MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

SITE INDEX   FINDING   BICYCLES   WORK SHOP   TRADING   WHAT'S NEW?

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"  

OLD SHED - INTRO

THE WORKSHOPS

TO KEEP OR NOT TO KEEP

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE OLD SHED - INTRODUCTION

Once completed and reviewed by the staff at MY "TEN SPEEDS" four times, the website was sent to trusted friends to proof read and comment on.  The errors that these people found were addressed and corrected before publishing the website.  In addition to the proof reading responsibilities, each person was asked to comment on site content if they felt qualified to do so.  All but one of the proof readers suggested that MY "TEN SPEEDS" members might like to know a bit more about The Old Shed.

The Old Shed has been so named for the simplest of reasons.  It is an old shed.  Once, it might well have been used for storing or parking a car in.  The double doors do swing open allowing for larger vehicle entry but The Old Shed seems a bit small for actual use as a garage.  The floor is paved with lumpy and irregular asphalt, in all but a few places.  The walls are supported by sinking (perhaps sunk would be a better word at this point in time) rail road ties.  The double car doors have also embedded themselves into good old Mother Earth's earth.  And the handmade man door has been sawed shorter by myself, allowing about an inch of ground clearance in the summer and just enough ice clearance in the winter.

The Old Shed sports an annex, of sorts, that was and still is the most solid part of the building, even though there is a rather large hole in the wooden floor boards.  The annex has its own door and does not empty into the main storage area.  The door does not have a very good lock installed and breaking in would prove to be anything but a challenge to even the most inept thief.  I have been planning on upgrading the security system for the annex.  Of course, I have a great many other things that I plan to do and have not come to fruition yet either.

The 144 square feet offered by the twelve by twelve foot room has been known to hold as many as thirty five bicycles at a single time.  Bicycles of lesser value were the only ones stored in this insecure area.  Bikes hung like grapes from the plastic covered hooks installed about a foot apart at the beginning.  Today, the hooks had been relocated a few times, seeking to optimize storage space.  Bicycles, with pedals removed and handlebars swung sideways, line the walls in vertical curtain of steel, aluminum and rubber.  These lesser Velo steeds are jammed into every available nook and cranny in an effort to maximize storage opportunity.  At times the bikes that should be stored in the annex spill out into the back yard although great care is taken to prevent this from happening anymore since it poses just to much temptation to would be thieves and neighbourhood kids.

When first used for storing this and that, The Old Shed was somewhat sound and managed, for all intents and purposes, to keep the inclement weather at bay.  But, as the years passed time and the wildly fluctuating weather conditions that make up Thunder Bay's environment, took their toll.  The shingles deteriorated to the point that daylight could be seen streaming through the roof and piercing the unlit gloom of The Old Shed's interior.  Rain was no longer held back and, at that time, The Old Shed might have been housing a rotating stock of as many as a hundred vintage bicycles at a time.

In The Old Shed's worst hours, polyethylene plastic was used to cover and protect the vintage bicycles that hung here, there and everywhere.  Each hanging bicycle was wrapped individually and left on its hook with the hope that the rain would not find a steel and alloy target.  Bicycles stored on the floor were covered in groups with the same polyethylene sheets and secured so as to prevent the build up of puddles, once the roof began to leak.  The situation was hardly "user friendly" and much time was invested getting to and putting back stored bikes.  But that has all changed...

The Old Shed was given new life.  Roll roofing proved to be the simplest and cheapest solution to patching up the cacophony of spaces that allowed sunlight and water equally easy passage.  The old and miserably rotted shingles were stripped off of the roof, tar paper laid from lower edges to peeks and the entire effort covered with sheets of black asphalt roof material, nailed securely to the wood that, surprisingly enough, was still solid in all but a very few places.  Needless to say, any rotted wood was replaced prior to re-roofing the structure.  The result, a reasonably presentable visage that keeps rain and sun out.  And bikes dry!

Re-roofing The Old Shed was pretty much a one man job with one exception.  My wife, youngest daughter and her oldest son did offer to help with positioning each sheet of roofing, a task that is all but impossible for one person to accomplish.  It took the better part of two full days to complete the task and I am still waiting for Better Homes and Gardens to show up to shoot the place.  Chances are I will wait forever.  But I can wait, happy with the thought that the interior of the dilapidated old structure is now a reasonably safe place to store my stock of vintage bicycles.  Notice, the words "reasonably safe" were used...

On two occasions the Old Shed has been invaded by would be thieves.  The first break-in took place long before even the first vintage road bicycle found its new home there.  The thieves, kids probably, stepped over a gorgeous 1934 Indian 1200cc V-Twin motorcycle to get at a pretty impressive assortment of automotive tools, all of which were swiped, never to be seen again.  A near full set of smaller British Whitworth hand tools were lost that day and would be much appreciated for some of the vintage British road bikes that come The Old Shed's way from time to time.

Though the feeling of being violated offered a terrible and unexpected aftermath, the insurance company went good for most of the lost tools.  But one keepsake disappeared and will forever be missed.  That item was a silly little trinket that was presented to me by Evil Knievel himself at a custom motorcycle show in the early seventies.  The trinket was a cheap plastic affair with a peek hole that one could look into.  My trinket contained a picture of a very nice 1965 Harley Davidson Panhead that I had entered in that motorcycle show over a quarter of a century ago.  How I wish that I had not left that simple item in my tool box.  And, by the way, the Harley won a prize for having come from the furthest to enter the show.  The prize, $25.00 as I recall and I still have the check to prove it somewhere, I think.

The second break-in occurred when The Old Shed was full to the brim with vintage road bicycles, bicycle parts and a very few bicycle tools.  Immediately next to the man door hung a gorgeous Bianchi Trofeo sporting a full Campagnolo grouppo.  Many other valuable vintage road bikes adorned the hooks that spring from the walls of the interior.  Not one bike went missing!  After a reasonably careful inventory check, it appeared that nothing had been stolen.  What luck!  My guess is that the thieves saw little or no value in the confusing jungle of old "Ten Speeds" and left what ever else might be of value alone too.  Again, what luck!

It was the second break-in that prompted the installation of a new locking system.  Hardly sophisticated, the new system was, at best, more difficult to circumvent with a set of bolt cutters.  A serious and determined thief would certainly gain entry but that casual mischief maker would hardly consider the effort worth while.  At least, that is the hope.

Today the Old Shed sees an ever changing inventory of vintage road bicycles.  Complete bicycles with handlebars turned and pedals removed hang from the walls.  More complete bicycles rest on what little available floor space is left.  Frame sets and components hang on improvised hooks from the rafters.  Used bicycle boxes, broken down to optimize space, rest on top of the rafters waiting to be filled and shipped anywhere in the world.  2008 has seen over a hundred bicycles come and go already and it is only early September.  Still plenty of time to find another thirty bikes or so if all goes well.

The east end of the Old Shed is called "Collection Row".  My own personal bikes hang there, one next to the other but spaced far enough apart to ensure that each will be easy to access when wanted.  Ten special hooks, each covered with old inner tube material, support their precious load, patiently waiting for me to choose their ward for a special ride or two.  Four hooks hold bikes that have yet to be addressed for Street Restoration.  An early seventies CCM Grand Prix, a mid sixties CCM Formula 1, a very rare and unusual Velo Sport Aero, a sixties something or other CCM Turisimo and Norco Avanti SL, that is half done, are crammed into the farthest corner, each supported by its own hook.  Some have stuck seat posts and/or steering stems, others seized pedals and some waiting for key components to further each build, but all will one day become well acquainted with the work stand and the magic that MY "TEN SPEEDS" procedures can bestow on them.

Actual bicycle restoration, conversion or maintenance work rarely takes place in the gloom of The Old Shed.  To begin with, there is hardly enough floor space left to even walk around with any degree of ease.  Secondly, the lighting is poor, at best.  And third, the structure is not heated.  The lack of heat is not a problem in the Spring, Summer and Fall but does become so in the bitter cold winters that make living in Canada such an adventure.

NEXT - WHERE THE WORK GETS DONE

 

 

 

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