By Kelli Robinson | Photography by Gayle Shomer
Posted: Thursday, May. 31, 2012
It was about three years ago when Rob Myers of Davidson stumbled upon an old bicycle in his mother-in-laws basement. While many would have dismissed it as just rusty old junk, Myers saw beauty and grace in the 1975 Jamis Earthcruiser. This unique find ultimately led to a unique and burgeoning new business: Vintage Bicycles.
The Earthcruiser turned out to be his brother-in-laws bicycle from college. Family members got a nostalgic kick out of the discovery, and Myers refurbished it to its original shape, complete with updated functioning parts, and gave it to his brother-in-law at Christmas.
At first he thought it was a newer version of his old bicycle and didnt realize it was the original one, Myers says. He was thrilled to see it looking as it did 30 years ago.
The project got Myers thinking about other bicycles lingering in basements, attics and garages that could benefit from some hands-on TLC. Theres a reason someones hanging on to that bicycle. There are memories connected to it and the owner just couldnt toss it to the dump.
Inspired by that first experience, Myers started searching garage sales, classified newspaper ads and online for vintage bikes to fix up and sell. Not only does he restore the bikes to their original beauty, he also installs new parts, like wheels, bearings and chains, so theyre more than just something cool to look at, but a bike people can ride and enjoy. Over the past few years hes refurbished and sold about 12 bikes, most of them at least 50 years old. Some of his customers keep the one-of-kind bikes at their summer homes, while others hang them on the wall as art. Prices vary from $700 to as much as $2,500.
They aren't cheap, but they are meant to be an heirloom piece, he says.
Myers says his real job is doing internal audits and investigations for a national homebuilder, and that Vintage Bicycles satisfies his desire to work with his hands and his love of mechanics, particularly from the 1930s, 40s and 50s.
To me those decades marked the prettiest mechanical age ever, he says. And I get a lot of joy seeing someone else's rust become treasured by a new owner.
For more information visit www.facebook.com/VintageBicycles.