I am elated to introduce my new/old bike:
Isn’t she a beauty? I am literally beside myself with excitement.
She came to me by way of my cousin Kimberly, an aspiring writer with an intriguing YA novel in the works. She spends a lot of her spare time at Renew, a consignment store in Springdale run by her church as an outreach program. It’s a thriving shop with a litany of great selections, and it opened during a time that consignment shops were really beginning to thrive in northwest Arkansas. I visited a few times last summer and provided a little bit of marketing support, and that is where I developed a crush on a powder blue bike:
I left without the bike, but Kimberly shelled out the $26 and delivered her to me a few days later after I expressed my regret. Soon, I pounced on my Dad during a vulnerable moment and begged him to restore the bike for me. During the 40s and 50s, his father had a bike shop in Galveston, Texas and later in Texarkana, where my Dad grew up. His nostalgic stories and the memories from his time in the bike shop are a story for another day. Lucky for me, he retains both enthusiasm and know-how for the intricacies of bikes, plus a little bit of spare time. Plus, this lovely bike was only slightly rusty and dilapidated, and Dad said at heart it was a pretty nice bike (score!)… it could have been far worse!
My goal for the bike was a super cute vehicle for riding around downtown Rogers on jaunts to the grocery store or farmers’ market – nothing particularly far afield. I am fortunate to have an incredible mountain bike which has accompanied me twice on our family vacations biking 125 miles of the Katy Trail in Missouri (more on that in the near future, as well: we’re planning to go again soon!) and on my itsy bitsy teensy baby triathlon adventure. However, riding that bike along with its accompanying (rather intense) helmet, bike gloves etc. around town always seems like the equivalent of wearing a parachute to jump over a log, so I was on the lookout for something sassy. Dad was appalled when I told him my plans to deck her out:
However, he clearly threw up his hands and indulged me by adding a few trappings to my newly-restored bike, which he presented to me at Christmas (complete with yellow handlebar tape, an awesome bell and a basket). Dads are awesome. Best of all, he said that it was just an absolute pleasure to work on it, and that the whole project took him back to when he was twelve years old. They never sold a new bike from that shop – he and his Dad would disassemble bikes and painstakingly clean, repair and piece them back together. They would paint the frames by hand, and his Dad would use a special little dart brush to paint on the stripes.
While I’m elated to have my super cute bike, his sheer enjoyment and delight in doing this for me was all that I could have hoped for in my request for his help.
Stop by Renew or another vintage or consignment shop to see if you can find a new/old treasure of your own… because some of the best things happen on bike rides.
And if you’d like to join me in unabashedly pursuing bike cuteness and perusing all the charm of reclaimed vintage bikes and velo culture, behold:
Best Sources for Bicycle Cuteness & Inspiration (note faves*):
- Bikes & The City
- *Bike Pretty, especially this post on Free People + Bikes
- City Girl Rides
- *Eleanor’s NYC
- Girls & Bicycles
- How To Arrive Gorgeous When You’re Biking In Winter
- Hum of the City
- Sweet Georgia Brown
Northwest Arkansas Bicycle Goodness:
- Biking in Arkansas
- Bike Bentonville
- The Highroller Cyclery (Fayetteville & Rogers)
- Lewis & Clark Outfitters (Springdale & Bentonville)
- Mojo Cycling (Bentonville)
- Ozark Bicycle Service (Rogers)
- Ozark Bike Shop (Rogers) – no website, just Joe + his tried and true shop! 🙂
- Phat Tire Bike Shop
- Northwest Arkansas Razorback Greenway Trail System
- Slaughter Pen Hollow (Bentonville)
- Springdale Bicycle (Springdale)
Additional resources? Please add them in the comments, by all means – and bike on!
P.S. HURRY, spring! XO, Beth