With a nice sleep in on a lazy Saturday morning (till at least 8.30), an easy breakfast while reading the morning paper, it almost felt like I was living a regular life for a moment or two. This was my last weekend in Melbourne for a while, and almost the end of my small break for this month. I still have a couple of workshops to find and to have a look around them, so I was getting a bit nervous I might miss out on them. But like usual, it took the boys all of 25 seconds to convince me to sway my day’s plans a little. The magic words were uttered, coffee and a bike recycling and public workshop visit. With the sun starting to warm things up a little, I could almost taste the coffee already, as I listened to the description of what we were about to encounter for the mornings visit. Not more than about a half hours spin from where I was staying, was a community project called Ceres. A collection of buildings with a outdoor café, a plant nursery, gardens, a outdoor market selling local and grown on the spot organic goodies, kindergartens, and school rooms. And tucked right into the corner of the property, was a bike recycling and public workshop area.
A whole load of recycled bikes, ready for their new owners.
As we arrived at the gates of the place, there was an enormous sign telling you it’s a ‘Car free zone’, kindly leave you vehicle at the gate, sweet. We rode on in, past the nursery, still to open up for the day, up to the very full bike rack on the edge of the café. There seemed to be a small bunch ride of about 15 riders about to leave the carpark. Not the ordinary bunch of roadies covered, from head to toe in lycra, but a bunch of down to earth looking bikes and riders to match. Every bike had the obligatory set of panniers or baskets, packed to the brim with what I can only imagine was a very nice lunch in each. They saddled up and left us to it, ahh the coffee was close, I could smell it already. The café was pretty busy for mid morning, but I suppose everyone had the same idea as us. There was many kids and dogs wandering around the place, good to see them getting dirty. Nice to see for a change, so different from some of the sterile café’s that tend to serve the good coffee these days. The bike shed opened at 11am, so we had a few coffees to go yet.
The well quiped work bench, I just wonder how many tools go missing here.
You want to know where dead bikes go to die, well by the looks of things most of them end up here. There was piles of shit everywhere, bikes in various piles of sizes, rusting away in the weather, together. There were tires heaped high, and wheels so plentiful, they even had time to make some pretty cool artwork with some of them. The doors had just opened to the shed, so I busted my way on in, but there was so much stuff in the two-levelled shed, I could only get a few feet in the door. But there was plenty to see, and most of it had had, a good life one day, but still most of it was there for a purpose. For a small fee of $10, and $5 if your unemployed, you can use the tools and workshop for the year. By the sounds of things, you could take you pick of the parts and pieces filling every nook and cranny, for free or worse, a nominal fee. There were bikes they had recycled themselves, and for a pittance, they could get you on the road, tell you which way to ride, and how to stay safe. Need some help with your repair or some advice on how to fix it yourself, well look no further, there is plenty of help available from the friendly staff kicking around.
And piles of small parts, stripped off bikes previously.
I had a good look around, and even managed to convince Lewis, who was on duty for the day, to let me climb the ladder, into the potential gold mine on the top floor. Man oh man, what a lot of stuff, from piles of new shiny spokes, to solid rusting chains, a fork maybe, or a recycled 16” wheel for your kids bike. Well you come to the right place. I had a good rifle through the shed, just in case there was something that needed to be saved. But alas, no such luck, but the guy looking through a pile of bikes in the front yard, looked pretty stoked with himself for his find. With such a small joining fee, and a pile of wicked stuff like this, a shed full of tools, and all the knowledge you could need. A space like this, is deffinatly needed in most big cities. Where else do those bikes end up, I shudder to think of the alternatives.
A fork anyone? ready for those old restoration jobs.
You can find them here. And a few more pics here.