycled bicycle – the ultimate way to travel by bike
A couple of months ago a friend was having a clear out of various pieces of unwanted junk. As we chatted away something caught my eye nestling in amongst the debris – a bike.
I have to be honest, I am a veritable magpie when it comes to shiny ‘mechanical’ bits, with the loft in our house being testament to this. Over time it has become a kind of man cave for want of a better term; a zone of safety where all of my shiny treasures are kept hidden away from prying eyes (sorry Karen). Here the shiny bits have multiplied in number, to such an extent that if I ever found the time I could build up a fleet of bikes for the Cycle Sprog family.
So what would be the harm of adding just one more? A closer inspection revealed that hiding beneath the layers of dust that year upon year had settled upon this old bicycle there lay a vintage Carlton bicycle. Unfortunately, the ravages of time were plain for all to see. Where once there had been chrome there was now rust, spread across it like a patchwork quilt of orange and brown. The thing is I couldn’t let it go to the dump, so it seemed only right to give it a home and see if I could salvage this classic bike and create something magical.
Decision made. With that I hoisted it up onto the roof mounted cycle carrier and headed home. Thankfully Karen was out, so swiftly I unstrapped it, removed the wheels and hoisted it up into loft out of harms (and Karen’s) way.
And there it sat for a couple of months. Until today that is. Today I decided it was time I started to do something with the secret stash that I have been hoarding, and also that the Carlton was going to be the first for treatment.
It may seem a little odd, but for some bizarre reason I find that as well as giving a great deal of satisfaction, the process of restoration induces a sense of calmness in me. I don’t know if it’s to do with the fact that something has been saved from the scrapheap, or whether I enjoy seeing the transformation that I have been responsible for. Either way it leaves me happy and relaxed which is no bad thing.
It’s amazing what you can actually achieve in a few hours if you really set your mind to it and don’t get distracted. Starting out with a dirty, rusty, shabby old bike I set to, cleaning, degreasing and de-rusting. Then I hand polished everything that could be polished, put on some tyres I had lying around, and finally added a beautiful, rich brown Brooks Champion B17 saddle that I’d picked up for a bargain price.
The end result is spectacular (even Karen agrees). From a wreck destined for the dump I have created a cool and retro bike that is great fun for zipping around on. In fact, a recycled bicycle has to be one of the best ways to travel as it’s saving another bike from the tip and of course it has cost next to nothing to get on the road, apart from a few hours of my labour. Result.
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