Actually, there are two studio or work shop areas and three if you count the computer console where auctions are prepared and this website was developed.  The first actual bicycle workshop, and the one that sees the bulk of the vintage road bicycle Street Restoration work, is the front porch of my house.  Well lit and reasonably well protected from the wrath and love of Mother Nature, the front porch is a favourite place to be.  That said, the front porch is a confined space measuring six by fifteen feet for a total floor area of ninety square feet.  Room enough for a small work shelf, a homemade work stand, a homemade wheel truing stand and a store bought tool box picked up at a Yard Sale for twenty bucks one Saturday morning.  Anything more than that would not leave enough room to work on a bicycle.  Actually, that is not quite true.  Often times the front porch will find a filled chair present when one of my riding chums or Velo customers is visiting or waiting for a repair to be completed.

The second work area is a more spacious room in my summer cottage, located on the shores of Loon Lake.  Though not as well lit, the Loon Lake studio is a pleasure to work in.  The only problem with the cottage space lies in the fact that it is a long walk to The Old Shed, some thirty miles away in the city or Thunder Bay.  And more often than not, almost every build requires some component or tool that is still stored in The Old Shed.  Working at the cottage can be frustration from time to time.  And when frustration sets in, I give up a buck wood or some other cottage related activity that tends to smooth out the rough spots in the mind.

On a normal work day at the city studio, several trips to The Old Shed are common place.  The distance from the workshop covers a span of about 120 feet.  Care must be taken to dodge a rock placed directly in the way by me years ago.  I keep meaning to get rid of that stupid rock but never seem to get around to it.  Winter presents the problem of snow removal which is often followed by ice build up.  Ice can be a problem and care is required to negotiate the treacherous surface, particularly when carrying a vintage bike to or from The Old Shed.  Spring is a time of soft muddy ground, followed by a brief period of uninterrupted walking opportunity.  However, Spring brings the apple tree into full bloom.  By mid to late summer, a bombardment of apples contaminate the ground, once again making negotiating the path to and from the shed annoying.  Stepping on an apple will leave the bottom of one's foot feeling sticky and it is not uncommon for the sticky to manifest itself as a mark on my wife's spotless kitchen floor, should I forget to change shoes upon entering the house.

Many a bicycle has found itself disassembled, cleaned, repaired and assembled in the front porch of my home.  Often times a simple preparation of a bike takes less than a day.  Preparation includes a full inspection of the frame and fork set, followed by a testing of all components.  Is the frame set straight?  Are the forks straight?  Does the bike shift properly from ring to ring and cog to cog?  Do the brakes actuate when the levers are pulled and do they work properly?  Are the cables in need of replacement?  Do the wheels need to be trued?  Are the tires shot?  An inspection is absolutely complete before moving on to the next preparation step - the test ride.

Once prepared for use or sale, the bicycle will be plucked from the porch and ridden to a photo shoot location.  This ride is often fraught with adjustment chores such as setting seat height and/or tilt.  What shifted perfectly in the work stand might need an on-road adjustment or two.  Brakes might squeal and require attention.  Jockey wheels might click requiring a bit of transmission cable tension tweaking.  Saddles will be too high or too low.  Lever placement might be less than optimal.  But the ride goes on until the picture shooting location is reached.  These days I try to find picturesque places around Thunder Bay and surrounding area to photograph my bicycles.

Thunder Bay is a great little city of about 120,000 people.  There are many picturesque spots with-in the city limits and a cacophony of even greater places surrounding the city.  Places often linked by little travelled secondary highways that meander through the beauty of the Great Canadian Shield, allowing for some wonderful ride opportunities.  Smooth roads, a great variety of hilly regions and minimal traffic make for great Velo days with nothing for company except Mother Nature's beauty and the occasional cell phone interruption.  But I digress...

With a bike tuned up, determined to be safe to ride and test ridden, the next concern is what to do with the bicycle.  Initially, all bicycles found were added to my personal collection but it soon became obvious that this plan was not going to work.  Even in the early days of bike hunting, Thunder Bay produced far too many bicycles to keep.  Many found were too big or too small.  Some were not good enough from a quality stand point.  Some were just ugly, my opinion of course.  And some were not my cup of tea to ride.  None-the-less, many bikes were added to the collection whether they fit or not.  Whether they were quality steeds or not.  It didn't even matter if they were of the road bike gender or not.  If the bike was old, reasonably good and a close fit, it was deemed to be a part of my collection.  But that left far too many bikes to keep.

While in Duluth Minnesota one day, my riding chum and I took his niece and our host out for dinner and drinks.  During the evening, Jan, my buddy's niece asked me what I was going to do with all of the bicycles that had quite literally filled The Old Shed to the point of bursting.  The answer - I had no idea!  But it did get me thinking.  What to do with over a hundred vintage road bicycles, many of which did not fit or interest me?