11 February 2008

Wicked Workshops #4

Just when you thought there could not be more than one place, where bikes go to die. We found another one, not more than a km away form the last. This one was a bit more upmarket, called ‘Human Powered Vehicles’, and the idea of some sweet speed machines got my interest up (HPV’s are normally fully covered people machines, designed for speed runs). A quick ride down a bike path that followed the river, and we were there. And just like the last place, this had a pile of bikes sitting around the front yard in various states of unrepair. With about 150 bikes kicking around the place, I went for a bit of a ruffle around to see what I could find. What I found was a bit of Melbourne’s bike history, all sitting waiting to be claimed. I found about five different makes of bikes, built in and around the city in the last few decades. Not one of the companies still manufacturing anymore, but who could compete with China these days for price.

The shop floor display, they don't get much rain here apparently.

There was a nice workshop sitting in the middle of the yard, and from the look of things, the clutter and disorganisation continued it’s theme inside it. I wandered around, making conversation as I checked out everything of interest in the place. There was some good stuff coming out of some of the staff that worked there’s mouths. Kind of brought me back to the good old days of Adventure Cycles in Auckland, hey days, with Bruce and Brian out to change the world, and the wheel. They were feeling pretty proud about their new work stands, and work stations, I gave them a look of satisfaction back. With the new wheel stand they had just finished, looking like it could handle the like of a Harleys rear wheel, and also fix the delicate work on a road wheel, the same. The tools were well set out, with almost everything I could ever need, to fix anything in the yard hanging in it’s place. A welding torch and gas cutter on the corner, when that bit just doesn’t budge.

One of the nicely set out tool boards.

I thought it was fantastic that a place like this existed, when I spied the ‘Bike Shed’ earlier in the day, but to have two of them, so close to each other was crazy. But this one seemed to have a bit more order about it in the way stuff was stacked around the property. There was a lone female mechanic, working on an old Malvern Star Ten speed, she was busy and didn’t seemed to even notice me snapping away with the camera. The other three staff (it was hard to tell who was working there actually) were standing around, trying to make sense of a white board system, that looked far too confusing. The boss seemed to think he had cracked the cryptic white board code, I doubt it though from the state of it. With a bit of wheel building talk, they seemed to accept me as one of their own, kind of scary seeing how the bottom feeders, take me in as one of their own. But I think they have the same passion I have for bikes, the only difference is they have a lot more patience for old bikes, than I do.

The home made wheel trueing stand.

It was one of those workshops, much like most of them I have been in now thinking about it. But one of those places you can talk bikes all day, as time seems to stand still inside, as still as the lines of bikes waiting for new owners outside the door. They have three prices they charge for the bikes they recycle. One price for a waged worker, a lower price for students and the unemployed, and no price for asylum seekers and refugees. Kind of great to make the people that can afford it pay a bit more. There was a pretty standard fixie in the racks outside, with a price of A$1600, I think they had a moonshine still they were drinking from, hidden under a pile of bikes somewhere in the grounds. No one would be paying that price, but that’s the idea, it’s just a starting guide to grind down, till you can afford it. I had enough of Junkers by now, time to leave, and continue on my travels for the day. Must be time for another coffee by now, and this was not the sort of place to be having it.

Hey they are almost all there, nice work team.

Check out their website here, and some more pics here (when I get a chance to load them).

1 comment:

Mr Hankey said...

Moonshine? Huh? Don't you mean homebrew?

Anyway if you stuck around long enough you would swiftly realise why HPC gets so much business and praise from inner suburban bike folk.

While the CERES shed it pays to be extremely wary on what days to choose to attend and who you choose to associate with. 'Nuff said.